The Contagion of the SA Tech Community - Geekdom
Jessica Hernandez of Grok Interactive

The Contagion of the SA Tech Community

Every now and then, Geekdom likes to reach out to some of our alumni and fellow alamo city techies to hear their thoughts on our burgeoning culture in the downtown area. Jessica Hernandez from Grok Interactive wanted to share her perspective on this “epidemic” that everyone should want to catch!

 

I am not talking about an infectious disease. I am talking about the infectious entrepreneurial spirit. The “let’s lift each other up” culture that has developed as a result of Geekdom’s efforts. If you are a part of this growing tech scene, you know the energy, the spirit and have grabbed on tightly to see how you can be a part of this vibrant ecosystem. For those not aware of our growing tech community, let me guide you through the web of knowledge happening in this city.

The tech industry’s growth in our city has helped with job creation. The highly coveted software developer job is most often discussed, but there are also opportunities in other key areas to include sales, marketing, and customer support. Remember that business degree you paid for and don’t know what to do with it? Well, tech companies need business minded individuals to help with day to day operations. Those skills are needed for strategic initiatives to help small tech companies grow.

Geekdom member and WordPress expert, Stefanie Young, from Grok Interactive gave a great example of her experience downtown. “I can walk down the street and ask any developer a question on any topic. Everyone is ready to help each other and provide support when we are looking for help.” Stefanie has also given back to the community by speaking at many engagements to share her knowledge with up and coming WordPress developers. She is a graduate from Codeup and is one of many Grok developers actively mentoring students. This is one small example of the open sourcing of information that is happening right now in our city.

If you are a current or former Rackspace employee, a short stroll down Houston street during a lunch hour will most likely lead you into a conversation with someone you used to work with and is now telling their story about their transition from a big tech company to a smaller start up environment reminiscent of Rackspace’s earlier years. For those not familiar with the Rackspace family and friends culture, you will be delighted to find many former Rackers who are willing to mentor and share their knowledge with others interested in this tech community.

Did I also mention that local downtown businesses are benefiting from the tech community’s growth? We are a group of hungry folks and we like to be fed good food. Pinch Boil House is an example of one of the eateries that will be opening due to demand and growth from this ecosystem.

Our collective community challenge in the coming years will be how will we allow this fostering of knowledge and information between each other to continue without allowing agencies to monopolize the community and make money off the values that we hold in high regard. You could be a Grok Interactive developer, a support team member of WPEngine, a database engineer at JungleDisk, a Codeup student, or working with one of the many startups at Geekdom, but our goals and aspirations are the same: continue to grow this thriving ecosystem and make it home to many of the tech companies of our time.

If you are not participating in the scene, you should be. Come downtown, grab lunch at Moshe’s, and get a membership at Geekdom. Find that energetic group of techies and ask them how to solve that business problem you have. Better yet, ask how you can contribute.

-Jessica

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