BarCamp Buffalo brings together those working in web-related industries

Workers and students involved in technology, design and web development listened to brief presentations and mingled during Wednesday’s Buffalo BarCamp, an informal technology-based conference at the Main Washington Exchange building.

Dan Magnuszewski, a freelance software developer and BarCamp organizer, stands on the roof of the Main Washington Exchange building.

Speakers presented 10-minute discussions on such topics as, “How to Present According to Batman,” “Developers- Stop being Horrible at Your Job” and “How to Write Awesomely Good Website Content.”

Coding, beer and 10-minute talks

Standing in front of the BarCamp audience wearing Joker-style makeup from the 2008 Batman movie, “The Dark Night” Canisius College student Paddy Foran made a theatrical case for people to stop being “so serious” about their presentations.

“Be unique, be theatrical,” said Foran. “Unfortunately the norm is standing behind the podium. Get out from the podium, walk around the stage; break the norm.”

Paddy Foran says presentation is about entertainment and being theatrical.

“Have fun with your presentation. If you’re having fun then your audience is having fun. Give cool presentations. People will talk about it and people will spread your presentation. That is the very basic (idea) of social networking.”

In addition to being a student, Foran is also the local leader of the Buffalo GTUG- Google Technology User Groups. Foran and other members meet at the Buffalo MakerSpace offices every month. For more information, visit the Buffalo GTUG website.

Elizabeth Chatterton, a copywriter and social media director at e-commerce retailer KegWorks, gave tips on writing properly search engine optimized content.

“You want people to link to your content,” said Chatterton. “It needs to be optimized and optimized does not mean ‘stuffed with keywords.’ Write first, optimize second. Go back and put your keywords in after you have written your content and use one or two focused keywords throughout each web page.”

Chatterton said make sure your website content is:

  • easy-to-read
  • scanable
  • concise
  • relevant
  • engaging
  • updated often

Getting out from behind their computers

BarCamp, organizer Dan Magnuszewski, a freelance software developer, says he wants to bring together those involved in web-related technologies for mutual benefit. Magnuszewski himself just started renting a desk at the new coworking space inside the Main Washington Exchange Building.

Attendees watch a 10-minute presentation at Wednesday's BarCamp Buffalo.

Magnuszewski says networking events like BarCamp helps spawn new ideas and start-ups and it gets people working and working together.

“It better than working at home because you’re meeting new people in a casual-relaxed atmosphere,” said Magnuszewski. “You’re getting to meet others involved in technology and design in this area by working at the coworking space and at events like this.”

“I’m getting jobs here (in Buffalo) from people in Chicago; I’m going to start working with a startup from New York City. Everybody is looking for qualified people and no one can find enough people to do this work, so you can live in Buffalo and get Chicago and New York City (amount) money.”

And what sorts of skills are in demand? Not surprising, mobile development is huge.

“Mobile is huge right now — iPhone, iPad, and Android development,” said Magnuszewski. “Being a developer of those applications is huge right now. Knowing titanium framework is a very big thing. I think having programming skills in JavaScript, Perl, PHP, Python, and Ruby, –these types of web languages are very good to have. Mobile development –the more you can do with mobile development, the higher your rate is going to be, and more people are going to be knocking on your door.

Future BarCamps in Buffalo

Magnuszewski is hoping to organize another BarCamp in the near future. He hopes it will be a day-long event and allow much more time for presenters and discussion.

Some of the sponsors of the June BarCamp included Main Washington Exchange, Synacor, SelectOne  Search Staffing, appcelerator and Semantic Press.