Spectrum IT sponsor and host a range of technology user groups across Hampshire, Dorset and the South Coast. The purpose, to bring together IT professionals keen to share best practice and engage in discussion about technology and the future of their profession.
PHP Dorset provides online and offline opportunities to discuss PHP and related topics, socialise with friendly people who are interested in PHP, find or fill PHP related jobs. The organisers started this User Group to be a diverse and inclusive community, united by an interest in PHP, and so want anyone who is interested in PHP to be able to participate by attending and or speaking at their monthly meetups.
Here Spectrum IT enters a Q&A session with Chris Sherry to find out how he got involved in PHP and running the PHP Dorset User Group.
How did your career start out?
I started out at a small web design agency after being recruited by a recruiter via LinkedIn.
What is your current job role? What is a typical workday like?
My current job role is Senior Developer. Day to day I am responsible for leading standups, client communication, project planning, writing code for APIs and frontend applications, and DevOps such as provisioning and deployments.
What tech tools / gadgets make your job easier and why?
My IDE (Integrated development environment) is the most important item in my toolset, which ensures accuracy, consistency and provides helpful autocompletion when writing code. A simple watch is also a handy tool to ensure accurate time tracking.
What aspects of your role do you enjoy the most and what would you change or improve?
I enjoy mentoring the most. I feel it is important to support junior developers the same way that senior developers helped me when I was a junior. There's really not much that I would change though I would enjoy doing more teaching.
How do you stay up to date with industry trends?
Twitter mainly. I only follow other professionals to keep in touch of what is being shared and discussed online. I also subscribe to some newsletters and blogs, and of course attending my local user groups.
How did you get involved with Spectrum IT?
We approached Spectrum IT to ask for sponsorship for our meetup after meeting organisers of a similar event.
Could you elaborate on what PHPDorset is and the core purpose of the group?
PHP Dorset is a Bournemouth based community for anyone interested in the PHP programming language or web development in general. Whether you are starting to learn PHP or an industry veteran, our events are all-inclusive and range in depth. Meetups are free to attend take place on the first Monday of the month in Westbourne, Dorset. For more information on upcoming talks visit - https://www.phpdorset.co.uk/
How are you involved with the User Group?
I am an organiser, but originally just attended and took over from an organiser who could no longer offer as much time to the organisation of the group.
How do you come up with speakers/topics for your talks? What advice would you give to beginners?
Finding speakers is difficult. We usually keep an eye on other local user groups and approach the same speakers, and often give talks ourselves.
Who would you recommend in the IT community? Who has influenced you?
Dave Hulbert - my fellow PHPDorset organiser, has probably had the largest influence on me. He supported me and encouraged me to start giving talks myself and has generally been a great sounding board.
What is your next goal?
Building upon the user group's community.
What advice would you give to people trying to get into the industry?
Network regularly. Being a familiar face and showing your passion and skills are better than anything someone will read on a CV.