In decades past, local users' groups and developers' groups fulfilled the role that Web forums, mailing lists, and other Internet systems do today. With the Internet, many users' and developers' groups died out. However, some are still alive and kicking.
This year, I became active in my local developers' group, and I have found it to be quite rewarding. If you're really interested in programming, I suggest that you check out your local developers' group if you haven't already; it is a great way to learn new things, particularly about local job market trends.
J.JaDisclosure of Justin's industry affiliations: Justin James has a working arrangement with Microsoft to write an article for MSDN Magazine. He also has a contract with Spiceworks to write product buying guides.
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Justin James is the Lead Architect for Conigent.