Top 5 Reasons to Participate in Technology User Groups

March 22, 2021 | 0 minute read
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NOTE: This article was written by Graham McInnes

Technology user groups are a great way to connect with communities of users who share common interests and challenges. User groups function as forums to actively share knowledge and experience, learn about new trends and technologies, hear from solution providers and create special interest workgroups.

With every technology, it takes an effort to stay on top. Complacency won’t power a long-term prosperous career. User groups provide a great way to help you become recognized as a rising star in your field and among peers whose opinions really matter. Below are the top 5 reasons why you should participate in a user group related to your technology.

#1 - Give Yourself a Technical Edge
Peer-to-peer training and discussion groups offered by user groups are an effective way to learn and enhance your technology skills. Peer training isn’t driven by overt promotional or marketing influences. Therefore, the content is typically straightforward examples of how other users handle critical issues and get the most out of a particular solution. Most user groups offer web-based services for discussion, webinars, training and contacting other members. This makes engagement easy and very cost-effective.

In addition, most user groups will offer multiple in-person meetings both at national and regional events.

“Ultimately, engaging in user groups allows you to gain greater value from the technology, learn from others, and improve your skills.” 
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#2 - Build Connections with Your Peers
By far the biggest benefit of participating in a user group that covers your particular technology is the ability to interact with your industry peers. After all, user groups are comprised of people in your same area of expertise.

Take advantage of the rare opportunity to interact with people who share the same idiosyncratic challenges, hassles, and knowledge that comes from working in your area of specialization. As a bonus, you’ll collaborate with people at various stages of their careers, giving you a chance to learn from some colleagues, while mentoring others earlier in their careers.

An unstated reality in the modern work environment is that everyone is on the lookout for what may be the next big opportunity. User groups are comprised of people who want to network, expand their knowledge and ultimately become leaders in their industry. Therefore, they are a perfect place to identify your next role.  Make a special effort to reach out, exchange information, share stories and answer questions. The investment of your time and effort to interact will pay off in more ways than you may think!

#3 - Gain New Knowledge
User groups typically offer constant opportunities to learn something new. This may be 3rd party vendors brought in to cover certain technology questions, round table discussions for specific areas of concern, or members presenting specific learnings and stories to help others. These are opportunities to discover new things and recognize emerging trends before others can see them. 

User groups are also a great resource for crowdsourcing answers to challenges you may face. Many user groups have workspaces where members can pose questions and get feedback. Use this resource. Many times what you might consider a very difficult issue has already been solved by others.

#4 - See the Bigger Picture
Employees who work with the same product day after day end up operating in silos of knowledge that are limited to that particular solution area. User groups are a powerful way to break out of this dreaded silo and explore what is changing across industries and technologies.

What trends could impact your business?

How have other organizations addressed similar challenges?

These are all topics that can be addressed in your user group. Gaining an understanding of this larger picture provides you with the opportunity to not only become a more valuable employee, but impress the boss as well

#5 - Make an Impression on Your Boss
Demonstrating that you actively seek to network, expand your knowledge and improve your value to the organization will most likely be noticed by your boss. Having your finger on the pulse of the technology, knowing the significant players from other companies and understanding how you can make a larger long term impact will impress your boss. This might be the most important benefit of all.  

Speaking of Impact

Want another way to make an impact? Work with Oracle Customer Success Business Advisory Services who are at the ready help you look beyond the technology to create the agile processes and change-ready culture needed to thrive with the innovation opportunities the cloud brings. Learn more today! 

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