If you're looking for an easy, fun, and intellectually challenging way to succeed as a developer - look no further than your local user's group.

Here's My Easy Success Story:

  • Started going somewhat religiously, 11 years ago.
  • Attended hundreds of cutting edge technology presentations.
  • Started and led a few smaller special interest groups.
  • Made a few presentations myself over the years.
  • Served in various leadership roles at request of others.

As a result of the above, I've stayed gainfully employed even through 2 tough recessions, made tremendously beneficial contacts that will always keep me working as long as I am physically and mentally able.

If you knew me personally, you wouldn't attribute any success to my social skills. This is a case of just showing up, being a nerd, and stumbling through good fortune.

Don McGreal from last night's meeting:

 

Example: SOLID Presentation

Last night we had a presentation on SOLID, by one of the

industry's training leaders from Improving Enterprises. I'll skip the summary of SOLID here, except to say that your skill sets are at peril if you don't incorporate the underlying ideas somewhere, even if you call them something else. 

Don McGreal did a great job - as would be expected.

This talk reinforced stuff about decoupling and cohesion that I've been learning over the years from many different approaches, and it was nice to get it all in one nice package that I could also refer my customers to, when relevant.

Recruiters:

Don't think you're valuable as a developer? Wrong.

Recruiters flock to our meeting, buying us pizza and showering us with gifts month after month. Our meetings cost about $500 in pizza and related expenses (plane tickets for speakers) and we've only paid for about 4 meetings in 10 years out of our own funds.

Sponsors such as the recruiters above, from last night's meeting, have paid for the rest :) Not a bad deal. Most of the time, we are lined up with sponsors for 6 months in advance.

Make Your Own Success Story Here:

I'm not going to summarize 10 great years in one silly blog.

But that's the point. This is your story too. Make it a colorful one! Participate in your local user's group, you'll enjoy it, and your income and opportunities will probably improve over the years as well, perhaps dramatically.


Last night was an especially bittersweet meeting for me, as I'm moving to a different city next week. After 10 years in the community that forms around such a group, I'm leaving behind many great friends.