Every year, I speak at several conferences for software developers. These conferences are expensive. They typically cost between $1500 and $3000. That’s way too much for most people to pay out-of-pocket, so most attendees get sent by their companies. The value a developer gets by attending is impossible to quantify exactly, but I know I always learn a lot and my productivity definitely increases after attending a software development conference.
Here are a few 2015 conferences for software developers that you might want to investigate. Because I work with mostly with the Microsoft technologies stack, and I live on the West Coast (Seattle area), my list is biased towards those kinds of conferences.
1. Microsoft Ignite, March 4-8, Chicago. This conference is new but is basically a combination of the previous TechEd and MMS (Microsoft Management Summit) conferences, plus a few other events that were aimed at IT guys who worked with Microsoft products such as Exchange Server and SharePoint. In my opinion this is mostly an event for IT guys who occasionally write code. See http://ignite.microsoft.com.
Disclaimer note: Chicago is an incredibly dangerous city. Violent mobs of teens roam even in broad daylight and commit horrific crimes on tourists and visitors. If you go to Ignite, use extreme caution. Because of the crime issue I cannot, in good conscience, recommend Ignite. I have no idea why Microsoft would pick Chicago for this event.
2. Visual Studio Live, March 16-20, Las Vegas. VS Live has been around for many years and that alone tells you it must be pretty good. I will be giving a workshop on neural networks at this event. VS Live also will be in Austin (June), San Francisco (June), Redmond (August), New York (September), and Orlando (November). Highly recommended. See http://www.vslive.com.
3. Interop, April 27 – May 1, Las Vegas. Interop is a big event (about 13,000 attendees I think) aimed at both IT professionals and software developers. The event is aligned with InformationWeek magazine. I was at one Interop many years ago, but haven’t been recently. I will be speaking at the 2015 event. See http://www.interop.com.
4. Microsoft Build, April 29 – May 1, San Francisco. The Build conference is a combination of the old PDC (Professional Developers Conference) and MIX (for Web developers). It is mostly forward-looking rather than nuts-and-bolts information and has a lot of speakers who are managers instead of developers. Very glitzy event. I often speak at Build. See http://www.buildwindows.com/.
5. DevIntersection, May 18-21, Scottsdale. DevIntersection is a relatively new event, but is run by people who used to manage the long-running DevConnections conference (see below). DevIntersection always has very strong speakers. DevIntersection will also be in Las Vegas in November. Highly recommended. See http://www.devintersection.com/.
6. OSCON (Open Source Convention), July 20-24 Portland, Oregon. This event is run by the O’Reilly Media (“the animal books”) people. I went to an OSCON several years ago but didn’t feel comfortable there, in the sense that most of the people I talked to were kind of angry granola hippie developers. I’m more traditional in personality. See http://www.oscon.com.
7. DevConnections, September 14-18, Las Vegas. I’ve spoken at many DevConnections (aka IT/DevConnections) events, and the offshoot DevIntersection event. DevConnections has been around for many years and is aligned with Penton Media, which publishes several e-magazines, including Windows IT Pro. Highly recommended. See http://www.devconnections.com.
8. Java One Conference, October 25-29, San Francisco. I rarely use Java, and I’ve never been to Java One, but it seems to get good reviews from attendees. This is an event I’m going to try and get to someday, even though I am not an Oracle fan (mostly because Ellison is so obnoxious). See https://www.oracle.com/javaone/location/index.html.
9. QCon, November 16-20, San Francisco. I never attended a QCon conference so I can’t give a first-hand opinion. It looks like QCon emphasizes case study like talks from practitioners at companies like LinkedIn, Netflix, and so on. There is also an event in New York (June), and several outside the U.S. See http://www.qconferences.com/.