Reshaping the Berlin Co-Learning Landscape?


(Martin Stadler) #1

With the new Data Science Co-Learning being established and after talking to organizers of the Python and Ruby Co-Learnings (@andreas @haiko @mamhoff) an idea came up, to re-shape the scope of some of our Co-Learnings rather by technical topic than by language:

  • Backend: Everything around server-side web applications, APIs, servers, databases, ops, any language
  • Frontend: Client-side web stack (browser, electron, React Native), anything producing HTML/CSS/JavaScript
  • Data Science: Data analasys, visualization, Machine Learning, AI, probably mostly Python, R, …

Frontend already works that way. At the Python Co-Learning, despite offering some web develpment expertise, most participants are doing data-related topics. In the Data Science Co-Learning, most people work with Python. Ruby Co-Learners exclusively do web application development and are also interested in server operations. So the idea would be to merge Python and Ruby into Backend and Data. Rust Hack and Learn and NodeSchool should probably stay as they are. I’m not sure about the Go Co-Learning.

Now, this sounds like a good idea to me and it has worked well for the Web Frontend Co-Learning for years. Still, moving things around causes friction and might not help much.

I wonder what influence on participant attraction it has to have a language name in the event title. Does it attract more experts or beginners? And would the topics of a Backend Co-Learning be too wide-spread (from NodeJS to Java Spring, from Rails to Docker) to have good collaboration? (The Web Frontend Co-Learning sometimes has this with too many frontend frameworks, but we also enjoy the diversity.) Or should it focus on a bunch of core topics?

I would love to discuss this with all of you, organizers, but also participants!

Organizers I’m aware of: @chiara @haiko @andreas @mamhoff @ellen @gershom @anaketa @bastianalbers @mohamed @finnp @anderspree @nicolai

(nicolai) #2

Now that you are talking about it, I held for a while now the wish to make a friendly and discrimination aware meetup about modern SRE-ish ops. So i like the idea to set up the co-learning things by technical topics.

I want to do this because the ops landscape has left a lot to wish for to say the least. It is just not nice and the meetups I have been to were socially mostly dissapointing and partly even straightforward toxic. So I want an ops meetup with as little toxic masculinity behaviour as possible.

I talked with a few people about this and wanted to start meetings mid next month or in july.

The technical border to backend is definitely blurry, so we could maybe combine the two.

(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #3

I like the idea. The Ruby Co-Learning has always had people doing adjacent things (server setup, database thingies, even some CSS or JS), and by organizing by technical topic we might be able to undo some of the unhelpful language siloing.

Also, @xMartin and I talked about this yesterday.

(Andreas) #4

I like the idea in general. Coming from backend development, I often struggle to answer Pandas and NumPy related questions in the Python Co-Learning. However, I have some concerns:

Are enough learners interested in backend development to form a group? For Python, there would be more coaches than learners.

About half of the learners in the Python Co-Learning are beginners and I have serious doubts they would “dare” go to a Data Science or Backend group.

Combining these two, I’d rather have a mixed Ruby/Python/X beginners group than backend. (X depends on coaches available)

(Gershom Tripp) #5

It makes sense, but I think too much consolidation might scare away many of those who are just getting started. I think that if I had had to decide between frontend, backend, and data science meetups while I was still trying to wrap my head around the inner workings of a while-loop I probably would have just stayed home.

I’m not sure what actual participation at the language-focused co-learning events looks like, but considering Python’s immense popularity and beginner-friendly reputation it might make sense to continue maintaining a dedicated co-learning event.

Maybe we should put together a short survey to find out what participants and potential participants think?

(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #6

Hm, I see the naming concern with “backend”. In part I would love there to be a space for people doing PHP as well (I’ll actually go to a Wordpress meetup tonight to gauge interest). Also, the Ruby Co-Learning does have more space for both learners and coaches, so we could try out widening the title there a bit while having “beginner”, “ruby”, and maybe "php still high up in the event description.

PHP seems especially interesting to me because there’s a whole ecosystem out there that OTS has been ignoring forever. What if we could actually empower all the Wordpress/Drupal crowd! :slight_smile:

(giorgia) #7

i think is a great idea.
i see the concern about naming but we probably just have to come up with something beginner friendly. .As martin said, we already do thay at the frontend co learning and is working great.

(ellen) #8

I really like the idea as well, but I understand the concerns about remaining beginner friendly. One idea I had was to have a special “Intro to programming co-learning” every two weeks or so that would be language agnostic. I wonder if we would find enough coaches to sustain something like that. What are your opinions? :slight_smile:

(Chiara) #9

I kind of like the idea, however most people come to the Python Co-Learning without a “specialization” - mostly beginners. We also have some learners who don’t do either data science things or backend - for instance, Micropython stuff.

I would wait a few weeks to see how many of the Python learners are syphoned off to the Data Science co-learning. If attendance drops considerably, then it would make sense to merge the Python/Ruby/Go co-learning into one Backend & IoT co-learning, for instance.

(Haiko Schol) #10

I like all the ideas! :smiley: The original one, the one to have an “intro to programming” co-learning, the ops co-learning, the one calling it “Backend & IoT” or something similar that covers non web dev projects. Although ideally we would have the beginners come to one of the other two.
It would also be good for the Go co-learning. The ideas we had to reach more people (collaborating with other Go meetups) didn’t pan out, so I put it on hold again.

(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #11

We talked after the last Ruby/Python evening about just letting up a test balloon: What about we merge the two for a couple of sessions, and announce them maybe like this:


Open Server/IoT Co-Learning

We learn server side programming together! Want to setup a blog using Wordpress? Program your first Django or Rails app? Install an audio server on a Raspberry Pi? Improve your testing skills?

Whether your language of choice is Ruby, Python, Go (?) or something entirely different, come along. There will be coaches present who can help you with Ruby, Python, PHP and Go. If we don’t know something, let’s figure it out together!

This group is open to total beginners in programming as well as to more experienced programmers who want to get their feet wet in another language or explore new topics.

If possible, bring your own laptop. We have some computers available, but they are a bit slow. Snacks are also very welcome!

Our learning materials are available under

We run a short intro round at the beginning of the meetup where everyone can say what their project is or how they can help others.


For next monday, people have already signed up, so it will probably start only the week after that if we think this is a good text. Opinions, please! :slight_smile:

(Chiara) #12

Sounds good! However, I’d put the “Open” together with the “Co-Learning”, or skip the “open” altogether. Otherwise, it would look like “open server” is some new hipster tech :smiley:
I would also specify what the “co-learning” format is :slight_smile:

(Andreas) #13

I’m still concerned we’ll loose beginners who might not be attracted by “server” or “IoT”. Any ideas how we could include them?

(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #14

Ha! ‘Open Server’, the new blockchain based serverless cloud platform!

Jokes aside: If we remove the ‘server’ or ‘iot’ bit, we arrive at ‘Open Co-Learning’. I’m afraid of not differentiating enough from the more specialised ones (frontend, go, creative coding). @xMartin @anaketa @ramin would you be fine with ‘Open Co-Learning’ as the title for the combined Ruby and Python Meetups?

(Martin Stadler) #15

Why “open”? We have that in the name already. Is “server” better than “backend”? My guess would be that more people look for “backend”. “IoT” seems quite special for the name of this. But why not :slight_smile:

About attracting beginners: With “backend” or “server” we will attract people and with “python” and “ruby” we will, too. Can’t have it all. We should just decide what we like better as a “clustering”. To be on the safe side, why not keep the Python Co-Learning for a while (at least the event) and make the Ruby one the “server” co-learning? Maybe we can have it all :slight_smile:

(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #16

Yeah, that’s where we’re at. Keep the two meetups, and change the copy for the Ruby one. Have them all take place in the third floor. :slight_smile:

(Martin Anselm Meyerhoff) #17