Hands down, I believe one of the best ways of keeping up to date with technology and keeping connected with your peers is through community. In Toronto, we have a very vibrant community of talented individuals and developer “rock stars”. I’m often asked by local companies where is the best place to find candidates for programming and consulting jobs – my answer is always the same: user group meetings and community events (like BarCamps and DemoCamps). If you are looking for work as a programmer, this is an ideal environment for networking and making connections. Most of my friendships have developed as a result of my participation at these kinds of events.
Here is some of personal links and resources that I would like to share with you to stay connected to the community – it helps me keep track of everything that is going on around town and around the country. Hopefully, it can help you too!
Toronto User Group Community Blog: http://geekswithblogs.net/torontoug/
This is a great hub of information for upcoming developer user group events in Toronto. Subscribe via IE7 or your favorite RSS reader.
MSDN Canada User Group Page: http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-ca/community/aa974219.aspx
No matter where you are in Canada, this is a good place to find out what .NET user groups are available in your area. Follow the links to find out more information about each group. There are many groups focused on specific products such as BizTalk and SharePoint.
From the website: a BarCamp is “an ad-hoc gathering born from the desire for people to share and learn in an open environment. It is an intense event with discussions, demos, and interaction from participants.” From my pesonal experience, BarCamps are great events to attend if you want to connect with people focused on the latest web technologies and starting up companies. There is much more to it than that of course – a lot of topics are non-technical.
A DemoCamp is “a lighter-weight style of un-conference. There are 5 presentations (slots) that are available on a first come, first serve basis. Demos should have roughly a 2 minute introduction, 8 minute demonstration, and 5 minutes for questions. 15 minutes total.” These kinds of events are a great opportunity for you to share a cool application you’ve built.
If there are any links that should be added to this page, let me know and I would be glad to update it.