In the past I’ve not put much onus on visiting user groups. I once visited a .NET user group for the first time when I lived in Sussex and the experience was heavily tarnished by trying to interact with developers possessing zero social skills or even the ability to converse in basic terms. After talking to a few guys there it felt like talking to a brick wall, they seemed more interested in the free pizza than interacting with the community. After receiving one word answers time and again I quickly got bored, gained very little from the experience and was put off for years. However in the past year I decided to give it another try – I visited a few Sitecore user groups and found them much more useful. Everyone there has been approachable and friendly with few egos despite the breadth of talent that attends. You also tend to see the same faces over and over again and people you’ve worked with before. Maybe its something to do with the small community feel of Sitecore which still remains a fairly specialised skill compared with the vastness of .NET. Traditionally Sitecore documentation is one of the company’s weaker points and lags behind so it helps to see how people are using it in the wild and how they solve real world issues. Meeting the community also helps with networking, and staying up to date with the rapid pace of Sitecore.
To find your nearest User Group, Google is often your best bet, but you can also use the dedicated channel on Sitecore Slack or the Meetup.com website host regular Sitecore events.