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September 10, 2013

The Value of User Groups

I feel very fortunate to live in an area where I can attend a DB2 Regional User Group (RUG). Years ago I'd go to Midwest Database User Group meetings in Chicago. I loved learning more about DB2 and interacting with fellow group members, who by and large had been around and knew more about the database than I did then.

Eventually I started presenting before the user group. I enjoyed sharing my experiences. After that, I joined the board to help run the meetings. I learned so much and developed so many friendships by being a part of that group. It greatly enhanced my career.

If you don't live near a DB2 user group, I recommend you check out some freely available online educational resources. Then again, perhaps a regional user group (RUG) is closer than you think. IDUG maintains a list of user groups worldwide. If you're interested in starting your own group, contact IDUG's regional group liason (rugteam@idug.org). IDUG can help you organize and connect you with potential speakers from the IBM lab.

And yes, new user groups are forming. In fact a colleague of mine, Philippe Dubost, recently started a new DB2 user group to serve the Czech Republic and Slovakia. The first meeting is Oct. 8, and some great speakers from IBM and CA Technologies will be presenting. csDUG is registered with IDUG and included in the European section of the aforementioned user group list.