It's been quite exciting over the last twelve months to see a number of new .NET user
groups spring up in the UK. I've got a high regard for user groups in general - they
often provide support (of both social and technical varieties), excellent technical
information and a better sense of community than I think we'd ever be able to offer
ourselves. Meeting up with other local developers can be helpful as a way to build
up contacts in the industry too, particularly for freelancers and contractors, and
you can learn a lot from hearing others' war stories of how they dealt with development
challenges. On a personal level, I've reason to be grateful to a couple of user groups
for giving me some of my first big breaks before I joined Microsoft.
Unfortunately it's quite difficult to find a list of local developer user groups on
the Microsoft web site; I'm trying to get that fixed, but in the meantime, here's
a list of groups that I'm aware of. Please drop
me a line if you're a member or co-ordinator of a relevant UK-based group that's
not on the list, and I'll update it.
VBUG. Focuses on Visual Basic and .NET development,
with over 1200 members and 10 regional chapters. Nationwide.
DDG. General focus on professional .NET development,
with a regular magazine and meetings in Reading and London. South East.
London .NET User Group. Regular meetings at
Microsoft's London offices, covering practical .NET development. London.
Scottish Developers. Fairly new,
but rapidly growing. Regular meetings covering .NET and agile development. Scotland.
UK SQL Server Group. Covering all aspects
of database development and administration. Nationwide.
.NET Exchange. Run by the
VBUG team, language-agnostic with a focus on current and future technology. South
York .NET User Group. Volunteer-led group
- don't know much about them at the moment. North.