Folks from Virginia Beach want you to know that yes, there are several military bases in the area, but no, that's not the only thing going on. For one, it's an outdoor lover's paradise. Not only does Virginia Beach feature 4,000 acres of parks, it boasts 35 miles of "pleasure beach." But another thing Virginia Beach is gaining a reputation for is its emerging tech scene, particularly for IT freelancers and small-business owners.
Bret Fisher has lived and worked in Virginia Beach for the last six years as a freelance developer and systems administrator, and says there is an active community of tech freelancers in the area.
"We have a lot of tech companies here and we're starting to get noticed," says Fisher. "It's a destination to live if you are going to be a freelancer, because why not live near the beach if you're going to be home all day?"
Fisher says one way the freelance community connects is through an active network of Meetups.
"I go to one called the Late Night Coders, because software developers tend to work nights when we get away from kids and family and have uninterrupted time," says Fisher.
Virginia Beach has close ties with neighboring Norfolk, and Fisher says those in tech tend to work and congregate in both cities. Norfolk serves as the region's "downtown," where a lot of networking events happen, many at Hatch.
"Hatch is a gym for entrepreneurs," says Zack Miller, founder of Hatch. "Instead of free weights or treadmills, we have tools and resources for businesses and entrepreneurs of any size. We also host probably a couple hundred Meetups a year. Some of them are ours, and some of them are just other Meetups in the area, like Norfolk.js or Code for Hampton Roads."
Miller says the lifestyle the Virginia Beach / Norfolk area is a big part of the appeal for him.
"You are only minutes to hours away from any amenity that you would ever want," says Miller. "So whether that's the beach, amusement park, bike trails, mountains, a downtown feel, you have all those things basically close to you.
Want more Virginia Beach tech resources? Check out Tech.Co Virginia Beach for the latest news, events, and job postings. Another great gathering for the tech community is RevolutionConf.