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The best software engineering conferences of 2019

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John P. Mello Jr., Freelance writer

As a developer, you expect to get practical, technical content when you go to a conference, but you also want to network with other engineers in your field—hopefully, with people who are dealing with some of the same challenges as you. And if you're like most of your peers, expo halls are a lower priority.

Fortunately, most software engineering conferences focus on the technology more than the vendors. That makes developer conferences a great place for developers not just to broaden their technical horizons, but also to expand their other technical roles. As testing shifts left, for example, developers need to understand how to choose the right test automation tools to fit their role in the software development lifecycle. These conferences are an excellent place to gather such information.

Here is our shortlist of the most popular software engineering conferences in 2019. We've listed them all, although not all dates, locations, and pricing were available at publication time, especially for those events taking place later in the year. In those cases, we have provided historical information on the event to give you an idea of what to expect and what you'll get out of attending. Keep checking back; we'll update this guide as more information becomes available.

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January

PyCon

Twitter: @PyCon
Web: pycon.org
Date: January-December
Location: Multiple locations
Cost: Varies

There are over 50 PyCon conferences held annually by the international community for the Python programming language. Many of the conferences vary their venues every year and rely on volunteers to make them happen. As Python becomes more popular in the scientific community and for big data, the impact of PyCon will continue to grow.

Who should attend: Developers, business leads, and other members of the Python community

JSFoo Pune 2019

Twitter: @hasgeek
Web: jsfoo.in/2019-pune
Date: January 10
Location: Pune, India
Cost: 4,600 rupees (group and time-sensitive discounts available)

JSFoo conferences are managed by HasGeek, an organizer of conferences, hack nights, workshops, and geek meetups. This is the second time a JSFoo forum has been held in Pune. The first was in 2012. The conference aims to explore new ideas, implementing innovative solutions, and learning from experiences, especially negative ones.

Who should attend: Web developers and website administrators

Microsoft Ignite | The Tour

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web: microsoft.com/en-ca/ignite-the-tour/toronto
Date: January 10-11
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cost: Free, with registration

Microsoft is taking its popular Ignite conference on the road this year, offering developers and tech professionals a venue to explore the latest developer tools and cloud technologies, as well as learn new ways to code, optimize cloud infrastructure, and modernize an organization with deep technical training. Other cities on the tour are Washington, DC; Singapore; Sydney, Australia; Hong Kong; Seoul, South Korea; Mumbai, India; Tel Aviv, Israel; Johannesburg, South Africa; Milan, Italy; London, UK; Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Dubai, UAE; Stockholm, Sweden; São Paulo, Brazil; and Mexico City, Mexico.

Who should attend: Microsoft developers

February

FOSDEM

Twitter: @FOSDEM
Web: fosdem.org/2019/
Date: February 2-3
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Cost: Free

FOSDEM is a mammoth conference held annually for the global free and open-source software communities. Some 8,000 people attend the two-day event, which has more than 450 speakers, 450 events, and 50 tracks. There are five categories of activities and sessions at the forum: keynotes, main tracks, developer rooms, lightning talks, and certification exams. There are also many fringe events that involve free and open-source software taking place in the days around the weekend conference.

Who should attend: Developers, testers, and DevOps engineers

Software Architecture Conference

Twitter: @OReillySACon / #OReillySACon
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/software-architecture/sa-ny
Date: Training, February 3-4; tutorials and conference, February 4-6
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Cost: $1,595 to $2,345 (time-sensitive discounts available)

O'Reilly's Software Architecture Conference is a forum for developers that tries to attract more pure architects than most software gatherings. Microservices and distributed systems are a huge focus of the conference, but integration architecture, DevOps, business skills, security, performance optimization, and UX design are also covered. In addition to the New York conference, O'Reilly is staging software architecture events in San Jose, California, and Berlin, Germany.

Who should attend: Developers, tech leads, business leads, and architects

JSConf Hawaii

Twitter: @jsconf / @JSConfHi
Web: jsconf.com / jsconfhi.com
Date: February 7-8
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
Cost: $500 to $800 (time-sensitive discounts available)

JSConfs are staged by a loose federation of developers who share the same general idea about how a technical conference should be held. In addition to the Hawaiian event, forums will be held in Reykjavik, IcelandFortaleza, BrazilBruges, BelgiumBerlin, GermanySingaporeShanghai, ChinaCarlsbad, CaliforniaMedellín, Colombia; and Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Who should attend: JavaScript developers, general web developers, and testers

DeveloperWeek

Twitter: @DeveloperWeek
Web: developerweek.com
Date: February 20-24|
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Cost: $495 to $1,495 (time-sensitive discounts available)

DeveloperWeek is a series of conferences held in the United States for developers and technology managers. In addition to the Oakland forum, events have been held in New York City and Austin, Texas. The Oakland DeveloperWeek has more than 100 talks, with speakers from the biggest companies in tech. Some of the events include DevExec World, a get-together for developer managers and executives, and a BlockChain Dev conference to discuss the latest developments in blockchain and Ethereum technologies.

Who should attend: Developers, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists

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March

QCon London

Twitter: @QCon, @qconlondon
Web: qconlondon.com
Date: Conference, March 4-6; workshops, March 7-8
Location: London, UK
Cost: Conference, £1,469 to £1,869; workshops, £545 to £1,040; conference and workshops, £1,969 to £2,829 (time-sensitive discounts available)

The sponsors of the QCon conferences say that what distinguishes their events from others is their marriage of innovation with practical advice. Its workshops and conference sessions are conducted by engineers, practitioners, and team leads instead of evangelists, trainers/coaches, and consultants. The London conference will have 18 editorial tracks and more than 140 practitioners and speakers from companies such as Uber, Google, Facebook, Spotify, and Twitter. In addition to the London event, QCon conferences will be held in San Francisco, CaliforniaBeijing, China; São Paulo, Brazil; New York City, New York; Shanghai, China; and Europe.

Who should attend: Tech leads, architects, developers, and project managers

Devnexus

Twitter: @devnexus
Web: devnexus.com
Date: March 6-8
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Cost: Conference, $395; with one workshop, $695 (group discounts available)

Conference organizers say their goal is to make Devnexus a forum for connecting developers from all over the world and promoting open-source values. While the conference caters to all developers, there is a slightly larger focus on Java topics, and JavaScript after that.

Who should attend: Java developers, cloud administrators, security practitioners, network architects, software architects, JavaScript developers, mobile and web developers, and application performance testers

ConFoo.CA

Twitter: @confooca
Web: confoo.ca/en/yul2019
Date: March 13-15
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Cost: C$820 to C$970; workshops, C$700 to C$1,100

ConFoo focuses on pragmatic solutions for web developers. The conference usually features more than 150 presentations and typically has some surprising topics. In 2018, for example, talks included "Innovating Is Not About Technology, But Psychology," "Code Is Not Neutral: The Ethics of Programming," and "The Myth of Culture."

Who should attend: Developers and data scientists

Strata Data Conference

Twitter: @strataconf / @OReillyMedia / #StrataHadoop
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/strata/strata-ca/
Dates: Training and tutorials, March 25-26; keynotes and sessions, March 27-28
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: Conference passes, $1,445 to $2,245; training, $2,145 to $3,345 (time-sensitive discounts available)

Formerly known as Strata + Hadoop World, the conference now called Strata Data was created in 2012, when O'Reilly and Cloudera brought together their two successful big-data conferences. Topics cover cutting-edge data science, artificial intelligence, big data, and new business fundamentals. It's a deep dive into emerging data techniques and technologies. You'll dissect case studies, develop new skills through in-depth tutorials, and share emerging best practices in data science. Sister shows are being held in London, UK, and New York City.

Who should attend: Business analysts, strategists, architects, developers, data scientists, data analysts, CxOs, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, product managers, marketing pros, and researchers

April

React Conferences

Twitter: Varies
Web: reactjs.org/community/conferences
Date: Multiple
Location: Multiple
Cost: Varies

These conferences are staged by the community supporting React, a JavaScript library used for building user interfaces. React conferences vary from year to year, but the number and variety of cities continue to grow as the React ecosystem grows. This year's cities include Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Paris, France; Larvik, Norway; and Goa, India.

Who should attend: JavaScript developers

SmashingConf

Twitter: @smashingconf
Web: smashingconf.com/sf-2019/
Date: April 16-17
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: Conference, $599 to $699; workshops, $499; conference and workshops, $898 to $1,297

Considered one of the top conferences for designers, SmashingConf, which is affiliated with Smashing magazine, is aimed at seasoned professionals searching for a competitive edge in the design world. In addition to the San Francisco conference, SmashingConf events will also be held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Freiburg, Germany; and New York City.

Who should attend: Web designers and developers

Data Conference San Francisco

Twitter: @DataCouncilAI
Web: datacouncil.ai/san-francisco
Date: April 17-18
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: $499 to $1,099, plus $29 fee.

This series of conferences emphasizes networking and interaction by capping attendance at 500 people. This year's Bay City conference has six tracksfocusing on data platforms and pipelines, machine and deep learning,databases and tools, data analytics, building AI products and hero engineering. In addition to this forum, events are planned for later in the year for SingaporeBarcelona, and New York City.

Who should attend: Software engineers, machine learning experts, deeplearning researchers and artificial intelligence buffs

Devoxx

Twitter: @Devoxx
Web: beta.devoxx.com/#/
Date: April 17-19
Location: Paris, France
Cost: $210 to $605

Devoxx France is part of a family of conferences held globally each year. The conferences are focused on Java, with a few other topics, as well. The Paris conference is a large event, attracting some 3,000 participants and offering more than 300 exhibitors and 240 speakers, as well as hands-on labs and workshops. The conference has been sold out every year since its launch in 2012. In 2018, it sold out five weeks before its start date. A sister conference is also planned for London, UK.

Who should attend: Developers, software architects, data analysts, system administrators, and DevOps engineers

GOTO Chicago

Twitter: @GOTOcon, @GOTOchgo
Web: gotochgo.com/#_
Date: April 28-May 2
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cost: $1,190

GOTO conferences are organized by developers. They are highly technical and focus on the latest trends in software engineering. Track topics can vary widely, so check out the GOTO conference nearest you. This year's theme for the Chicago event is "What Works." It will explore which technologies and methodologies developers need to know now, what the future of software will bring, and how to build better, more inclusive, and collaborative teams. In addition to Chicago, GOTO conferences will be held in Amsterdam, The NetherlandsBerlin, Germany; and Copenhagen, Denmark.

Who should attend: Developers, software architects, project managers, system administrators, and DevOps engineers

DockerCon US

Twitter: @DockerCon
Web: docker.com/dockercon/...conference
Date: April 29-May 2
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $930 to $1,150; workshops, $150 each

DockerCon is a multi-track conference sponsored by Docker and focusing on that platform and its ecosystem. It includes keynotes, workshops, hands-on labs, and a "hallway track" for conference-goers to find like-minded people with whom they can share ideas in a structured way. The family-friendly forum offers childcare services for attendees and activities for spouses.

Who should attend: Developers, DevOps engineers, CxOs, and managers

RailsConf

Twitter: @railsconf
Web: railsconf.com
Date: April 30-May 2
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA
Cost (2018): $900

A conference focused on the Ruby on Rails web framework, RailsConf is organized by Ruby Central, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the support and advocacy of the Ruby programming language community. Event organizers pride themselves on making their events friendly, welcoming, and diverse. They also offer childcare services and a limited number of scholarships for students, women, and minorities.

Who should attend: Ruby developers

May

Microsoft Build

Twitter: #MSBuild
Web: microsoft.com/en-us/build
Date (2018): May
Location (2018): Seattle, Washington, USA
Cost (2018): $2,495

Build is a massive conference for developers building apps for Windows, Office 365, Edge/IE, SQL Server, Azure, Xbox, and HoloLens. Build is now also relevant for Android, iOS, and open-source developers, thanks to CEO Satya Nadella's push for Microsoft to be more platform-agnostic and distance itself from its old Windows-only strategy. Microsoft uses the conference to make important announcements for its ecosystem.

Who should attend: Windows developers, SQL Server DBAs, Azure admins, and general developers, IT administrators, and managers

PHP[tek]

Twitter: @phparch / #phptek
Web: tek.phparch.com
Date (2018): May
Location (2018): Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Cost (2018): $795 to $1,095 plus training classes; digital ticket: $175 

PHP[tek] is staged by PHP[architect], a creator of magazines, books, conferences, and training dedicated exclusively to the PHP community. The organizers describe their conference as "a professional conference with community flair."

Who should attend: PHP developers, website builders, web application developers, and web content creators

GlueCon

Twitter: @gluecon / #gluecon
Web: gluecon.com
Date: May 22-23
Location: Broomfield, Colorado, USA
Cost: $995 to $1,195 (time-sensitive discounts available)

GlueCon has both a software engineering and DevOps focus. If you’re tired of sales pitches disguised as talks, sessions that never do more than scratch the surface, throngs of people that seem more concerned with the after-parties than the education, and networking that has no lasting impact, then GlueCon is for you, declare conference organizers Kim and Eric Norlin. Topics change from year to year but they have included serverless architectures, containers, microservices, APIs, DevOps, mobile, analytics, performance monitoring, blockchain applications, and cutting-edge developer platforms and tools.

Who should attend: Software architects, developers, mobile developers and architects, DevOps engineers, enterprise and startup executives, and team managers

July

OSCON (O'Reilly Open Source Convention)

Twitter: @oscon / #OSCON
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/oscon-or
Date: Training and tutorials, July 15-16; conference, July 17-18
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Cost (2018): $2,695 to $1,545

OSCON is broadly targeted for the open-source community, including developers, innovators, business people, and investors. In the early days, the event was focused on changing mainstream business thinking and practices. Today, it's on real-world strategies for implementing open source in workflows and projects. The forum encompasses everything open source: languages, communities, best practices, products, and services.

Who should attend: Developers, architects, CxOs, designers, system administrators, hardware hackers, embedded developers, analysts, IT managers, managers, business development professionals, community leaders and managers, and educators

Open Source Summit Japan

Twitter: @linuxfoundation / @EventsLF / #ossummit
Web: events.linuxfoundation.org/events/open-source-summit-japan-2019
Date: July 17-19
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Cost (2018): $150 to $450 (time-sensitive discounts available)

Open Source Summits are a series of conferences sponsored by the Linux Foundation. In addition to the Tokyo forum, summits will be held in San Diego, California, and Lyon, France. In 2017, the Linux Foundation began combining three events—LinuxCon, ContainerCon, and CloudOpen—into the Open Source Summits. In addition to the keynotes and talks, the summits are used by the foundation and partner companies to make major announcements.

Who should attend: Software developers, programmers, open-source maintainers, Linux IT professionals, IT operations professionals, legal counsel, executives, managers, and students

GopherCon

Twitter: @GopherCon / #gophercon
Web: gophercon.com
Date: July 24-27
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cost (2018): conference, $595 to $895; workshops, $295 each

GopherCon is an annual conference for the Go programming language community. Originally organized in 2014 by the Gopher Academy—a community-driven group of developers who wish to promote the use of Go—the event has steadily grown in size, to over 1,500 attendees. The three-day conference is preceded by a day of workshops. The first two days of the event consist of talks arranged in multiple tracks. The final day, formerly called Hack Day but now known as Community Day, features a large communal area for collaboration as well as breakout rooms for special interests. Videos from 2018 conference are available on YouTube.

Who should attend: Developers and Go users

September

JSFoo

Twitter: @jsfoo / @hasgeek
Web: jsfoo.in
Date (2018): September
Location (2018): Bangalore, India
Cost (2018): 3,950 to 5,950 rupees

JSFoo is managed by HasGeek, an organizer of conferences, hack nights, workshops, and geek meetups. The conference was launched in 2011 to serve the rapidly growing JavaScript community. These days JavaScript pervades all aspects of web development—browsers, apps, front end, back end, mobile, and IoT. JSFoo addresses many of those aspects in its sessions.

Who should attend: Web developers and website administrators

.NET Conf

Twitter: @dnetconf
Web: dotnetconf.net
Date (2018): September
Location: Internet
Cost: Free

This virtual conference for developers is organized by the .NET community and Microsoft. During the three-day conference, developers participate in live streaming sessions where they can learn and ask questions in real time. Some of the presentations originate with Microsoft, but others are created by the community and open-source project members. Videos from previous conferences are available online. In addition to the main conference, there are a number of local forums held throughout the year around the world.

Who should attend: .NET developers

ApacheCon

Twitter: @ApacheCon
Web: apachecon.com/acna19/index.html
Date: September 9–12
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada, USA
Cost (2018): $575 for early registration

ApacheCon is an annual gathering of open-source community members—specifically those who are interested in learning more about open-source projects that are managed within the Apache Software Foundation. Popular projects include Kafka, Spark, and Hadoop.

Who should attend: Developers using Apache software and contributing to Apache projects, including Kafka, Hadoop, Cassandra, Spark, Mesos, BigTop, CloudStack, Lucene, and Solr

Strange Loop

Twitter: @strangeloop_stl
Web: thestrangeloop.com
Date: September 12-14
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Cost: Conference, $300 to $800; pre-conference workshop, $200

Strange Loop was created in 2009 and is now run by a team of St. Louis-based friends and developers. The conference organizers keep marketing to a minimum. Keynotes aren't sold to sponsors, and mailing lists of attendees are never sold or given to sponsors. Talks are code-heavy and avoid process-oriented topics such as agile and testing.

Who should attend: Developers, entrepreneurs, system engineers, security professionals, and scientists

DjangoCon US

Twitter: @djangocon / @defnado
Web: 2019.djangocon.us
Date: September 22-27
Location: TBD
Cost (2018): Conference $495 to $445; corporate $595; student/diversity $295; tutorial $195

DjangoCon US is a six-day conference for users of the Django web framework. The event caters to the entire spectrum of Django users, from those who develop business apps on the framework to those who tinker with it in their spare time. Conference planners are committed to diversity and offer financial aid to members of the Django community to meet the costs of tickets, travel, and accommodations.

Who should attend: Web developers and hobbyists

October

DotNetOS Conference

Twitter: @pawel_lukasik; #dotnetos
Web: conf.dotnetos.org
Date: October 10-11
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Cost: €180 tp €240

This two-day conference is dedicated solely to .NET performance. Although both international and Polish speakers have been invited to present, all sessions are in English. Subjects for this year's include Cliff Diving into Async in .NET Core and C# 8, Writing Allocation Free Code in C#, Compiling and Running a Dynamic Language—PHP—on .NET Core, and .NET Intrinsics in CoreCLR 3.0. Speakers from Microsoft at the event include Adam Sitnik, Ela Moscicka, Peter Sollich, and Shay Rojansky.

Who should attend: Members of .NET community
 

Oracle CodeOne

Twitter: @OracleCodeOne
Web: oracle.com/code-one/
Date (2018): October
Location (2018): San Francisco, California, USA
Cost (2018): $1,450 to $2,050 (government and time-sensitive discounts available)

First held in 1996 by Sun Microsystems and called JavaOne, CodeOne (now organized by Oracle) is billed as the largest conference for Java developers. CodeOne now includes all programming languages. Every year CodeOne is a key opportunity to network with the biggest luminaries and rising stars in Java and in programming.

Who should attend: Developers (especially Java developers) and business managers

November

React Day Berlin

Twitter: @reactdayberlin, #reactdayberlin
Web: reactday.berlin
Date: November
Location: Berlin, Germany
Cost (2018): €260 to €650

JavaScript engineers working with the React technology stack are the primary target audience for this one-day event. The two-track forum tries to balance the visionary with the practical in its talks. Organizers say the conference is a good place to meet and learn from forward-thinking and international community members.

Who should attend: JavaScript engineers and React practitioners, fans and enthusiasts

Microsoft Ignite

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web: microsoft.com/en-us/ignite
Date: November 2-8
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA

Cost (2018): full conference, $2,220; academic, $1,395; student, $995; 2019 prices to be announced in spring

Microsoft created Ignite in 2014 to consolidate several smaller conferences: Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft Exchange Conference, SharePoint Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference, and TechEd. Ignite covers architecture, deployment, implementation and migration, development, operations and management, security, access management and compliance, and usage and adoption. Although it's organized by Microsoft and focuses on its products, it also draws more than 100 vendors that participate in the expo and as sessions speakers.

Who should attend: Microsoft developers

RubyConf

Twitter: @rubyconf
Web: rubyconf.org
Date: November 18-20
Location: Nashville, Tennessee, USA
Cost (2018): $400 to $1,000

RubyConf is organized by the nonprofit Ruby Central, an organization dedicated to the support and advocacy of the Ruby programming language community. Its RubyConf event is designed to allow the full spectrum of Ruby users, from novices to experts, to discuss emerging ideas, collaborate, and socialize.

Who should attend: Ruby developers and hobbyists

December

dotJS

Twitter: @dotJS
Web: 2019.dotjs.io
Date: December 5-6
Location: Paris, France
Cost: €199 to €299

Billed as the largest JavaScript conference in Europe—it attracts about 1,400 people— dotJS prides itself on being a developer-organized event. This year, day one of the conference will be on front-end development—UI frameworks, browsers, and so forth. Day two will be about back-end development and JavaScript as a language.

Who should attend: Developers, embedded developers, security professionals, and data scientists

DevTernity

Twitter: @devternity / #devternity
Web: devternity.com
Date: December 6-7
Location: Riga, Latvia
Cost (2018): €299 to €798 (Early registration discounts available)

Rather than focus on a particular framework, technology, or language, DevTernity addresses the fundamental building blocks and practices necessary for building better, modern software systems. The forum covers the latest developments in coding, architecture, operations, security, leadership, and many other IT topics. Conference organizers take a tough line on their event's content: "No agile bull__ bingo or marketing talks permitted," they state.

Who should attend: Developers, architects, operations professionals, and DevOps engineers

Conferences call

Mark your calendars and make your choices soon. Prices may vary based on how early you register. Also, remember that hotel and travel costs are generally separate from the conference pricing.

What are your favorite conferences and why? Post your comments below, and let us know if there are any other events or conferences we missed.

Photo courtesy of DeveloperWeek via Twitter.

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