This week over Drupalcon I had the chance to spend time with Lynn Bender who started the Austin Drupal Dojo after discussions with Josh Koenig (the Dojofather) and others in the Austin community. Here's, to paraphrase, a description of what they're doing...
Despite the overall job situation nowadays, for a Drupal developer/designer, things look pretty good. There are way more drupal jobs and contracts than the local talent can fill. Way more.
While there are a tremendous amount of resources for those wanting to learn Drupal, it's important to connect and share experiences with other drupalfolk.
Call it a hack night or whatever, this is a weekly opportunity to get together with other folks in the local Drupal community. No agenda. No speakers. Bring your problems, bring your solutions, bring your laptop.
The word Dojo (道場) captures what we're trying to create -- a place to practice and master one's art. Thing of it as a place to become a Drupal blackbelt, a Drupal Ninja.
As someone who is been with the larger Drupal Dojo group from the beginning, the idea of a local Dojo seemed to be an obvious missing piece to the puzzle. The virtual Dojo can be a great facilitator for collaboration as well as a repository of learning materials, news, and events. That said, there's nothing that can replace the act of getting together in your community to work on actual problems. It's a great way to seek out and train new talent. It's a great way to work on projects that empower your community.
I'd love to see if we can start up more of these hack nights, Drupal Cafe's, Dojos, or whatever on the local level. We can use this wiki to share ideas and compile a list of community events.
Please add to the list any hack nights, Dojos, Cafés happening in your area. If there isn't anything happening... start one!!