Philadelphia has turned competitive in recent years. Philadelphia, after failing to live up to its potential in terms of start-ups and thriving business, is on the rise again. Where high-tech start-ups, inspired innovation, and raw talent were once non-existent in Philly, things began to look up in 2015. And with the growth has come the growth of other related factors, including the need for UX professionals.
What little tech industry Philadelphia did have (prior to its rapid expansion) used to be scattered around the city and its suburbs. Today, that’s all beginning to change. Focusing on downtown Philadelphia (more specifically, the area known as the Old City and its surrounding neighborhoods), many start-ups and businesses are banding together to create a tech community.
When it comes to UX conferences held in Philadelphia, the annual Forge Conference stands out among the rest. While Philadelphia has (and will have) opportunities to host major international conferences, the Forge Conference is a Pennsylvania original. With 2015’s speakers ranging from Cap Watkins of Buzzfeed to Amritha Prasad of Uber and Nickey Skarstad of Etsy to Will Harding of NPR (not to mention the other big names and businesses represented at the event), it goes without saying that this yearly Philadelphia event attracts designers and professionals from all over the world.
The UX professionals in the city of Philadelphia have joined forces to organize various independent groups and activities. Among these is the Philly Front-End/UX Meetup. The group “offers vetted and relevant content focused on front end development, design and user experience,” according to their Meetup.com page. In other words, they meet up every so often to engage in activities like group discussions on UX-pertinent information and laid-back picnics. In a varied twist, there’s also a wildly popular group that calls themselves “Shame On UX: User Experience Meetup.” Their mission? To laugh (politely, of course) at the failings of various UX and to brainstorm methods of improvement. For those looking for a group that will provide both social interaction with other UX professionals (think pizza-and-beer nights) as well as host valuable discussions and seminars, Philadelphia UI/UX Design Meetup might very well be the group for you. Lastly, there’s the UX Book Club Philadelphia. This organization meets every other month to read and discuss information pertaining to the realm of UX.
While Philadelphia might not be the Silicon Valley, it does offer a substantial amount of potential and a lot of creative talent. So for all of you Pennsylvania-based UX-ers, check out the available resources and connect with others in the Philly UX community…and keep an eye on all of those start-ups. You never know which garage-started entrepreneurial endeavor will prove to be the next Apple.
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