Yesterday evening (Wednesday, 4th Feb 2015) welcomed GitHub and their Patchwork workshop/hack-night to Cape Town, hosted by the awesome iXperience guys in Gardens.

Patchwork is a hands-on workshop for newcomers and the like to learn all about Git and GitHub. Amongst the ‘newbies’ who went there to learn something new, there was also a host of fellow ‘mentors’ who joined the evening to help others as we got our hands dirty, learning all about commits, merges, branches, and pull requests.

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Besides the actual hands-on workshop itself, which happened in one of the lecture room at the iXperience head office, we also had a couple of talks and presentations including one from a member of the GitHub team (and fellow Cape Town-ian, Sachin) who shared his story of how he went from not wanting to ever be a developer straight out of University, to now working in San Francisco with the GitHub team as a sales developer, helping companies set-up their projects in a Git-friendly way(the story went from him landing a job doing data-skimming tasks for a logistic company, and then learning how he could use his computer to automate and make his job easier, to finally taking the plunge and teaching himself a development language in his spare time – Ruby – and ultimately getting an internship at a local company. And the rest, they say, is history).

It was an inspiring talk highlighting the fact that, if you want to be a developer, you can ultimately become one. There are enough resources and an incredibly helpful community, both in your home town from fellow developers and industry experts, as well as online, that with a bit of perseverance you too can find yourself working for one of the big Silicon Valley companies one day, without any real formal qualification. Just a passion and a drive to learn and work hard.

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Towards the end of the evening we had another speaker who was a fellow developer in the local community, who shared some insight into open source software and the importance of it (both in the terms of how awesome it is as a resource for developers, but also to remind it’s generally good to give back and contribute to these projects when and where you can, too)

In between that we then started working on a couple of exercises, both at a ‘Hello, World’ level as well as something a little more advanced. During this though, one of Cape Town’s infamous load shedding moments came and knocked the lights out in the neighbourhood, leaving us merging and pulling and chatting and having a generally good time in the glow of our PC’s and smartphone lights. :)

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GitHub also graciously sponsored cooldrinks, pizza, beer and swag for the evening and I think it is safe to say all had a good time, despite the unexpected blackout!

Was awesome meeting Sachin and Alyson from the GitHub team (along with others!), and it reminded me how awesome the local and global developer community is.

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If you havent been to these meet-ups I suggest you bookmark one of the meet-up groups, and I hope to see you there next time!

Thanks team GitHub and iXperience for an awesome evening, look forward to the next!

Follow these people on Twitter! – 
Sachin (Team GitHub)
Alyson (Team GitHub)