Go to a User Group

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Today we have a guest editorial as Steve is away on sabbatical.

Problem: Are you in a rut? Feeling a bit bored at work writing the same ole code?  Or perhaps you need a job and only wish you could be bored "at work"!

Solution: Go online and search for user groups in your area. Find out the time, location, plug the address into you navigator and plan to go. Write it in your calendar.

Go, go, go – don't let anything thwart your endeavor.

Results: INSPIRATION

What do you get by going to a user group?

You’ll learn something new.

You can talk to folks who understand and speak your language. Those at your user group actually understand words like indexes, web security, floats vs decimals, arrays – and find them interesting. (Unlike my husband, Bob, who says when he can’t sleep – “Rach, tell me about your day at work…” He falls asleep within 3 minutes!)

And the best outcome: inspiration.

Sometimes I’ll go to a .NET user group just to learn about something I know less about. I can write ASP.NET code, but am definitely a SQL developer. But you’ll be amazed how inspiring it is to learn about a new idea or an old idea from a new perspective.

Of course, my favorite use groups are the “maker” ones. Using Arduino’s and Netduino’s to create new stuff. Robotics – now that’s an inspiring topic!

NETWORKING

Another advantage to user groups is networking. We hear this all the time, but it is really true. Networking is important to your career! My first job came through knowing someone who knew someone at my user group.

MENTORING

Mentoring is a great aspect to user groups and really useful for personal development as well as networking. I was assigned a wonderful mentor by the leader of my group. My mentor, Cris, is still on my resume, and a good friend to meet up with at code camps and SQL Saturdays.

FOOD AND BEER

Go to have fun, eat pizza and drink beer!

The next day at work I guarantee you will feel lighter and brighter!

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