canadamapThere are user groups all over the country where fellow geeks meet, share knowledge, network, and talk technology. Find your nearest user group and check it out!

I was speaking recently about HTML5 and pinned sites in Internet Explorer 9 to 58 developers in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was a meeting of the Fredericton Developer  User Group. They meet once a month. A typical evening involves pizza and pop, time to network with the others at the meeting and then a presentation on a topic of interest by either a group member or a guest speaker.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our own department or our own projects that we forget to take time to learn, grow and just have a little fun from time to time with other people who will get our jokes about constructors and garbage collectors. If you are fortunate, you may get to attend conferences like TechDays, DevTeach, or Prairie DevCon but not all of us can get away for a conference and even if you do those are usually just once a year.

Joining a user group gives you a chance to be part of a like minded community who deal with the same sorts of challenges you do, day in and day out. It can keep you motivated, interested, and can help you stay on top of technology. We often co-ordinate with user groups when we have new content we want to share across the country. We’ve organized a Windows Phone Mango Tour, Cloud camps, and an ITpro tour tour through local user groups, so you can trust them to know about any significant events and promotions going on in Canada that could help you.

There are two places you can look up your local user group: MSDN Canadian Community and TechNet Canada User Groups. Check both lists because some user groups are listed on one and not the other. There are even a few virtual user groups if you don’t find one physically located near you.

Find your nearest user group and go geek out!