By Sibers PHP Team Leader at Bishkek branch
Accompanied by Sibers Android Developer
On September 14th Konstantin Zolotarev and Kuban Dzhakipov received a notice that their initiative for the creation of the local Google Technology User Group (GTUG) in Bishkek was approved by Google.
By this time, the men had already held two local meetings on Google technologies and even started the development of their own open-source project.
We wanted to better understand what GTUG is, why we need it, and why our colleagues from the Sibers Bishkek branch are ready to fully devote their time to this project. Konstantin Zolotarev, Sibers PHP Team Leader and founder of Bishkek GTUG, took the time to answer a few of our questions.
— What is GTUG? How did you learn about it?
Google Technology User Groups (GTUGs) are communities for people using, and those interested in Google’s technology.
Actually, I learned about this program from the Internet. Google tweeted about an event held in the company office together with a GTUG. After some searching I discovered that there was such a program. So, the next step was to complete an application for the local GTUG establishment.
— Why did you decide to proceed with applying?
Before starting my work with the GTUG program, I was the coordinator of a similar Sun Microsystems (now Oracle) program. The program was called OSUM, and pursued similar goals, but was aimed at students. I was supposed to supervise the program at Bishkek universities.
Unfortunately, this program is closing, but it helped me to learn the general working principle of such programs. Therefore, as soon as I heard about GTUG, I started working with no questions. Kuban almost immediately joined me (together, we are the founders of this group), and our work started to shift into high gear.
— What personal goals did you pursue?
My main motivation with starting a local GTUG is to continue my self-development and to gain access to new technologies. Besides that, I often use Google technologies in my work, and I use it to share my knowledge with my team. It is much easier to do live communications in our group, rather than simply reading forums. I am thankful for the Google support that made this possible. Also, I like how the title of ’Bishkek GTUG founder’ sounds
— What steps have you taken to found the Bishkek GTUG?
To register your GTUG, you have to meet certain conditions. At the very least, you need to create the group’s site, forum, twitter, etc. You also need to conduct organizational work: arrange meetings, search for sponsors and advertise your events. I want to give a special thanks to everyone who helped us. We are very lucky to have our sponsor—Sibers supported us even in the beginning, when nobody knew who we were.
— Who are the members of your group? How did you find them?
Our group unites people who are interested in new technologies. Some of them do not deal with the actual development, but they do follow the progress of the technology.
There are people who have joined just because of the Google brand. Initially our colleagues and friends comprised the members of the group. Then, when we started to grow and information began to disseminate, people started to join us spontaneously.
— Tell us about your meetings?
So far, we have only had two meetings. Both were in the form of conferences. The first was regarding the Google Web Toolkit, and the second was about Android.
Despite the experience of organizing such events, we were faced with some organizational obstacles. The most difficult thing was to find a location for the meetings. The first meeting took place in a café, while we were granted a conference room at The National IT Centre for the second meeting.
At our first meeting, there were only about 15 people in attendance. However, our second meeting hosted more than 80 people!
Our team prepared all of the speeches and made various presentations.
Our second meeting also hosted Sibers’ top management who made a speech.
There are five event formats within GTUG but both of our meetings were in a Tech Talk format. We have a lot of room to grow and a lot of things to do—we have great plans and much work ahead!
— You have already started your open–source projects. What are they?
Recently, our group has decided to start three open source projects. We have selected several directions to pursue simultaneously so that everyone has found something of interest.
One project is well underway. It is a game for browsers and Android devices made with PlayN and jBox2D.
— What are your plans?
We have great plans to create a good and active community. We also hope to present our projects at the next Google Developers Days.
Recently, Google agreed with the organizers of StartupWeekends that their events would be held with the participation of local GTUGs.
We do hope that Bishkek GTUG will be a successful group with interesting projects and with a great professional community!