Participating in your local PowerShell User Group

Local user groups are a great way to share ideas and gain knowledge from people just like you.
Participating in your local PowerShell User Group


For the past year, I’ve been regularly attending monthly meetings at my local PowerShell user group in Raleigh. Recently, I had the chance to attend a SQL users group in the area where they discussed a topic specific to PowerShell. I thought I’d share my experiences and encourage you to get involved in local user groups.

  • So what the heck is a user group?
  • What happens at these meetings?
  • What’s their purpose?

What the heck is a user group?

User groups are created by a few folks who want to bring together like-minded people to chat and share ideas about a specific topic. The user groups I’ve attended are laid back and include a mixture of people with varying backgrounds and abilities. Platforms like Meetup and social media sites like Twitter and Facebook host user groups. You can find user groups for virtually any topic imaginable. The majority of groups meet monthly, while others, such as fitness clubs, meet weekly or multiple times each month.

Meetups in RTP area

As you can see above, the user groups in my area are very diverse and there is something for everyone.

What happens at these meetings?

Each user group runs their get-togethers differently: there is no “correct” format or right way but most follow some kind of “meeting” format. The usual practice for groups is to decide on a topic for their get-togethers and either have discussions about it or bring in a speaker to present on the topic. Instead of simply presenting a topic, user groups’ meetings encourage audience participation through questions and suggestions.

What is the purpose?

The obvious answer here is that people who love something feel inclined to share their knowledge or take part with other like-minded people. Here’s where I am going to get very specific about my experiences. What I didn’t expect to find though, was a community. For example, one group I attended started their meetings with simple questions:

  • Is there anyone who is looking for a new role or job?
  • Does anyone have any openings in their company they’re looking to fill?
  • Does anyone have a challenge at work they need help to solve?

Take a moment to consider that. Taking care of its members was a priority for this group. It wasn’t merely a superficial presentation followed by an exit. They enjoyed food, engaged in casual conversations, exchanged contact information, and shared tips. In the long run, attending these meetings can be very helpful. This brings me to a crucial subject…

The hardest part is starting

The most difficult aspect of joining a user group is attending for the first time. Some people mistakenly think there are pre-requisites, but there aren’t any. Joining a user group can feel challenging because of the fears we create in our own minds. People frequently assume they will be judged and face challenges fitting in. Honestly, that’s far from the truth. If you can push past your initial apprehension, you’ll discover that user groups are eager to include you.

Based on my personal experience, I’ve observed that most user groups permit me to attend and only say hello at the conclusion of the meeting. They let me ease into it before they approached me. But what I discovered was a group of people who were really welcoming and easy to talk to and exchange ideas with. Now, I go all the time and I help my local group set up meetings and come up with discussion topics. The best part is definitely sharing ideas. I usually leave with a notepad of ideas to research and tips that I can use right away.

I want to emphasize that these groups are open to everyone, not just experts. In truth, anyone can join these groups, and most of them aim for a blend of individuals and talents to maintain a stimulating and engaging environment.


Attending local user groups in my area has been an amazing experience. I’ve got a significant amount of knowledge and, what’s even more important, developed many local connections in my industry. The conversations we’ve had have inspired me to keep learning and pass on my knowledge. I hope my experience inspires you to find a user group in your area and learn more about them. If you can push through your initial fears, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.