How To Get Connected to the Austin Tech Scene
Whether you are a startup seeking out financial resources, a developer looking to grow professionally, or a business leader interested in networking, there are numerous ways to get connected to the Austin tech scene.
Over the past two decades, Austin has evolved as a tech hub, drawing in both larger tech companies like Oracle and Google, as well as countless driven entrepreneurs and tech startups. This influx of tech-minded people has caused the Austin tech scene to flourish, and with it, a whole variety of organizations helping people to get connected, learn, and support one another.
Here are some of the top ways you can get plugged into the Austin tech scene:
- Participate in events, meetups, and other groups for techies.
- Join an office at a coworking space.
- Take a class to up your technical skills.
- Follow key news sources and join online communities.
Participate in Events, Meetups, & Groups for Techies
If you’re looking to get involved in the Austin tech community, attending events, meetups, and groups is a great way to network, collaborate, and learn from like-minded individuals in the vibrant Austin tech scene.
While SXSW and Austin Startup Week are some of the most well-known annual events in the city, there are countless other organizations that meet on a regular basis to collaborate, innovate, and play. Both Austin Open Coffee and Austin Entrepreneurs bring together entrepreneurs and investors at large. LinkedIn Local Austin Networking, while not focused on just technology, is an active group that seeks to make those LinkedIn connections more than just electronic.
Join a Local Meetup
Not surprisingly, meetup groups exist for nearly every kind of technical discipline:
- EdTech Austin is a must-attend for exploring the intersection of technology and education.
- Open Austin is ideal for individuals passionate about open government/data and civic technology.
- Austin Chapter of Women Who Code (WWC) for women in tech in Austin, the 4,000+ member-strong WWC, is the largest community nationally and is dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers.
- Austin Women in Technology network with fun, successful, savvy, tech-minded community at events and other mediums.
Local software development (code-specific) groups include:
Software groups focused more broadly on bringing together all kinds of software engineers include:
If you’re looking for more of a party vibe, then BASHH, considered Austin’s favorite casual tech networking event by many, may be the right place for you. Similarly, Austin Tech Happy Hour is another long-standing favorite for Austin’s tech community. And if you love the outdoors, Hiking With Geeks is the group for you. Their mission is to create opportunities for people in STEM careers to connect away from the screen and in nature.
Get Connected via Coworking Spaces
If it’s challenging to get away in the evenings, you can also connect to the Austin tech scene simply by choosing an office at one of the many coworking spaces around the city.
Austin has a whole host of options, but WeWork, Galvanize, and Capital Factory are our top three recommendations that cater to tech. Not only will you bump into like-minded people while brewing your coffee, but you can also sign up for office hours and mentorship.
If you’re a more established company or have other unique interests, there are numerous options in Austin. We encourage you to check out this round-up from Built In Austin.
Get Connected While Growing Your Skills
In the fast-moving world of tech, there is always more to learn. You can leverage your desire to improve your skillset to connect to others with similar interests.
Two well-known learning communities in Austin are Galvanize and General Assembly. While Galvanize focuses on offering courses primarily in software engineering and data science, General Assembly offers programs in web development, data science and analysis, user experience design, digital marketing, product management, and more.
In both cases, instructional teams often come from top businesses and can share real-world experiences and insights. In addition to the courses and bootcamps, both have meetup groups, host happy hours, and offer other free local events.
Learn About the Austin Tech Scene From News Sources & Online Communities
By joining digital communities and following key news sources, you can tap into a wealth of information and opportunities in the Austin tech ecosystem.
Join a Digital Community
It’s undoubtedly no surprise that online communities are part of the way you can get connected to the Austin tech scene. Facebook Groups are a popular online forum, and the Austin Startups Facebook Group, with over 20,000 members, should be top on your list for participation.
The ATX Tech Volunteers Facebook Group is also a great way to learn about opportunities to plug in and make a difference simultaneously.
Follow Key News Sources
- Austin Startup Digest is a Techstars program, the Startup Digest is available for numerous cities, and the Austin weekly digest will plug you into the entrepreneurial community through events and curated content.
- Austin Startup Reddit feed will help you get connected to the Austin tech scene.
- Austin Startups is a lead voice of the Austin startup ecosystem.
If you’re not particularly interested in startups, there are numerous other media outlets that keep a pulse on the tech scene at large.
- Austin Business Journal, part of the BizJournals network, has everything from a Twitter feed to a daily news email.
- 512Tech from the Austin American-Statesman shares leading news about Austin’s technology industry and the culture that surrounds it.
- Built In Austin is another way to stay current with the latest trends in the Austin tech scene.
There’s no shortage of ways to get connected to the Austin tech scene! Every group and media outlet has its own personality and focus, so find one that feels like it could be a fit and give it a try. There’s no substitute for personal connections, and even if it’s not the perfect match, putting yourself out there will help you find one that is.
Are you looking for a top tech company? InspiringApps has deep roots in the Austin community. We partner with inspired companies to create digital products that delight our clients’ customers and improve business outcomes. Sign up here to receive invaluable expert insights on everything tech + innovation.
Of course, we’re also always happy to help with ideas; contact us at any time.
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Generation Z is a brilliant and forward-thinking generation making a progressive transformation in the world as we know it. Following behind Millennials, they are heavily immersed in the technical landscape and are highly app savvy. They were born into a world of expansion and innovation with creations like the Apple iPhone and Facebook. Having grown up with the ability to access knowledge at the tap of their fingertips, they’re educated individuals with great entrepreneurial goals. They expect companies to anticipate their needs and will move on when they don’t deliver. They’re looking for flawless app design, fast iterations, responsible data collection, creative outlets, and more. Some Facts About Generation Z Born between 1997 and 2012, they’re in the era of self-discovery. Since their youth, Gen Z parents have been navigating the rise of technology and the online privacy issues that come with it; for Gen Z, finding their true selves is no easy task. Due to their immense media consumption, they expect instant gratification and high-speed delivery. As the “mobile generation,” 96% of Gen Zers are reported to own a cellphone—many spend 10 hours plus connected online. They frequent social platforms like Instagram, Youtube, TikTok, Twitch, Snapchat, Pinterest, Reddit, and other platforms. Gen Zers gravitate to mobile banking apps to serve their financial needs and streamline their tasks. Consequently, email is slowly dying out among this community of users. Generation Z interacts with apps in their lives as a means of communication, to fill a need in their life, and for play and creative expression. They are true digital natives and are hyper-connected to the world around them—making them increasingly self-aware and emotionally reflective. Generation Z also reports high rates of anxiety, depression, and mental challenges—more so than in past generations. Experiencing a global pandemic has only exasperated their mental health struggles. Consequently, prioritizing and addressing mental health is of great importance. Take Oye—a creative wellness app created by singer J Balvin “to make the world feel better.” It’s an app to transform your emotions into creative actions with mind-body practices, daily emotional check-in tools, personalized goal setting, and mindful notifications. Gen Z has proven to be catalyzed citizens who want to make a difference through social responsibility. Their innate understanding of the power of social networks and their regular consumption of news and information has allowed Gen Z to move past the era of Millennial armchair activism. While navigating life in today’s world, Gen Z confidently prioritizes experiences over objects. Considerations in App Development for Generation Z The Generation Z cohort is a significant target for app developers. Being born and raised in the digital age, they are always looking for novel tech to explore. Generation Z represents much larger historical forces at play, driving progressive transformation in the workplace that will redefine the entire generational experience. As a result, this generation has experienced increased globalization, technological advancements, and a fast-paced influx of information. Generation Z is changing the way we build digital experiences. Generation Z is the first generation to merge the digital and physical worlds into one experience. They view the internet as more than just a transaction and instead see it as a human experience. What that means for development is creating intuitive experiences that Gen Zers will love—innovative, straightforward, and seamless. With this information in mind, we’ve identified vital considerations to keep in mind when developing digital products for Generation Z. What Gen Z Consumers Want in An App Obsessively Tested, Flawless Design Gen Zers value efficiency and flawless design. That is why thorough testing and gaining user feedback are paramount. Be sure to ask for feedback from this generation and integrate the user input throughout your app’s development process and in updates. “If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey.” AARON LEA, ART DIRECTOR AT INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Glitchy user interface behaviors and poor design choices are instant turnoffs for Gen Zers. Make your app seamless and flawless from the start, or you may lose your customer. Build your app with swift and straightforward interactions, and don’t reinvent the wheel for every feature within your product—draw inspiration from apps that are already working. By sticking with best practices and standard features and anticipating your users’ desires, your users will navigate more intuitively and stick around for more. Fast Iterations Gen Z consumers have grown up in a fast-paced digital world and value convenience and efficiency. They prefer mobile apps that offer quick and uninterrupted experiences, such as fast loading times, easy checkout processes, and streamlined workflows. Keep your app low on data—fast to download and delete. Control Over Their Digital Footprint Gen Zers quickly went from a private world to everything constantly being shared online. In their formative years, they grew up with little technology at their disposal. They were thrust into a world of hyper-technology and interconnectedness as time progressed. With that in mind, here are essential factors to keep at the forefront of your app development: Privacy Settings Gen Z should be able to manage their privacy settings on apps. This type of functionality includes having the ability to choose whether their information is shared publicly or only with specific individuals and having the option to limit the usage of their personal data. Data Transparency Gen Z should have clear access and information about what data is collected, how it’s used, and to whom it gets shared. Responsible Data Collection It’s essential to ensure that Gen Zers’ personal data is protected from data breaches and cyber threats. Apps should implement robust security practices to keep user data safe. Value-Add Through Personalization You can add value with personalization by using various technologies, such as saving login information, geolocation, machine learning, and AI, to cater to the specific needs of Gen Z. It is crucial to find a proper balance in incorporating personalization that genuinely adds value, without overdoing it. Here are a few core components to adding value through personalization: Saving Login Information Gen Z is all about convenience, and one way to provide that is by saving their login information. By doing so, you not only save them time but also provide a straightforward user journey. Geolocation Gen Z consumers are constantly on the go and expect a personalized experience based on their location. Using geolocation technology, you can offer tailored recommendations, promotions, and content based on their location. Machine Learning & AI If you want to better understand your Gen Z customers, machine learning can be a potent tool. By analyzing their data, you can personalize their experience and provide the results they seek—before they even ask. AI and machine learning are great tools for automating manual tasks as well. Machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) can be used in many ways to develop apps for Gen Z. Here are some ways to incorporate ML and AI in your app to improve its performance: Personalized Recommendations: ML algorithms can provide customized recommendations to Gen Z users based on their interests, behaviors, and preferences. Chatbots & Virtual Assistants: With natural language processing (NLP) techniques, it’s now possible to create bots that can interact with Gen Z users in a way that feels just like talking to a real person. Bots can help users with tasks such as scheduling, finding information, or making purchases on their mobile devices. Image & Video Recognition: Computer vision techniques can be used to recognize images and videos, which can be helpful in apps such as social media platforms, gaming, or e-commerce. Predictive Modeling: Predictive modeling techniques can be used to forecast future behaviors and trends. For instance, a news app can predict which articles will be most popular among Gen Z users. Predictive modeling ensures your app stays ahead of the curve. Voice Recognition: Voice recognition techniques can be used to develop voice-enabled apps and devices that can be controlled with voice commands. This technology can be helpful in apps such as virtual assistants, smart home devices, or hands-free gaming. ML and AI can help app developers create more engaging, personalized, and interactive apps for Gen Z users. By leveraging these technologies, app developers can improve the user experience and stay ahead of the competition. Creative Tools More than half of Gen Zers believe they are more creative than previous generations. Most of them engage in creative activities in their free time. Gen Z is a highly creative generation that values individuality and self-expression. Therefore, niche tools enabling creativity are essential for creating apps that resonate with them. Concluding Thoughts on Developing Apps for Gen Z Gen Zers have a unique vantage point when it comes to app development. They’ve experienced the best of both worlds—an era of privacy merged with hyper-connectedness. They are vicarious app consumers, making them ideal customers for app developers. Brands that take the time to understand their Gen Z users’ behaviors, motivations, preferences, and expectations will experience significant growth. Considering the above considerations, one can ensure that their app hits the mark with this brilliant and forward-thinking generation. Gen Z wants more than just an app. They crave a unique experience that fulfills their daily needs and brings joy. The app should leave them feeling special and enhance their well-being. At InspiringApps, we stay on the pulse and ahead of the curve to bring you the most forward-thinking and trending app development insights. If you have any questions or thoughts on the above material—we’d be delighted to connect!
21 days ago
Boulder, CO—In the latest article from Built In Colorado, InspiringApps’ Creative Director, Aaron Lea, shares his advice on creating simplified user journeys within digital products. How To Simplify User Journeys When do you know it’s time to simplify your product’s user journey? When we design digital apps, we’re always looking for ways to simplify the user journey. Limiting the number of interactions users have to make is a best practice for most apps. The more users have to drill down into extra screens, the more likely they are to leave. I like to think of it this way: design the app like you’re in the Target parking lot and about to go inside the store to buy Tide Pods. As a user, I want to be in and out as quickly as possible. A quick exchange that’s easy for me to use means I’m more prone to open the app the next time I’m in that Target parking lot. It’s often the case that apps are downloaded, opened once, and then deleted. These apps are too cluttered, and people won’t reuse them. On the other hand, when users know it doesn’t take too long to accomplish a task—no guided tours they’re more likely to use the app. A simple experience is a successful experience. Unless we’re creating something like TikTok, we aren’t designing the app to keep users in it. We’re here to help users achieve something or access a specific feature. The fewer interactions it takes to accomplish that, the better the journey. What process do you use to identify opportunities for simplification? App design is an art that involves trusting your instincts. I like to think of this process as similar to editing a script. Editors are great at identifying what’s essential and getting rid of clutter. But their real goal is staying true to what makes the script great—and amplifying that by revealing only what needs to be there. For example, an app may have a component that mirrors the functionality of Slack or Youtube. These are established popular apps. And even the best digital products aren’t going to lure people away from them. Any project, whether it’s designing an app or a home improvement project, can be subject to scope creep. Is that feature really needed? Was it added at the last minute? We all get distracted in the creative journey, and the risk is that we keep getting further away from—or even lose sight of—the reason we started, the problem we wanted to solve. We need to stay true to what inspired us in the beginning to create the app. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO What are some common traps designers can fall into that result in an overly complicated user journey? One trap is elevating ego over empathy. If the designer doesn’t remove themself and try to see the user’s perspective, they can overly complicate the journey. Designers must constantly evolve, challenge themselves, and put themselves in others’ shoes. ART DIRECTOR, AARON LEA | INSPIRINGAPPS, BOULDER CO Another trap could be the designer finding a new design tool or method they want to use and deciding to use it in a particular product. Novelty is not a substitute for suitability. A good rule of thumb is, don’t force it if it doesn’t deserve to be there. Sometimes, designers get set in their ways. Just because it worked last time doesn’t mean it will work this time too. Or conversely, designers may reinvent the wheel. If the design worked the first time, there’s no need to rethink it. Time management is critical. With mobile apps, people remember the launch, the middle, and the endpoint. A trap could be spending too much time on incidental interstitial areas. Don’t focus all your time there. Take that time and instead pick the three most vital sections—the app’s beginning, the middle, and its exit—and make those experiences ones that keep users coming back. Meet InspiringApps’ Creative Director Aaron Lea We believe that Inspired Employees Make InspiringApps and that our diverse backgrounds, skills, hobbies, and perspectives are what make us a stronger team. Aaron Lea finds his inspiration steeped in pop culture, a tradition of art in his family, and a creative digital design process that enables him to put novel creations back into the world and inspire others as a result.
1 month ago