When the Meetup scene blew up, it was the popular thing to join as many as possible. Now that it’s calmed, some people belong to a small group of meetups that are important to them, or utilize the resource when trying to meet new people or find a new job.
Maybe you are already a member of your local Amazon Web Services (AWS) User Group — if you are, I commend you for getting out there and getting to know fellow AWS enthusiasts. However, many people don’t know AWS User Groups exist, or why they can be a great tool! Here are whos, whats, wheres, and hows of AWS User Groups.
What is an AWS User Group?
AWS User Group (n): A geographically based group that gets together to learn, share and discuss AWS at regular meetups; usually with pizza…lots of pizza.
AWS User groups are localized, casual get togethers that are centered around discussing the AWS Cloud, its services, and stories of how people are implementing cloud in their environments. They usually occur in the evening after work hours, at co-working spaces, pubs, AWS Offices, or tech companies. The user groups are not typically organized by AWS employees and don’t follow any regulated guidelines as a result. One thing you are likely to find consistently in North America however is…Pizza. Lots and lots of pizza. Most meetups are two hours long and meet on a monthly or semi-monthly basis. They usually begin with networking and pizza, followed by an introduction by the host company. Some smaller groups will go around the room and get everyone to briefly introduce themselves. After that, a featured presenter (or two) will share their story with the group. Sometimes, they consists of a live demo. (Only the bravest of the brave do live demos!). Presentations are usually 45-60 minutes in length and are followed by Q&A and group discussions.
Who should Join an AWS User Group?
- Anyone interested in the AWS Cloud!
- Beginners – Students and hobbyists looking for more information or connections in the space
- Intermediate Users – Tech Startups or those familiar with S3 buckets and EC2 instances, but maybe need a little more help understanding nuances in AWS
- Experienced Users – those who are using AWS at work, writing code etc. and want to hear how others are using it.
- Advanced and Expert Users – those who are using multiple AWS workloads daily and have a clear understanding of many AWS services and applications.
- Job Seekers of all kinds. This is a great place to network!
The meetup groups welcome anyone and everyone who is interested in AWS.
What’s the value in joining?
Beginners benefit from the variety of topics presented and networking opportunities. Experienced users are often the only person at their workplace who knows about AWS and the group offers a place to meet like minded friends and discuss subjects in more depth. Experienced users are invaluable to the group as they offer insight and inspiration to the other members.
Perhaps the biggest value to all levels of users, is keeping up with current innovations from AWS. There is an incredible amount of knowledge to share and AWS is innovating at such a rapid pace that traditional educational institutions cannot keep up with curriculum. What is new today, is old tomorrow! There are companies that offer study groups and paid courses for AWS Certifications, but if you want new, cutting edge information and real life use-cases about how AWS is being implemented in environments local to your area, attending an AWS User Group is by far the best way to keep current. Employers often encourage their staff to attend and even present whenever possible.
Overall, value comes from all the members! Often the meetup description for the month will indicate if the presentation is geared towards all levels, beginners or more advanced users, and the insights shared are made possible by those who attend.
Where can I find an AWS User Group near me?
- Look here first for your city! https://insights.onica.com/reinvent-meetup
- Check this AWS site that tracks all registered user groups in the world. https://aws.amazon.com/developer/community/usergroups/
- Go to www.meetup.com register for an account if you don’t already have one and search for “Amazon Web Services” or “AWS” with your city name.