Lead project developer at Facile.it, PUGMI coordinator, PHP-FIG Secretary, computer science passionate, retired netgaming nerd.

Tell us about your user group. Who is the main organizer and how/when did it start? What people do you aim, in what positions: Developers, QAs or other IT specialists?

Our group is the PHP User Group of our city, Milan. We’re focused on PHP so obviously we target developers, but we don’t target a specific level of expertise.

How many people are part of the community in Madrid? Are there a lot of Java developers?

Here in Milan there are a lot of tech companies, it’s probably the biggest city in Italy in that regard; there are really a lot of developers.

How often do you meet? Where?

We meet once a month, generally on the second or third Wednesday. We’re very lucky because, due to the concentration of companies in our city, we’re able to be hosted by a different company each month. Our formula is “doors open at 19, the talk starts at 19:30!”; in the meantime we can eat and drink something (if the host sponsored something) and meet and chat together: it’s a perfect situation to get to know fellow developers from other companies, and expand your network.

How many people are participating in the #PUGMi? What is the ratio of men: women?

Our Meetup account recently surpassed one thousand subscribers, and we have around 3-4 hundred active users there. We have an average attendance at every event that goes from 20-30 to 40-50, normally depending on the topic.

Do you think that people from your country are accustomed to the existence of such groups? Are they interested in them?

Since we have many Meetups in our city, I think there are a lot of developers that are accustomed to this kind of gatherings. But I know for a fact that we’re living in a “happy bubble” of knowledge-sharing, focused professionals, and there are a lot of small and big companies where our craft is not valued so much and developers don’t know that there’s so much to learn and grow in their profession.

What’s new in your community? In terms of technology and around you?

I think that in the past months the hottest topic has been Kubernetes: we had that as a topic for two months in a row and the attendance was very high regardless! Many were interested in getting to know the technology and learn from the experience of those who are already using it. I also think that after the summer PHP 7.4 will be the hot topic: the new version is coming this november, they just released the first alpha version, and it will be the last minor for the 7 series; last but not least, it’s packed with new interesting features, like typed properties [https://wiki.php.net/rfc/typed_properties_v2], preloading [https://wiki.php.net/rfc/preload] and covariant returns / contravariant parameters [https://wiki.php.net/rfc/covariant-returns-and-contravariant-parameters]

What was your most popular / most attended meetup ever? What did you talk about? Who was the speaker?

We had a few highly attended meetups! I think the record was when Microsoft hosted us at their new building in the city center, we reached more that 70 attendees, and Christian Nastasi talked about the repository pattern [https://www.meetup.com/it-IT/MilanoPHP/events/238737538/]. Another highly attended meetup was one where I was test-driving a talk that I did at PHPDay 2018 about a case study in implementing event sourcing [https://www.meetup.com/it-IT/MilanoPHP/events/244650417/].

Are you organizing events or other initiatives?

Two years ago we helped organizing SymfonyDay, which is a small italian conference was organized in a different city every year, and it’s focused on the Symfony PHP framework. From this year the event is gone international, and it will fully in english, and hosted in Verona this October [https://2019.symfonyday.it/].

How do you maintain the user group – who finances you? Is there a membership fee?

Our user group is free, and we rely on our hosts for a location and the eventual food and drinks; we get some help from Grusp [http://grusp.org/] (they pay our Meetup account), which is a non-profit that “fathers” all the italian PHP user groups, and organizes a bunch of conferences, some of international level (PHPDay, JSDay).

Is everything self-initiative? Do you plan to become part of a global unit of such a community?

Ans said in the previous answer, we’re already part of a “bigger family”, so we already have connections with other PUGs in our country; we normally hold an informal meeting of organizers during PHPDay, we’re we talk about how’s going and what we can do in the following year.

What events and big conferences do you follow and try your best to attend?

I normally attend PHPDay and SymfonyDay in Verona, and Codemotion in my city, Milan. This year I’ll be taking a detour, and I’ll be attending SymfonyCon in Amsterdam.

Do you plan visiting Bulgaria?

I don’t know, maybe for a tech conference? I tend to “budget” the time away from my family, but I would love to see a different, big conference each year outside of my country to expand my horizons.

How can people join your user group or keep in touch with you?

Our main channel is our Meetup account [https://www.meetup.com/it-IT/MilanoPHP/] where we announce our event, but we also have a Twitter account [https://twitter.com/MilanoPHP], a group-email for organizers [[email protected]] and a blog [https://milano.grusp.org/]

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