Calgary’s tech community has been around for many years but it wasn’t until 2015 that things really started to take off. With our very first Calgary Web Bootcamp underway, our YYC Community Manager Jenn Egroff has given us a breakdown of what Cowtown has to offer for the technically inclined!

The HTML500

The HTML500 was a huge event that took Calgary’s community by storm last year. As someone who’s been heavily involved with the tech community since 2012, I kept asking “who are these Lighthouse Labs folks and how are they going to get 500 coding beginners in one room. That’s impossible!” Well, did they ever prove me wrong. Not only did they sell out (850 people registered!) but they brought multiple community groups together for one cause: to increase coding literacy.

Since The HTML500, Calgary’s tech community has received more spotlight in the media and in the general public: Attendance has increased at Chic Geek and Ladies Learning Code events; People have started exploring Startup Calgary events and digging into the user Meetup groups such as Pixels & Pints and YYCjs; The JavaScript Open welcomed 150 JavaScript enthusiasts for a one-day conference hosted in partnership with Microsoft in October of 2015; and Startup Calgary’s 2015 Launch Party welcomed 250 new faces at their 500-person annual event.

“Technology companies are thriving and our trailblazing entrepreneurial spirit is emerging in Calgary, despite the economic downturn. Lighthouse Labs is a key driver of that growth and Chic Geek is excited to have a coding educator in the ecosystem that encourages women to explore technology.” - Kylie Toh, Founder of Chic Geek

Connect with Calgary Community Groups

In my role at Lighthouse Labs, I’ve had the opportunity to connect with many of the local tech groups and wanted to share for those of you who are unfamiliar and want to get connected:

Chic Geek - a non-profit organization dedicated to encouraging women to be makers, builders and creators leveraging technology to explore entrepreneurship. They host a Mentorship program as well as beginner-friendly workshops to get women (and men) up to speed on tech tools and to build confidence.

Startup Calgary - a nonprofit organization dedicated to entrepreneurs and technology-focused startups. They host a number of events throughout the year, with the largest being Launch Party, a 500-person event that brings the entire innovation community together to celebrate entrepreneurship in Calgary and recognize the top 10 startups.

Pixels & Pints - a monthly Meetup lead by Tony Grimes that is ideal for designers and developers. The format is extremely simple: Bring people together once a month and drink beer. There is an opportunity to do a ‘call out’ that you’re looking to hire, seeking work, or just announcing an upcoming event that is relevant for developers and designers.

YYCjs - a monthly Meetup lead by Eric Kryski for JavaScript developers. The Meetup has grown rapidly over the past 5 years. So much so, that they needed to change up the venue to the Last Best Brewery so they could accommodate at least 65 people each month.

Assembly Coworking Space - an affordable coworking space in Kensington targeted at tech startups and social enterprises. They offer a complimentary community space on the fourth floor for Meetups and are instrumental in bringing people together. Plus, they're hosting the first Lighthouse Labs Calgary Bootcamp cohort!

Innovate Calgary - an innovation and commercialization hub for technology companies. They offer a number of programs for entrepreneurs and host the New Tech Meetup to highlight a couple local tech startups every month.

Digital Alberta - the voice of the digital industry in Alberta. They connect people through a membership network and host an annual Gala to highlight the best of the digital sector in our province.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but was created to highlight the many awesome organizations we have partnered with and who are also on board with increasing coding literacy in Calgary.