So its been too long since I've posted. Something in the back of my mind is my observations of my collegues in the IT and IT Security realm. What has long disappointed me was how many never bothered to keep learning and being involved in the larger "community". Other then taking some training courses, many didn't bother to keep up with what is going on in the industry- didn't read journals (either print or on-line), didn't get engaged with local groups or events or the like.
For me, I joined USENIX and SAGE when I got involved as an IT admin. When I got involved in IT Security, I joined ISSA and got involved in the South Florida ISSA chapter. I was briefly involved with ISACA (and thought about getting back involved). I know about other groups (we have a chapter of ISC(2) getting formed) and have looked at others to see if they were worth joining.
I tried to get involved with local events tied with those groups (my chapter runs a security conference every 2 years, and has an annual "hack the flag" event), as well as others. Last year in December we had the ITPalooza event, which will happen again this year.
So my advise to you is if you want to succeed in your IT career: GET INVOLVED. Depending on what your interest or focus is, see if there are groups that are appropriate for that, and join them. Especially get involved with local chapters of these groups. Maybe think about becoming an officer. If you are the type, consider making a presentation, even its at a local event.
So, if you've had experience getting involved, comment about what you've done and what you've gotten out of it.