One thing I’d really like to pick up on is about in-person events, the user group meetings themselves. These are great places to interact with people who are also software developers. There is a lot of good information that goes back and forward from general banter about the writing software and technologies to full scale discussions on design and architecture. The wealth of information is priceless. It is perfectly possible that you may be starting a project that is very similar to one someone else has just completed – they can give you pointers on what worked for them and what didn’t so you can learn from their experience too.