We’re lucky that in Perth that we have a very strong local web development scene. In fact, Western Australia is the birthplace of the Australian Web Industry Association (AWIA), a professional organisation to support and raise the profile of people who make web sites.
AWIA grew out of monthly web developer get-togethers at a local pub, started by Miles Burke in 2002. While Dave and I weren’t at the very first of these so-called “Port80” casual networking events, we were at nearly every subsequent event for the next few years. It was at these events, over a few beers and shared plates of wedges, that the idea of formalising all the great ideas being discussed was born. The result? AWIA.
The benefits of belonging to a professional organisation are many. Our membership demonstrates our belief in best practise and professional development. It also allows the sharing of technical and business information that will benefit everyone. We’re friends with many of our competitors – but we tend to view them as colleagues rather than competitors.
I was part of the AWIA committee from 2005 until 2009 including participating in the organising WA Web Awards (later the Australian Web Awards) and the Edge of the Web conferences in 2008 and 2009. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun too!
Although I’m no longer active on the organising side of things, Dave and I are still involved with AWIA, and the Port80 networking meetings on the first Wednesday of every month are still a must-attend event. We try to always make time to catch up with colleagues and share our “from the trenches” stories over a beer or two and some free pizza.