When it comes to Dublin’s tech scene, few people are as well connected as Vicky Twomey-Lee. One of the founders of Python Ireland and part of the team at Dogpatch Labs, Vicky has been involved in the city’s grassroots meetup scene from the very early days.
A Vibrant Tech Meetup Scene
“When it started in 2005 there were about 10 people in our meetup, and from then to now, it’s such a big difference,” she explains. “From 2005 to 2010, the whole scene really exploded. Now you can barely count all the meetups in Dublin. With just technology alone, you have over 140 active groups.”
Familiar to anyone who has attended events in The Vaults at Dogpatch Labs, which were renovated last year through sponsorship with Ulster Bank, Vicky has run and organised tech events for the CHQ based company over the past 12 months. Also responsible for the success of CodingGrace and PyLadies Dublin, she’s an advocate for the vibrancy of the meetup scene in Dublin.
“It’s such a vibrant and multi-cultural community here,” she says. “There are a lot of people from all over the world based in Dublin and people are very friendly and inclusive. That’s why I do all these meetups. When you go to these meetups initially you might think it’s scary, but you go out afterwards and get to know people. And after a while, people get absorbed by the culture. And to be honest, a lot of ideas come out of that social aspect. That’s how Python Ireland came about. We had no money, no sponsors, no venue, but we took it on and just did it. And you do have ideas drawn on napkins, I’ve seen it and these crazy ideas come out.”
Ireland’s Python Community
As an early member of the Python community, Vicky says the use of Python grew very organically in Ireland. “Back in 2004, a few of us used Python as a tool in our roles but there were no Python jobs. I went to my first Python meetup and got my first Python job from that. Suddenly, you had a lot of people using this tool in their everyday work. It’s something that applies to a lot of tasks.”
She adds: “You’d hear about YouTube using it, and then Facebook using it and it being used for site reliability. Then more and more of us realised it was good. From there, Python just grew bigger and bigger. We had a conference to promote the use of Python and people all over Ireland were using it. Since then, I’ve seen a lot more user groups and the groups now range from about 30-100.”
Growth & Development
With innovative work happening throughout Ireland, Vicky says the tech industry has grown and developed at an incredible pace. “It’s changed a lot from mostly being call-centres and localisation, which is what it was like when I started,” she says. “Now you have so many developer jobs here in Ireland.“
Along with Vicky, Dogpatch Lab’s Managing Director, Patrick Walsh, also shared his thoughts on the industry. He adds: “It’s amazing to see the growth and to see the diversity within the languages. I think that’s a really good marker and barometer of a tech ecosystem.”
As for the daily rounds of meetups, he notes that the events have great value for tech professionals and tech companies. “It’s very valuable for companies who are resident here to have access to those talent pools. And it’s interesting to note the people attending these events are very international. It’s a great way for people to integrate into the community here. A lot of people find it really valuable as well. If they’re moving into the city for the first time, it helps them find their feet. And a lot of people want to continue their training and this gives them that chance,” he says.