IBM’s big data meetup program approaches a significant milestone

WW Event Manager, Analytics Platform Services, IBM

IBM’s community of big data developers continues to grow. As our Big Data Developer meetup program moves into its fifth year, this worldwide community of customers, partners and IBM developers is on the verge of enlisting its 100,000th member—when we published this blog, we counted 99,100. 

As we near this milestone, it’s good to review where the Big Data Developer meetup group started and to anticipate its likely evolution over the next several years.

In June 2012, the Big Data Developers Meetup group began with just one group: Silicon Valley. When the Meetup Group was posted, immediately we had about 100 members. In the beginning, we offered topics such as IBM Streams, IBM BigInsights (Hadoop) and a few other topics focused on big data. 

Early on, we realized that was a good way of pulling together a like-minded community of users. We offered meetups in the evening every month to six weeks. Over the next several years, the number of groups and members continued to expand, and the meetups became a worldwide phenomenon. By the end of 2012, we had 6 groups in North America with a total membership of approximately 1,500. By the end of 2013, we had increased the number of groups to 35 and total membership of 7,000+ and began the worldwide reach. By the end of 2014, there were 61 meetup groups and a total membership exceeding 18,000. By the end of 2015 we had increased our groups to 86 and membership expanded 231 percent to 59,991 members. 

As the meetup community grew, the program evolved on several fronts: 

  • names for established groups: Some groups have changed their names. For example, Big Data Developers in Bangalore became Bangalore Spark and the London group changed its name from Big Data Developers to Big Data Analytics.
  • New groups in existing cities: Some cities have established additional groups; for example, Moscow now has both a Spark group and a Big Data Developers group.
  • New cross-group collaborations: We also began collaborating with other meetup groups to share topics and share speakers.
  • New group topics: We began offering topics on Watson Analytics, Bluemix, Hadoop on various platforms, Apache Spark, Cognos Analytics, Predictive and Prescriptive topics as well as continuing our full big data line. During 2016, IBM introduced the Data Science Experience and started doing introductory and educational meetups worldwide in the groups. 

As we push deeply into 2017, we anticipate that the IBM Big Data Developer meetup program will continue to evolve worldwide along all of these fronts.

If you’re planning to attend Spark Summit East 2017 in Boston on February 7-9, please consider joining us at the Boston Machine Learning Meetup. Register for Spark Summit and for the meetup.  You may also want to consider attending the Big Data Developers meetup in Boston on February 9, 2017, Intro to Spark Structured Streaming.