Building a developer ecosystem in Umuahia through GDG

Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth. — Muhammad Ali

Over a year ago, I was called up by NYSC (an organization set up by the Nigerian government to include the country’s graduate in the development of the country) for my youth service program in Abia state to come serve my father-land but that isn’t why you are here, is it?

Allow me to take you on a journey of how we were able to build an ecosystem that continues to grow everyday.

Bonding

I was at my place of primary assignment (PPA) when this young man stormed our office and saw me (putting on a Flutterwave t-shirt). He asked if I was a developer (which I nodded to in response), he then introduced himself as GDG Umuahia Lead and told me about his idea of bringing together a group of passionate tech enthusiasts to help build a developer ecosystem here in.

I was intrigued by this idea, so I introduced him to my boss (ICT Lead at NYSC State Secretariat, Umuahia) who has the connection needed to reach more audience. That’s how I and John became friends.

First unofficial meetup

Sometime in November (last year), I got a call from John, he wanted me to come speak at a GDG meetup. Not having found/heard about any tech meetup since I came here for my youth service, I accepted the invitation.

The gathering was great for me because not only did I learn new stuff, I expanded my circle of developer friends in the city.

Unknowingly to us though, GDG Umuahia hadn’t gotten approval from Google, and John had been running it solo. At the end of the meetup he was bold enough to stand up and tell us how the approval thing is coming along and that he is working on it. Good thing we didn’t have to find out on our own right?

Getting approval from Google

Few Months later, with tireless work from John, Google approved us! Honestly, I don’t know how he did it, but I was really glad to hear the news.

In no time we shared the good news on our WhatsApp group (as it is the go-to channel for communicating) with other developers. A fire was lit and the rest is history.

Hosting a Cloud Study Jam

Shortly after the whole Google approval thing, we saw an increase in the number of daily active members on our WhatsApp group and to keep the community engaged/alive, we hosted a Study Jam which I facilitated.

We completed 2 of 3 labs that we set out for, this was as a result of bad internet connection and newbies who needed help in completing the lab exercise.

Together, we were able to create VM instances with the GCP console & gcloud cmdLine and deployed an NGINX stack on Google compute engine with Cloud Launcher.

Study Jam proved to be a great opportunity to bring members of our community together to learn something in person.

Organising Google IO Extended 18

Following Google IO 18 this year, we organised our own local IO Extended event in order for our community to take part in the IO experience.

Pause! Did you know I/O is also a slogan for “Innovation in the Open?

Well I didn’t until the d-day when a friend of mine argued that it’s notInput/Output” but Innovation in the Open. You were wrong bro — says Wikipedia.

One hundred and eight (108). That’s the total number of attendees for our IO Extended event, with 61 having RSVPed on our medium page. It’s really exciting number for us considering how hard it is to gather developers from around here, and we did it with fewer resources, limited budget and no Jollof rice.

We had a great time organizing and being a part of this event as it opens our eyes to a lot of new things. There were talks on Android, Progressive Web Apps, Firebase and Google business tools. It is something to be proud of really and of course we are.

I’d like to wrap up by saying thank you to everyone who showed up, our friends at Michael Okpara University of Agriculture, Umudike (MOUAU), those who provided support (Javatek, Gramel Technologies and others), and lastly to my fellow awesome co-organisers (John, Chisom, Mezie, Mr. X, Mr. Austin, Mr. Browny, Chijioke and myself of course). Apologies if I skipped any important names, y’all were awesome. Long live Umuahia, long live GDG.

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