If you’re an IT professional, joining a user group may provide some unrealized benefits. User groups are where professionals with a specific skill set, meet to discuss new innovations in their respective professional field, disseminate information they’ve learned, and just generally have a good time with like-minded people. For some, it may mean going outside of the comfort zone, and meeting new people, and for others it might be a welcome challenge. Either way, joining a user group can give you a chance to meet new people, learn new skills, teach your own skills and create business relationships.
Given that user groups consist of a wide variety of professionals at different stages of their career, you can benefit from meeting people who are at the mid-to-senior stages of their career. Additionally, there might be people who work for companies that would also like to work at. Making these connections can be important, in finding your next job.
Often, the purpose of meeting up in the first place it to learn a new skill set related to your professional field. This will help you keep updated and knowledgeable in tackling the most up to date software. You’re also benefiting from the minds of the group, rather than just one person. Each person brings their own experience and expertise.
You may bring your own experience and expertise to the table. User groups provide a vehicle for you to teach others about what you know, and how to apply it to situations they might be in. Even for smaller problems, providing your own perspective, can be invaluable to others.
Above all, user groups are where you can meet like-minded people. If you are new to a city, in a new role, a user group may be a great place to meet people. Put yourself out there and see what happens. There’s something that makes people come back every week for events, and it’s probably because of the friends that they’ve made.
What are the best user groups you’ve been a part of? Are there any other benefits you’ve realized from being in a user group? We would like to hear from you. If you’re looking to move up in your career, check out our available opportunities here!