Connect to the Community
Are you connected to Groups.Drupal.org yet? (Affectionately called g.d.o in the community.)
Did you know on there are 317 geographical Drupal groups? (That's not including language groups.) Of those, 205 are city, regional or provincial groups: possibly a drive away for a meet up. That leaves 112 which are at the level of countries or continents which are capable of coordinating large Drupal events. I counted em!
And it's growing. Hello Ghana! Just added in July.
Going to my first meet up in Galway was a great event for me. Stéphan Corlosquet, (scor) greeted me like an old friend, though it was the first time we met. I felt like I arrived at a party, and they'd been waiting for me the whole time. I had been using Drupal for a couple of years before "all by my elf", and didn't know anyone even who did web development in my area, in the northwest of Ireland. Next thing I knew, I was planning a DrupalCamp in Dublin with Stella Power, and buying my ticket to go to DrupalCon in Szeged... and that is where I met the Acquia peeps. *wipes little tear of nostalgia*
When Dries asked at San Francisco DrupalCon: "Did Drupal change your life?" I stood up. And it really started by meeting the people in my region at g.d.o/ireland
Learning is social
Learning is primarily social. The best way to learn is to connect with others, and ideally to find experienced developers who can mentor you in best practices. There are monthly Drupal meet ups in many areas, and they are social events. The Drupal Camps, sometimes once or twice a year, will give you front rowseats to see the latest Drupal innovations. And the mother of them all: DrupalCons are the most awesome. I am really excited about DrupalCon, it's a great chance to make great connections. I guarantee you will find opportunities and create them there.
Though, sometimes it can be a struggle for a novice with these kinds of events. We've tried to crack the code for new Drupal users in our DrupalCamps in Ireland, but fact is, the would-be mentors are also there to learn the bleeding-edge stuff too.
When you have a little less time and a little more budget, professional training can zoom you ahead faster. It also provides a good trade for the training providers. At Acquia, we're providing Drupal training to enable and support subject matter experts to deliver quality learning experiences.
Keep in mind though, using Drupal (or any changing system) is an ongoing learning experience, it can help to connect to the community.
Connect to the community
So if you haven't yet, try to see if there is a local group near you. It could be to find others to whom you can hire yourself, people to collaborate with, and people to hire you.
The Drupal community has a great number of local Drupal groups, and even online groups.
- Review the listing of Geographical Drupal groups- check it out, there might be one near you.
- Curriculum & Training group - Connect with Drupal instructors and trainers. There is also a listing of Training events there.
And don't miss the virtual Drupal Dojo, where you can sit and listen to some excellent talent in the community. On Groups.Drupal.org: Join Drupal Dojo - Grab a cup of tea and watch some of the archived sessions.
Tonight, August 3 - Node access (using core and contrib) lead by Fox (hefox) that should be a good one! Node access is always tripping people up.
Also: I'm tweeting now on Learning Drupal at twitter.com/learningdrupal