Slack is one of the fastest growing companies this year, and startup founders are going crazy over it. It offers persistent chat rooms organized by topic, as well as direct messaging. They also support the integration of other trendy, including Trello, GoogleDrive, DropBox, and GitHub. There are some 500,000 active users daily and 135,000 paid accounts. For some, Slack seems nothing more than a fancy glorified chat room. For others, the site’s simplicity is what makes it great. Whether you love it or are indifferent, the result is the same: a lot of creators and professionals are now on it.
With all of this press and attention, all kinds of diverse communities are now popping up on Slack. It’s not just used by start-ups to send internal messages. It is something much larger; it has become a worldwide platform. Some groups boast members in the thousands. People come together to share insight, solve problems and hang around the water cooler. Of course, like with any chat system, it’s not always easy to maneuver. There is an endless barrage of bad groups, or those that quickly shut down.
In order to find the best Slack community for you, the first step is to decide what exactly you want. Slack is saturated with specialized groups devoted to specific coding languages or projects. It may take a few tries to find your perfect glass slipper of Slack communities. Luckily, there are plenty to choose from. Here are some to get started.
Data Science Community: A mix of news, networking and information. They have channels dedicated to machine learning, Python and R. Though less than 150 accounts seem to be active across the channels, this is one of the few all-around data groups that has really developed. Rather than being overly business-obsessed, this group is very discussion-oriented. It also boasts a Jeopardy channel, because sometimes data scientists just need to play Jeopardy.
IoT Geeks: This group is for everything internet of things—including data and analytics. While the data channel is on the small side, folks working at the crossroads of IoT and data can glean useful insights from their Arduino, Kickstarter and numerous other channels.
memsql-public: There may not be 20 different channels, but if you have questions, someone here has the answer. Memsql is a distributed database from the NewSQL movement. For any RDBMS user, there are bound to be occasional problems and having a community to turn to is a great asset. From vague, overall questions to specific issues, a second set of eyes could be the answer to your database problems. You can also pay it forward and help other users in need.
Open Data Community: This group grew to 250 members within 48 hours. With a job channel as well as a popular “show and tell” channel, there is a good sense of community. Big and Open data are not synonymous, though they often overlap. Open Data concerns making certain data open for usage, free from copyright or patents. Open data is often discussed in conjunction with government and the sciences. Not to mention, this group is recognized as one of the bigger communities on Slack.
Python Developers and Python Community: Both of these groups have almost 500 members and diverse channels. If you’re serious about Python, check out one or both of these for supplemental help. Python is one of the most common languages in data science—the other being R. Python is known for its easy-to-learn syntax, but that doesn’t mean you should go it alone. Whether you’ve just picked up Python or already know what you’re doing, this is a good community for sharing questions, answers, insights or resources.
SAAS: This is a group specifically for SAAS founders and specialists. For those working in the SAAS field, it is always good to get input from people who know what you’re going through. Note that this group is for those who are serious about their work, and includes users from ChartMogul, Brand24, and other known start-ups.
#Startup: This is one of the biggest groups on Slack. It’s nearly impossible to not come across their name at some point. This group covers anything from startup methodology to legalities. They do charge a refundable one-time entrance fee of $29 in order to ensure quality users and avoid spammy posts. It seems to be working well, as #startup is known as the Slack for the startup community. Wherever you are in the process, this is the place to be.
Your Local Data Community: Though Slack offers the chance to connect all over the world, some of the best groups are, in fact, local. Given the TLC that is needed to get a Slack community off the ground, this makes a lot of sense. Some worldwide communities boast a huge number of users and posts, but smaller groups tend to be more productive, personal and even prolific.
Tech London is one of the bigger groups on Slack, and includes SaaS, tech and startup-specific channels. Datameet is a rather lively group focused on parts of India. Even smaller cities with active data communities might have Slack groups. If you’re not sure where to find them, start at meetup.com. Several large meetup groups post links to their very own Slack group.
Can’t find the group you’re looking for? Don’t fret. Slack is still relatively new and new communities are born everyday. Keep on looking, or start your own. Who doesn’t want to be a slack group founder?
Know of more awesome data communities out there on Slack? Do your fellow data scientists, engineers and enthusiasts a favor: let us know!
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image source: Slack