Summary: Today is International Windows PowerShell User Group Day. Find a user group near you and join in the festivities.

Microsoft Scripting Guy, Ed Wilson, is here. The day has finally arrived—at least one of the days. Today is International PowerShell User Group Day. Today every Windows PowerShell user group in the world will attempt to host meetings at similar times. We will be conducting three remote sessions at three different times. Because of bandwidth constraints, you will need to attend a Windows PowerShell user group meeting near you to see the show. Don Jones and I will be speaking, and it will be great. I will be making one of my broadcasts from the Charlotte Windows PowerShell User Group meeting. We anticipate that it will be a great event.

So how do you find a user group in your area? Well, you can use the map of the United States on the Community page of the TechNet Script Center and simply click a location. That will take you to a page that details the meeting times and contact information for the user group. An image of the map is shown here.

Image of map

If you are not in the United States, you can use the PowerShell User Groups Worldwide map on the PowerShell Community Groups site to find a Windows PowerShell user group near you.

What if you find that there are no Windows PowerShell user groups in your area? You can start one, of course. In fact, someone started all of the Windows PowerShell user groups—it might as well be you. Over the past year, the Scripting Wife and I have worked with several people to launch new Windows PowerShell user groups in their area. In fact, the Scripting Wife worked really closely with Microsoft PowerShell MVP, Jim Christopher, to start the Windows PowerShell user group in Charlotte, North Carolina.

I describe the visit to the Corpus Christi Windows PowerShell user group meeting in A Visit to a PowerShell User Group by the Scripting Guys blog post. I was really fortunate because I happened to be in Corpus Christi, Texas at the time Marc Adam Carter was planning his first Windows PowerShell user group meeting; therefore, I got to speak at their first meeting.

So what is a Windows PowerShell user group? Well for one thing, it is a great way to meet people who share an interest in Windows PowerShell. You will quickly find that people in the Windows PowerShell community are very giving, receptive, and willing to help other people learn this engaging and useful technology.

Each Windows PowerShell user group is as different as the individuals who make up the group, but at the Charlotte Windows PowerShell user group, we have two formats. On one month, we have a set agenda with a formal presentation on a specific topic. During the first meeting, I spoke about creating and using Windows PowerShell modules. On alternate months, we have a “script club” type of meeting where we divide the group into clusters of people who have a common interest in a specific script. For example, at one table, there were people who had a specific problem and everyone at the table pitched in to help fix the script. At another table, one person showed cool scripts that he had written. He also entertained suggestions for improvement to the script. At the end of the day, everyone walked away with a feeling of accomplishment.

There are other reasons for joining a Windows PowerShell user group besides the direct learning activities. For example, it is a great way to increase your professional network. I have numerous stories of IT Pros who have obtained jobs due to someone they met at a user group meeting. In addition, these meetings are a great way to find professional mentors, or to find someone with whom you can assist in their professional career. So basically, there is a lot of give and take that goes on with these meetings.

If you decide that you would like to start a Windows PowerShell user group, you should read Practical Tips for Starting a PowerShell User Group and Mark Schill Discusses PowerShell User Groups. Mark is the founder and president of the Atlanta PowerShell User Group. When you get your group established, send me email at scripter@microsoft.com so that we can arrange a time for me to talk to your group in person or via Live Meeting. Oh yeah, you will also want to make sure you contact Mark Schill so he can update the PowerShell Community Groups site. A listing on that site is a great way to ensure that people can find you.

Join me tomorrow for more Windows PowerShell coolness.

I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Facebook. If you have any questions, send email to me at scripter@microsoft.com, or post your questions on the Official Scripting Guys Forum. See you tomorrow. Until then, peace.

Ed Wilson, Microsoft Scripting Guy