Rock-It at Work - Start a Group

At Brazen Careerist where I work we're having a series of posts by Brazen employees with tips about how they got ahead in their careers.  My post about starting a group was just posted today.  Check it out.

Name: Andrew Shell

Age: 29

So what do you do at Brazen?

I’m one of the software engineers. I build the site.

What did you do before Brazen?

I worked for PBworks (formerly PBwiki).

Tell us something unique about you.

Just one thing? Hehe. The only two times I’ve been to L.A. have been related to Pee-Wee Herman. The first time was to see E.G. Daily’s (Dottie in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure) one-woman autobiographical musical “Listen Closely” and the second time was to see the Pee-Wee Herman Show. Plus I share the same birthday (Aug. 27) with Paul Reubens (AKA Pee-Wee Herman).

What is one thing that has helped you advance in your career?

Starting a group. We all know it is good to network. Well it’s even better to lead a group because then you are automatically viewed as an expert. When I first started out doing PHP development I discovered that not only was there no PHP group in Madison, but a whole bunch of developers wanted one. So I started the group on Meetup and had over 20 people show up at the first meetup.

At the beginning the group was mostly novices, so I presented on a variety of advanced topics, which forced me to learn the material inside and out. So even though I wasn’t an expert when I started the group it didn’t take very long before I was. The other benefit is if the group is directly about or related to your industry you’ll start getting contacted by anyone who wants to hire someone related to your group. I got first crack at all the PHP jobs happening in Madison and if I wasn’t interested I could hook up my friends. Almost every one of my jobs I’ve gotten directly because I was the organizer of the Madison PHP Group.