What we're about
==== Overview ===
This is a group for anyone, of any skill level and background, interested in the development, engineering, and craft of building and designing software. Topics may include code katas, SOLID design discussions, TDD, agile development, various programming languages and frameworks, code retreat events, volunteer work, mentoring, and anything the group is interested in as we move forward. If you have a topic that you'd like to present (be that for 15 minutes, an hour, or whatever you need) let us know and we'll set it up! The skills and interests of our regular members range from .NET, Android, and front-end design, to embedded programming, Azure, game development, Ruby and clean code. We welcome everyone!
I started this group to meet other people interested in software development in the valley, to learn and grow, and to provide a place for beginners to come to get started in programming and software engineering. By building up the community we'll each be able to improve and help others grow along the way. I'm looking forward to meeting more Software Crafters in the area!
Software Crafters are people who write software and care about self-improvement, quality, continuous learning and helping one another. These people come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Together we can help each other learn and grow. Companies like 8th Light promote this type of mentality and use the "Software Crafter" job title which is why I chose the name "Kalispell Software Crafters". A number of other meetups around the country also use the "software crafters" name.
If you have any questions, comments, suggestions, or concerns feel free to message me (Travis) or any of the other organizers (Skyler and Sam) anytime!
Kalispell Software Crafters is dedicated to a harassment-free experience for everyone. Be that at an event or within our Slack/Discord community. Our anti-harassment policy can be found at: https://github.com/kalispell-software-crafters/code-of-conduct
==== Meetings ===
We typically have four meetings during the month: a focused topic, a social event, a lightning talk night, and a remote worker meetup (which we honestly haven't done in a while). Each one occurs on a different week, so we have one meeting each week of the month. We swap things around when necessary and in some cases schedule things on different days but below is our general schedule. We use to meet at the local library but have started doing online meetings since the Spring of 2020.
Focused Topics are on the first Wednesday of the month from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Social Events are on the second Saturday between the first and third Wednesday meetings. Typically these are from 1:00 to 4:00pm. The Lightning Talk meeting is on the third Wednesday of the month from 6:00 to 8:00pm. Finally Remote Worker Fridays was on the last Friday of the month from 10:00am to 12:00pm at a coffee shop followed by a lunch (wherever sounded good).
Focused topic meetings range from presentations, videos, and workshops with group discussions and can vary in exact length depending on the content. The lightning talk meeting gives people a chance to give shorter presentations on software, technology, and industry related topics. It's also just a great opportunity to come hang out and talk about the software industry and ask questions. These two meetings each generally end with a book club discussion for those that are interested. Sometimes we have several book clubs going and focus on a specific book at each meeting. So check the event description and the Book Club section below for more information.
We sometimes do a social event on the second Saturday between our regular meetings. These vary but can be things like game nights, outdoor activities, lunches, or longer planned programming events (like the Global Day of Coderetreat in November).
In the past we have run a remote worker meeting on the last Friday of the month. It was a casual meetup called "Remote Worker Fridays" and we get together at a coffee shop. Remote workers in the area (or anyone) can come hang out for a couple of hours to work alongside others and then we can grab lunch (if anyone's interested). It was a good way for remote workers in the area (like myself) to get some social interaction that might be missing during the day.
=== Book Club(s) ===
Grokking Simplicity by Eric Normand
Available here: https://www.manning.com/books/grokking-simplicity
The main content of our focused topic and lightning talk meetings will wrap up around 7:20pm and the focus will switch over to a book club discussion for the last 30 minutes or so. Check the next event page for details on which chapter we'll be reviewing.
Clean Code by Robert C. Martin
99 Bottle of OOP by Sandi Metz
The Rust Programming Language by Steve Klabnik and Carol Nichols
=== Beginners ===
You're more than welcome to attend any meeting we have and bring your questions along! We also have a regular Lightning Talk meeting which is a great place to have your questions answered (from general questions to specific problems you're dealing with as you learn).
You might also try checking out freeCodeCamp.org, code.org, or Khan Academy to get started in learning more about computer programming (links below). There's even a local freeCodeCamp group on Facebook to get help from others (search for freeCodeCamp Kalispell - https://www.facebook.com/groups/free.code.camp.kalispell.mt.
We've held freeCodeCamp meetings in the past. If there's interest in doing that let us know. You should also ask us about our Slack/Discord group!
Resources for beginners:
From their website, "Code.org® is a nonprofit dedicated to expanding access to computer science in schools and increasing participation by women and underrepresented minorities." This is another great place for anyone of any age to start as code.org focuses on bringing computer science to schools from K-12. Learn more here: https://studio.code.org/courses
Khan Academy has a ton of educational content available including computer programming. They offer a lot of exercises that gradually teach concepts to you as you progress. To learn more, check out their computer programming section: https://www.khanacademy.org/computing/computer-programming
==== GitHub ====
Some presentations and events include code samples. Check out our page on GitHub for some of our past projects (search for Kalispell Software Crafters or follow this link https://github.com/kalispell-software-crafters
If you need access to the organization to upload a project or work on anything let us know!
==== Slack and Discord ====
We also have a Slack group if you're interested in joining that and discussing our meetup and chatting. Ask us at one of our meetings and we'll get you set up! We have used Discord for online meetings or for voice chat during video games days, for example. We are now trying out Zoom for our online meetings.