Google DevFest connects with the Valley at Fresno City College

The Valley has yet to attract the kind of high tech industries that are seen in the Bay Area. Workforce officials say the lack of skilled tech workers is partly to blame.
October 29, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Valley has yet to attract the kind of high tech industries that are seen in the Bay Area. Workforce officials say the lack of skilled tech workers is partly to blame.

One thing Fresno does have is a growing tech community, and many believe the partnerships the group is forging outside the Valley could soon pay off.

There are some who see the vision of the Valley's thriving technology community clearly. "Even though we are in the Valley and we are a little ways from the Silicon Valley," said Rio Wallace, Fresno City College instructor, "We have every opportunity to become what we want to be and we just want to be. And we just want to help people engage and connect and grow the community -- because there is an amazing community of people here."

A community with its own Google-like campus, and tech guru. "And so you put all these companies that are doing exiting development here in Fresno, in one facility, under one roof and they get to interact with one another and they get to enjoy they lunch they want, they get to go work out, they have a co-work facility right there," said Jake Soberal, CEO Bitwise Industries, " That collaboration and working together helps everyone grow.

We got a glimpse of what Fresno's growing tech community looks like at the first annual Google Developers Group DevFest event at Fresno City College (FCC).

Nicholas Roberts, 18, could barely contain his enthusiasm. "It's just great because it unifies the technology people in Fresno. It's really cool."

The event came out of a partnership between Fresno City College and Google. Rio Wallace has taught classes at the Google Campus in Mountain View and London -- and is bringing that knowledge to Fresno. "The purpose of this event is bringing together the students, professionals, academics -- whoever is interested in creating software, web or mobile apps. Anybody who is interested in those fields and want to utilize the Google services, this is an event for them."

From the very young to the very mature, people with a common interest are preparing themselves for, what many believe is, the coming tech explosion in the Valley.

"Right now Fresno is approaching this threshold where there are a lot of businesses looking toward the Central Valley," said Scott Matson, a student and instructor at FCC. He said the region must be ready to meet the demand. "If you look at career opportunities for developers and IT professionals, it is absolutely exploding right now."

Judging by the group of people who participated in this event, organizers believe the Valley is ready to take on the challenge. "I'm just so excited that the first annual event that got sold out tells me, a lot about the people in this community," said Rio Wallace.

Fresno City College, Fresno State, and a company called Bitwise Industries are all working together to not only train, but create an atmosphere where the tech community can thrive -- and they are getting a lot of support from Google.


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