6 months of Front-End Development Community

As we are reaching the end of the University’s financial year, I thought this would be a good time to look back on the first year of the Front-End Development Community. The community began in the fall of 2016, when I was awarded a bit of money for this idea from the Innovation Fund. My idea was to create a community where people interested in front-end development could come together from across the University, to discuss ideas and share best practice.

A few months were spent on the initial brainstorming and organisation, so the community didn’t really get started until February 2017. Over the course of 6 months, we have put on 7 highly successful events:

  • 2 industry talks (from Harry Roberts and Chad Gowler)
  • 3 community lightning talk sessions
  • 2 talks on Designing for IT Accessibility (from Viki Galt)

I’ve been greatly helped by the hard work and dedication of my colleagues, without whom we wouldn’t have been able to accomplish this.

Overall, we have had an impressive total of 280 registrations for events, with 188 different attendees. This shows that we have a dedicated core group who are actively engaged in participating in the community. 

Community breakdown

Of the total attendees, the vast majority of these have been staff. This makes sense, as only 2 out of the 7 events we ran were open to students. However, we have still managed to get a sizeable group of students along to those 2 events.

Breakdown of attendees by type

Community members come from all parts of the University:

Breakdown of attendees by organisational unit

The majority of our attendees (48%) come from within the colleges. The most well-represented single area is Information Services, with 36% of all attendees. This split is actually fairly surprising, considering that the community was started as an IS initiative. It shows that we have been very successful at getting people interested from outside of IS, and also that there is a real appetite for this type of community.

For further details about who is within our community of practice, I recommend taking a look at the initial survey I did on front-end development at the University. I think this demonstrates what an interdisciplinary subject front-end development can be. Many of these people do not fit within a traditional development role.

What’s next?

I’d like to continue taking the community forward next year. It’s been very successful so far, so I hope that we can expand on that.  Our next step is to apply for further funding. Future activities that we are interested in doing include:

  • Carrying on our current events (industry speakers and community talks)
  • Workshops and learning events for community members
  • Cross-cutting collaborative work within the community
  • More events for students, with opportunities for students to get involved

If you are interested in helping to organise or participate in any of these, get in touch. Effort from community members largely dictates how many events we are able to run, and also how successful they are.

I’m looking forward to another year of Front-End Development Community!