I've been working in Enterprise IT environments for roughly 10 years. My move to become a DBA was new, but expected. I've worked in secure DoD databases and secure Pharmaceutical databases. One thing to note, the security aspect isn't a lot different. My goal is to marry Databases and security in a functional manner and see how we can speed these things up with minimal work.
I love user groups.
I have a special place in my heart for people who go out and give their time and knowledge away for free. I've written before about user groups. I used to think a good year of training involved a pretty specific list.
1) 12 local user group meetings (monthly visit)
2) Local SQL Saturday
3) Try to visit a few SQL Saturdays outside of your state if you can. Houston, Dallas, Kansas, New Mexico all have SQL Saturdays and are close to here. (Oklahoma, ours is August 23rd, 2014!)
4) Keep up with free training.
5) Try to present something, even a lighting talk for 15 minutes just to get up and involved.
I think I need to expand that list now. Jeremy Marx did a fantastic presentation on BIML. So far it was the best one yet. Tulsa invited me up to speak not too long ago and I have to say that it was a rather awesome experience. The people were exceedingly friendly, the venue was rather nice and it was overall just a great event.
I'd like to add to my list. I think it's worth it to make that 90 minute drive each way if the training is right. Those same presentations that you're going to a SQL Saturday for are given first in these user groups. We go to presentations that interest us or at least address a specific problem. You have the ability to ask the presenter specific questions without a very strict time limit and when you do get into a discussion after the event... you're not rushing to the next class.
I'm not saying to go to every user group meeting in a 200 mile radius... but I am saying that it's worth it to check into the ones around you. Every now and then they'll have one of those presentations worth taking a half day from work to attend.
To the Tulsa group; thank you for inviting me to such a wonderful event. I had a lot of fun.