4 reasons why you should attend User Group meetings
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Whether it's increasing productivity, improving collaboration, managing massive amounts of information, or improving operations and cost, there's one key to success - Knowledge. User groups help to provide this knowledge. As an attendee, you will have the opportunity to learn from industry leaders and technical experts, as well as hear and provide feedback on the roadmap for the future.
Upcoming events for 2015:
MWLUG - Atlanta, GA - August 19 - 21 (limited spots left)
ICONUK - London, England - September 21 - 22
Social Connections - Stuttgart, Germany - November 5 - 6
Reasons to attend:
1 - Networking:
Developing a network of peers working in the same technology area is vital. Discussing your current project and bouncing ideas off of people who might have a different viewpoint can give you a fresh perspective, and encouragement to keep going when you hit a roadblock. In addition, there are long term benefits, too. As many as 60% of tech jobs aren't advertised formally. It's likely that your perfect job opportunity will come via your network. A recommendation from a peer carries a lot more weight than passing your resumé across someone's desk. Then there's the social aspect: exposure to other cultures, discussions about other markets and economies, forging friendships over cocktails, bonding over your favourite song during Karaoke. There's no end to the possibilities!
2 - Learning opportunities:
Solving business problems through shared experiences - If you're facing a problem, chances are that someone in the community has already faced and solved that very problem, and can help you with advice or guidance. If you're looking for a better way to do something, hearing how others implement solutions can help you think outside of the box. Speakers at user groups are generally considered experts in their field, and therefore have a wealth of knowledge, and are always willing to share. Attending sessions gives you the opportunity to ask questions, and perhaps even stick around after the session for a more in-depth discussion with the expert. Customer presentations are the heart of user groups. Explore new solutions, hear frontline stories, get valuable ideas to optimize your productivity.
3 - Sharing knowledge:
I consider this one to be paying it forward. We all owe someone something. Whether it's the person who recommended you for a job, or someone who helped you out of a sticky situation. We don't always get to pay that person back, but what we can do is pay it forward by helping someone else. An added benefit of sharing your knowledge is that it raises your own profile, within the community, and within your company, and these contributions are considered when choosing our IBM Champions.
4 - IBM Champions:
User group meetings are run by, and heavily attended by IBM Champions. These are the people who go above and beyond their daily work to advocate for solutions and share their knowledge. IBM recognizes them as Champions because they help drive our business and show the world how to implement our solutions in real life scenarios. They meet challenges head-on, create solutions, share their knowledge to enable others' success, and provide valuable feedback to IBM to influence future direction and improvements. Spending some time with an IBM Champion is never time wasted.