Trevor O is one of the founders of Layerboom Systems. This was originally posted on his personal blog at http://trevoro.ca/blog/2009/09/02/how-to-get-started-in-vancouver-tech/
I’ve been meeting quite a few people who are new to Vancouver and are looking to get involved in the local Web and Tech scenes. There’s quite a bit going on, and Google is your friend, but if you want to save some time here are the best places to go, meet people and see what’s going on. There’s also a score for how nerdy or business-y (?) the event is on a scale of 1-10.
Find out what you’re interested and search for companies based in Vancouver that do what you love. If you’re enthusiastic people will make time for you. Ask someone out for coffee or a pint and just talk. Don’t try and get a job, just figure out what’s going on. Like any “scene” you’re likely to hear conflicting viewpoints. Keep an open mind. Look for and talk with local bloggers and tech reporters. Look for events happening in your area. If you’re interested in Open source projects, find out if the people who work on them are in the area.
Like most unconferences, Democamp is a loosely organized evening event where the people that attend make up the conference. In this case you bring an idea, and the idea is your demo. You don’t have to present, and it’s a good way to meet people that are interested in starting something new, or are working a project already. Democamp doesn’t happen nearly as often as it should, so if you’re interested in helping out there, check out the site and get in touch.
Every few months local entrepreneurs who are launching their projects meet up to celebrate all their hard work. Walk around and talk with people and get to know the people behind these projects. Most of the time the executives are presenting but ask to chat with some of the developers if that’s more up your alley. This is usually a very social event where you’re bound to meet a lot of interesting people – just don’t be shy.
Bootup Labs is a local startup incubator which helps companies go from “zero to fundable”. The offices are located at 375 Water St, in Gastown and house a rotating group of Vancouver based startups which are always looking for talented help. Bootup has an open door policy so if you’re new to the area you can generally just pop in, but I suggest getting in touch with them first to arrange a quick (<30 minute) chat. Everyone is really friendly, and it’s a good way to plug in, or at least get pointed in the right direction. Bootup helps run a few of the events in town, so pay attention to their upcoming feed for things that are happening
Techvibes is a tech community blog and business directory. It’s a really good way to get to know which businesses are in the area and what they do. They also publish a list of events happening in town that range from an Entrepreneurial to Developer focus.
If you’re more into the business and entrepreneurial side of things, I suggest checking out Vancouver Enterprise Forum or VEF. VEF hosts events on a monthly basis and it’s a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals.
There are plenty of developer meetups happening in town. The umbrella meetup for all of these is the VanDev network. Join that and you’re bound to meet quite a few people. The most popular is the Ruby/Merb/Rails meetup which has events on a monthly basis.
I hope that’s enough to get you started! Let me know if there’s anything else you want added to the list.