Saint Louis is a sweet spot to be a developer right now because there are tons of jobs.
All of these groups are friendly to attendees and speakers. We have many great recruiting firms that sponsor food and space, sometimes even flying speakers in from out of town.
Now here’s the real skinny – the user groups that I attend regularly ranked according to alcohol content:
1. STLJS – it’s above a bar. The bar has scotch. It closes at midnight, but we’re still drinking and talking about code past that. Food: sandwiches
2. Lambda Lounge – we bring beer, and go to the Hive (nearest bar) for more drinks afterward. Food: pizza
3. ALT.NET – some of us bring beer, and at least once the speaker brought vodka. Food: snacks at best
4. JUG – no beer. No bar. Only technical. But – Ted Neward in July! Food: pizza
Special kudos to ALT.NET, because Nick recruits some of the best speakers: Steve F-in Bohlen, Ken Sipe, me. It is a more intimate user group than the others, with a smaller venue and great discussions, and beer. The topics are technical and a good depth. Now if only I could get those guys to the bar afterward, it’d be perfect.