During his time at Iowa State University, Eric Cheatham became a part of a small, impactful group of peers who, like him, were black software engineers.
“The support group I had at Iowa State was incredibly valuable. But once I graduated, that group kind of scattered while I stayed in Iowa to take a job to work at Workiva,” Cheatham said. “I had a difficult time finding a community like that again and for the longest time I just brushed it off, not really understanding the impact that the group had. Eventually, it kind of clicked in my mind that I was doing myself a disservice by not seeking that community out.”
Cheatham recently started DBUG (Des Moines Black User Group), a group for black software engineers, InfoSec professionals, User Experience designers, students, and tech enthusiasts alike to come together and share things they are working on or learning about.
Cheatham says that all skill levels and focuses are welcome to join the group and that DBUG is not necessarily focused on just tech professionals.
“I’d like to create a community of people that don’t necessarily live, eat, and breathe tech all the time,” Cheatham said. “If someone has a passing interest in IoT devices or is a student in high school who thinks they might be interested, they should definitely join.”
DBUG will hold its first meetup on Tuesday, October 30 with plans to have the group meet once per month.
“For the first meetup, because I don’t necessarily know what the community itself is interested in, it’s just kind of a general meeting,” Cheatham said. “Moving forward, once I get a feel for what the community’s needs, I would like to have more tightly defined broad-level topics and in those have a couple of people who can speak to those topics.
Cheatham told Clay & Milk that he wants the meetups to be organized similarly to how Ted Talks operates, where there is one guiding concept with several people talking about what the topic means to them.
Click here to register for DBUG’s first meetup.