From listening to some of the podcasts that I had mentioned in an earlier article, I heard about Meetups, or User Groups. Basically a user group is a meeting of developers to learn by presentations or hack nights about new ideas, technologies, and tools. Not to long ago, the Meetup.com site came about and most user groups switched to using it to moderate their members. This led to the double usage of the name that is often seen.
When I heard about Meetups, I figured that I would Google to see if there were any in my area. To my surprise, there were several that were. I took a look through the ones that were meeting and decided to go to a .Net meetup, as it was the next that was meeting.
I found that Meetups are a great way to connect with other developers who are at different stages of learning. Additionally, it is a great way to learn if you get stuck as there may be others that have had similar experiences as you. As one of the Meetups that I am a part of likes to say, “Great user groups are great support groups.”
Meetups can have be on a specific topic or language, but due to the state of technology in this day and age, most of these meetups will cover more than just their specific area of technology. This makes it advantageous to take part in a meetup that may not exactly fit the technology that you are studying.
Lastly, it is a great to “talk tech” with others. It is nice to have people that can understand and communicate with you about the things that you are learning.
Here are the meetups that have been invaluable in my learning process so far: