Whether seeking solutions to pressing problems, networking with like-minded professionals or researching products, professionals across nearly all industries benefit from participating in communities every day, and it’s no different for federal IT professionals.


Actively engaging in online IT communities can make all the difference by enabling connections with other federal IT pros who are encountering similar issues, providing educational content, offering insights from experts and providing a channel to share valuable feedback.


Peer-to-Peer Collaboration


Online IT communities offer diverse feedback on creative ideas, and productive discussions for problem-solving. You may find your “unique” problem is actually more common than originally thought.


For example, GovLoop features educational blogs, forums about everything from career to citizen engagement, training both online and in person, and group spaces to engage with content around topics such as technology, levels of government and occupations.


Another popular community is Reddit which often generates reams of answers from users who have experienced similar problems or are able to recommend resources to fix the issue. Reddit also features up-voting and down-voting on replies, making it easy to identify trusted answers from top-ranked users.


This sort of organic, peer-to-peer collaboration can help you solve problems quickly and with the confidence of having your answers come from trusted sources—professionals just like you from a wide variety of backgrounds and with vast ranges of expertise.


Direct Line to Vendors


Online communities can also connect you with the vendors whose products you rely on to get your job done. As you become more involved, you might transition from solely an information-seeker to an information-provider.


For example, the highly engaged end users that participate in SolarWinds’ more than 130,000 member strong IT community, THWACK, have influenced product directions and even go-to-market strategy based on their direct feedback and general discussion of industry trends and the company’s products. THWACK also features a Federal and Government space, which caters specifically to challenges that are unique to federal IT pros.


Career Development


Online IT communities also enable education that lends itself to career development. For example, many consider the SpiceWorks How-to forum a reliable place to develop IT skills and learn about the industry. Forums such as this and those found on thwack provide a venue for community members to learn best practices, get access to advice from experts in various fields and research developing trends that could impact your career in an environment where you have the option to ask questions and engage in conversations.


The Power of the Masses at Your Finger Tips


In summary, the access to a wide audience of peers that online IT communities provide can be invaluable to you as a federal IT pro. Membership and active participation within such communities can provide quick answers to problems, foster collaboration to ensure vendors are creating products that meet your needs and create new opportunities for your career development.


Find the full article on our partner DLT’s blog, TechnicallySpeaking.