What conferences should you attend?

The best software engineering conferences of 2017

If you're an application developer and find yourself in a perennial state of learning, you're not alone. Myriad emerging trends and changing technologies keep the application development field in constant flux—the Internet of Things (IoT), big data analytics, mobile, security, cloud computing, DevOps, containers, virtualization, software-defined computing, and, lest we forget, the particulars of specific platforms, programming languages, and tools.

It may be tough to thread training into your complicated daily workflow. But attending a conference provides a setting and opportunity to put you in touch with people and ideas that can spark new techniques and sharpen existing skills. Plus, you make new contacts with peers and industry experts. You don't need to master everything in a few days, or a week. But at the very least a conference can help you prioritize the things you need to learn over the coming weeks and months, and help you put your career in perspective.

Below we list conferences that have proved valuable to attendees in the past. They're a varied bunch, including vendor-specific events, such as Microsoft Build; language-specific events, such as Java One; and conferences focused on a type of software, such as open source (OSCON), or a particular type of application, such as games (GDC) or mobile. Some conferences are highly technical, others focus on hands-on tutorials, while yet others focus on a particular angle of app dev such as security or DevOps.

We have ranked them in four categories:

  1. Ones we consider a must-attend
  2. Others that are worth attending
  3. A third tier of events that, within their broader scope, have strong app dev tracks and content
  4. A final group of large, quasi-legendary conferences whose size and breadth makes them interesting to developers
World Quality Report 2017-18: The state of QA and testing

Developers need visibility into tech trends

At conferences such as the ones below, developers benefit by listening to experts at keynotes and panels, honing their skills at workshops, expanding their knowledge in classes and tutorials, and exchanging war stories with their peers. They'll gain visibility into what languages, tools, and practices are developing in promising ways and which ones are on the way out. All of this is essential for them to remain relevant in their highly competitive, fast-changing profession.

Must-attend engineering conferences

This selection is based primarily on the high interest we have observed among attendees, growing year-on-year.

Microsoft Build

Twitter:  @bldwin / #Build2017
Web: buildwindows.com
Date:  May 10-12
Location: Downtown Seattle, Washington
Cost: $2,195 in 2016

Build is a massive conference for developers building apps for Windows, Office 365, Edge/IE, SQL Server, Azure, Xbox, and HoloLens, using tools such as Visual Studio 2015, Visual Studio Code, ASP.NET vNext, and product-specific SDKs and APIs. 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.

In 2016, Microsoft used to build to announce it was adding the Bash Unix shell to Windows 10 Anniversary Update so developers and power users could use open source command-line tools to manage projects. It also announced it was making Xamarin, a cross-platform development platform, as a free part of Visual Studio and open sourcing its SDK.

Who should attend? Windows developers, primarily Windows and Windows Mobile, and those using SQL Server, Azure PaaS, and tools such as Visual Studio and ASP.NET. More than ever, Build is also relevant for iOS, Android, and open-source developers.

Who should attend: Windows developers, primarily Windows and Windows Mobile, but also SQL Server, Azure PaaS, and those using tools such as Visual Studio and ASP.NET. More than ever, Build is also relevant for iOS, Android, and open-source developers.

Video of 2016 sessions is available online.

OSCON (O'Reilly Open Source Convention)

Twitter: @oscon / @OReillyMedia / #Oscon
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/oscon/open-source-us
Date:  May  8-9 Training; May 10-11 Conference
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: Ranges from $1,395 to $3,495

In its explainer about the conference,  O'Reilly notes that open source has moved from disruption to default. Its methods and culture commoditized the technologies that drove the Internet revolution and transformed the practice of software development. Collaborative and transparent, open source has become modus operandi, powering the next wave of innovation in cloud, data, and mobile technologies.

In the early days, OSCON was focused on changing mainstream business thinking and practices; today the event is about real-world practices and how to successfully implement open source in your workflow or projects, the organizer says.

A schedule of conference tutorials, keynotes, sessions and events is available online.

Who should attend: Developers, programmers, software architects, designers, sys admins, entrepreneurs, CxOs

QCon

QCon London

Twitter: @QCon / @qconlondon / #qconlondon
Web: qconlondon.com
Date: Conference, March 6-8; Workshops, March 9-10
Location: Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre, London, UK
Cost: Pricing ranges from £475 for a one-day workshop to £1,650 for three-day conference pass

QCon New York

Twitter: @QCon / @QConNewYork / #qconnewyork
Web: qconnewyork.com
Date: June 26-28 Conference; June 29-30 Workshops
Location: New York City, New York
Cost: A wide range of prices

QCon San Francisco

Twitter: @QCon / @QConSF / #qconsf
Web: qconsf.com
Date: November 13-15 Conference; November 16-17 Workshops
Location: San Francisco, California (QCon will also be held in London, Sao Paulo, Beijing, and Shanghai)
Cost: Not available

The sponsors of the QCon conferences say 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 and not evangelists, trainers/coaches and consultants.  Topics focus on innovators and early adopters in software companies, they maintain.

Who should attend: Technical team leads, architects, engineering directors, project managers

GoTo Conference

Twitter: @GOTOcon / @GOTOchgo / #GOTOChgo)
Web: gotochgo.com
Date: May 1-4
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Cost: Ranges from $995 to $2,745, depending on when the reservation is made and what options are chosen. The least expensive option is a pass to attend the two-day conference, while the most expensive includes two conference days and two training days.

This is the fifth year for Chicago's GoTo Conference,  which the organizers say has been “created by developers, for developers," with an emphasis on what has recently become relevant and interesting for the software development community. This highly technical conference offers informal and easy contact with experts in attendance, as well as with fellow software and technology professionals.

A number of tracks will be offered at the event this year on topics such as microservices, security, deep learning analytics and DevOps. This year's lineup of speakers include Adrian Mouat, author of Using Docker; Brian Grant, technology lead at Morningstar; Brian Ray, cognitive computing team lead at Deloitte; Bridget Kromhout, co-host of the Arrested DevOps podcast; Chris Heilmann, senior program manager for developer experience and evangelism at Microsoft; and John Steven, CTO at Cigital.

This  conference offers informal and easy contact with experts in attendance, as well as with fellow software and technology professionals.

Who should attend: Developers, IT architects, project managers

Fluent

Twitter: @fluentconf / @OReillyMedia / #FluentConf
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/fluent/javascript-html-us
Date: June 19-20 Training; June 20-22 Conference
Location: San Jose, California
Cost: A variety of price tiers and discounts are available

First held in 2012, Fluent aims to cover the “full scope of the Web platform,” according to its organizers. It focuses on practical training in JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, and associated technologies and frameworks, including WebGL, CSS3, mobile APIs, Node.js, AngularJS, and ECMAScript 6.

Keynote speeches at the conference last year touched on subjects such as making mobile apps as powerful as desktop apps, an introduction to the Seif project to transition the Web into an application delivery system, the two most important principles to being a better designer,  and using advanced browser features to build robust apps.

Who should attend? Web designers and developers, including mobile and web infrastructure teams, JavaScript developers, architects, UI/UX designers, and system developers

Video of 2016 keynotes is available online

JavaOne

Twitter: @JavaOneConf / #JavaOne
Web: www.oracle.com/javaone
Date: October 1-5
Location: Downtown San Francisco, California
Cost: $2,050 in 2016 with no early-bird discounts

First held in 1996 by Sun Microsystems, JavaOne (now organized by new Java owner Oracle) is billed as the largest conference for Java developers. Learning tracks included Java and security; Java, DevOps and the cloud, and Java and the IoT.

There was a lot of buzz t the 2016 event about microservices. The idea behind that technology is to break down large applications into reusable but separate scalable services that are all interconnected through protocol but don’t share data. " If that sounds like magic, it kind of is," wrote Treehouse developer Craig Dennis.

Last year's conference was more subdued than those in past years,  Cameron McKenzie wrote for TechTarget. "I hate to say it, but the opening ceremonies of this year's JavaOne conference fell a little flat," he noted. "Not to take away from any of the people who presented, but there just didn't seem to be as much anticipation for what the overlords of the Java platform had in store for all the software developers in attendance."

JavaOne is held at the same time and place as Oracle’s big Open World conference, and attendees can get a pass for both conferences.

Who should attend: Java developers

Keynotes from the 2016 conference are available online.

DockerCon

Twitter: @DockerCon / #dockercon
Web: 2017.dockercon.com
Date: April 17-20
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: $742 for early registration, $1000 for standard

The interest in containers—and Docker especially—has gone from 0 to 80 mph in less than two years, and this conference has become one of the hottest gatherings in the IT industry.

For 2017, the conference organizers are promising to offer a bigger and better program than previous years—one that reflects the diversity of the Docker ecosystem and community. This year's event, they say, will have sessions on use cases at large and innovative corporations, advanced technical talks and hands-on lab tutorials. Each day starts with a general session followed by breakout sessions. Among the speakers at this year's event will be Solomon Hykes, founder and CTO of Docker.

DockerCon has grown in popularity over the years. Last year, more than 4,000 people registered for the conference and there were another 500 on the waiting list. The gathering also attracted some 100 company sponsors, compared to 30 in 2014 when Docker debuted.

The 2015 conference sold out its 2,000 seats, and DockerCon 2016 drew more than 4,000 attendees. 

Who should attend: Developers, DevOps enthusiasts, IT executives

ApacheCon North America & Apache Big Data

Twitter: @EventsLF / @ApacheCon / #ApacheCon
Web: events.linuxfoundation.org/events/apachecon-north-america/
Date: Both: May 16-18
Location: InterContinental Miami, Miami, Florida
Cost: $600 for early registration (by March 12), $800 for standard

Two conferences in one, ApacheCon North America will consist of two events: Apache Big Data and ApacheCon. "The events will overlap, enabling those who want to attend and learn at both to do so in a convenient and affordable way,” Rich Bowen, executive vice president of the Apache Software Foundation, said in an interview.

This combo, which was first introduced in 2015 at ApacheCon Europe in Budapest, was created because big data has become such a popular topic at ApacheCon that organizers decided to break it off into its own event (Mainly due to the success of the Apache Hadoop and Apache Spark projects).

Apache Big Data, as its name implies, will focus on Apache projects, people and technologies working in big data, ubiquitous computing, and data engineering and science. ApacheCon will focus on the 350-plus Apache Software Foundation project communities.

ApacheCon North America will gather open-source developers to explore key issues and learn about the latest happenings with Apache products, which the Apache Software Foundation points out “power half the Internet, manage exabytes of data, execute teraflops of operations, store billions of objects in virtually every industry,” and power “countless mission-critical applications worldwide,” as well as play central roles in cloud computing, mobile, databases, and big data. The conference will have tracks and mini-summits focused on specific Apache projects and feature special sessions as well as hackathons and lightning talks.

Videos from the top talks at last year's conferences have been posted online. They include IBM’s Wager on Open Source Is Still Paying Off; Open Source is a Positive-Sum Game; Apache Milagro: A New Security System for the Future of the Web; Netflix Uses Open Source Tools for Global Content Expansion; Spark 2.0 Is Faster, Easier for App Development and Tackles Streaming Data; IBM Uses Apache Spark Across Its Products to Help Enterprise Customers; and How eBay Uses Apache Software to Reach Its Big Data Goals.

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

Open Source Summit (formerly LinuxCon)

Twitter: @EventsLF
Web: events.linuxfoundation.org
North America –September 11-13, Los Angeles, California
Europe – October 23-25, Prague, Czech Republic
Japan –  May 31 - June 2, Tokyo, Japan
Cost: See registration pages for North AmericaEurope, and Japan

In 2017, the Linux Foundation is combining three events—LinuxCon, ContainerCon and CloudOpen—into the Open Source Summits. The North American and European conferences will include the Community Leadership Conference, which, according to the conference organizers, brings together leading practitioners who are building empowered and productive open source communities to share their experiences with others.

“In recent years, open source has expanded to be the default software in virtually every area of technology, so it is important that the broad community have a place to gather and exchange ideas,” Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin said in a statement. “The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit will gather the best and brightest from every corner of open source technology together for an event where they can collaborate and share best practices.”

Who should attend: Software developers, programmers, core maintainers, Linux IT professionals, IT operations experts, legal counsel, students

DeveloperWeek

Twitter: @DeveloperWeek / #DevWeek17
Web: developerweek.com
Date: February 11-16 (Hackathon February 11-12 / Workshops February 13 / Conference and Expo February 13-15)
Location: San Francisco, California
Cost: Ranges from $200 to $1,390

Organizers say DeveloperWeek 2017 is the world’s largest developer expo and conference series with over 50 week-long events including the DeveloperWeek 2017 Conference & Expo (8,000 attendees), the DeveloperWeek Hackathon (more than 1,000 attendees), Official Hiring Mixer (more than 1,000 hirable developers and over 50 hiring companies), and dozens of city-wide partner events.

Past event hosts and supporters of the event include Google, Oracle,  Facebook,  Yelp,  Rackspace, IBM, Cloudera, Red Hat, Optimizely, SendGrid, Blackberry, Microsoft, Neo Technology, Eventbrite, Klout, Built.io, Ripple, GNIP, Tagged, HackReactor, and dozens of others.

Who should attend: Developers, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists

Apple WWDC

Twitter: #WWDC17
Web: developer.apple.com/wwdc/
Date: Not available, Historically in mid-June
Location: Usually the Moscone Center and another location in San Francisco, California
Cost: $1,599

Final information on Apple's WWDC usually isn't released until April but it's always held in San Francisco in June. The event is Apple’s biggest developer event so it attracts intense attention from the press, industry analysts, Apple customers, and MacOS and iOS developers.

Although it’s not an exclusively mobile-focused conference, mobile dominates the proceedings, unsurprisingly since iPhones generate most of Apple’s revenue and mobile is where most of Apple’s innovation and growth efforts are centered, in products such as Apple Pay, HealthKit, Apple Watch, and the iPad Pro.

Last year's conference was a scattershot event, says Roger Cheng at CNET. "Steve Jobs probably would've hated this," he noted.

"The late co-founder was famously obsessed with simplicity," he continued. "Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote on Monday was anything but, offering a dizzying list of features."

"[T]here's something to be said about the less is more approach, with few standout announcements emerging from the two-hour presentation," he added.

Among that dizzying list of announcements were a new name for OS X, MacOS; the porting of Apple Pay to the Web; a speed boost for Apple Watch; a mammoth upgrade of iOS, redesigns of Apple News and Music; management improvements in Photos; voice mail transcription; improvements in Apple TV; and opening up Siri to developers.

Rumors are still thin about the 2017 WWDC but two that have started circulating is that a new iMac will be announced at the conference, as well as a group call feature for FaceTime in iOS 11.

If you’re unable to score a ticket and you’ll be in San Francisco anyway, several independent events occur simultaneously. One of the better known ones is AltConf (Twitter: @AltConferenc), which is free of charge.

Who should attend: iOS and MacOS developers

Google I/O

Twitter: @googledevs / #GoogleIO / #IO17
Web: developers.google.com (conference website isn't up yet)
Date: Commonly held in May, but sometimes June
Location: Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California in 2016, Moscone (SF) in previous years
Cost: General Admission Ticket—$900  Academic Admission Ticket—$300

Google I/O, first held in 2008, has become one of the most important developer conferences in the world. Like Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O isn’t strictly about mobile, but the event is heavily focused on the Android OS and its ecosystem.

The conference also covers developer tools and APIs for other Google products, services, and platforms, including the enterprise Cloud Platform, consumer online services such as Google Play, products for publishers and advertisers such as AdSense and Analytics, consumer devices such as the Cardboard virtual reality headset, and even some of the company’s “moonshot” projects.

While the public doesn't know yet what Google will be introducing at its developers' event, based on previous sessions there's a good chance they'll be a new version of Android—Android O—as well as an upgrade of Android Wear, Google Home and Google Assistant. You can expect some virtual and augmented reality announcements, too.

Who should attend? Developers working with Android and with the growing variety of Google web services, mobile apps, and hardware

Video from the 2016 sessions is available online.

Worth attending

Some of our readers might describe many of the conferences in our second category as “must attend,” especially those that appear to be growing in size each year. Generally, these are conferences that are smaller in attendance or targeted at specific industries. 

Software Architecture Conference

Twitter: @oreillysacon / #OReillySACon)
Web: conferences.oreilly.com/software-architecture/engineering-business-us
Date: April 2-3 Training; April 3-5 Conference
Location: Hilton Midtown, New York, New York
Cost: Conference: From $1,445 to $2,295 / Training: $2,595 or $3,595

O’Reilly's Software Architecture Conference is designed to bridge business and technology, aiming to show attendees tradeoffs, technology options, engineering best practices, and "leadership chops." Its goal is to balance the depth and breadth of its new technology content. Topics touched on at the conference include microservices, distributed systems, integration architecture, DevOps, business skills, security, optimization, and UX design.

Who should attend: Engineers, developers, tech leads, and managers

SmashingConf

Twitter: @smashingconf / #SmashingConf
Date: April 4-5
Location: San Francisco, California
Web: smashingconf.com
Cost: Each Workshop: $499 / Conference: $549-$599 / Conference and Workshop: $998.

Considered one of the top conferences for designers, SmashingConf, which is affiliated with Smashing Magazine, is aimed at seasoned professionals searching for an extra competitive edge in the design world. Like many conferences, SmashingConf emphasizes the practical side of its subject focus—front-end insights, UX strategies and tips, tricks and techniques. Although only in its sixth year, the event has managed to attract some heavyweight partners, such as Adobe, Microsoft, MailChimp and Cloudinary.

 Who should attend: Designers, developers

Game Developers Conference (GDC)

Twitter: @Official_GDC / #GDC2017
Web: gdconf.com
Date: February 27 - March 3
Location: Moscone Center, San Francisco, California
Cost: From $199 to $2,399

Organizers call the Game Developers Conference (GDC) the "largest and longest-running professionals-only game industry event" in the world. It's attended by more than 26,000 pros involved in the development of interactive games. Produced by the UBM Tech Game Network, the conference features more than 400 lectures, panels, tutorials, and roundtable discussions. At the expo portion of the event, vendors show game development tools, platforms, and services.

Also part of the conference: the Independent Games Festival and the Game Developers Choice Awards.

Who should attend: Programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers, and others involved in the development of interactive games

Facebook F8

Twitter: @fbplatform / #F8
Web: fbf8.com
Date: April 18-19
Location: San Jose, California
Cost: $595

Facebook F8 is the Social Network's annual developers' conference. This year it will be held in San Jose because it has outgrown its traditional digs at Fort Mason in San Francisco. It will have more than 50 sessions. They will focus on subjects such as the future of cameras, how to get the most out of Facebook Messenger, the future of video on Facebook, crafting compelling Virtual Reality narratives, building privacy protections into applications and building high-quality JavaScript tools.

The highlight of the conference is Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's keynote, but at least one big announcement can be expected, too. In 2015, it was the announcement of FB's Messenger platform and in 2016 it was Messenger's bot platform for building conversational interfaces.

Since tickets to F8 can be hard to come by, Facebook is also live streaming the conference keynotes and offering its sessions on demand.

Who should attend: Facebook developers

Microsoft Ignite

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Web: ignite.microsoft.com
Date: September 25-29
Location: Orlando, Florida
Cost: Standard ticket price is $2,220

Microsoft created Ignite in 2014 to consolidate several smaller conferences into a big one: Microsoft Management Summit, Microsoft Exchange Conference,  SharePoint Conference, Lync Conference, Project Conference, and TechEd. It 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

IT/Dev Connections

Twitter: @devconnections / #ITDevCon
Date: October 23-26
Location: San Francisco, California
Web: devconnections.com
Cost: $1,199 and $1,999

This conference, aimed at developers and IT professionals of all stripes, focuses on topics such as big data and BI, virtualization, DevOps, enterprise management and mobility, cloud and data center, development platforms and tools, and enterprise collaboration, with an emphasis on Microsoft products like Azure, Exchange, SQL Server, and SharePoint, although other vendors are also discussed.

Who should attend: Developers, IT pros

DevOps Con

Twitter: @devops_con / #DevOpsCon
Web: devopsconference.de
Date: June 12-15
Location: Berlin, Germany
Cost: Depending on the scope of access and when tickets are bought, prices range from €499 to €1,199.

This conference, held in German and English, includes an expo floor and addresses topics such as continuous delivery, microservices, Docker, cloud computing, container technology, lean business concepts, and shorter delivery cycles.

Workshops, keynotes and sessions have been posted online.  Those sessions include Application Load Testing with Open Source and the Cloud, Applying Behavioral Science and Instruments in DevOps Transformations, Empowering the People driving DevOps and Docker opens the Doors for IoT.

Who should attend: Software developers

Jax DevOps

Twitter: @jaxdevops / #jaxdevops
Web: devops.jaxlondon.com
Date: April 4-5
Location: London, U.K.
Cost: Tickets range from €399 to €1,199

Described by its organizers as a “conference for continuous delivery, microservices, Docker, and clouds,” this conference focuses on accelerated delivery cycles and increased delivery quality.

Conference program has been posted online. Conference sessions include DevOps Kaizen: Empowering Teams to find and fix their own Problems; The Seven (More) Deadly Sins of Microservices; Security Professional’s Toolbox: Semi-automated Pentesting with Open-Source Tools; and Scaling Up DevOps in the Enterprise.

Who should attend: Developers involved with DevOps, continuous delivery, microservices, Docker, or cloud computing

PowerShell and DevOps Global Summit

Twitter: @PSHSummit
Web: powershell.org/wp/summit/
Date: April 9-12, 2016
Location: Bellevue, Washington
Cost: $1,500 for four days

This conference is all about Microsoft’s PowerShell automation and configuration tool and features PowerShell product team members, Microsoft MVPs, engineers, developers, sysadmins, PowerShell community members, and other experts doing a deep dive on this topic.

Organized by PowerShell.org, which is part of the DevOps Collective nonprofit corporation

Who should attend: Microsoft developers, engineers, sysadmins

Cross-discipline conferences

Conferences in this category are targeted at specific industries or technologies — for example, security, cloud computing, and open source. Although they aren't pure development conferences, we believe these gatherings will hold interest for many developers.

Velocity Conference

Twitter: @velocityconf / @OReillyMedia / #velocityconf
Web: velocityconf.com
Location:
San Jose, California — June 19-22
New York City, New York — October 1-4
London, UK — October 18-20
Cost: Not available

Velocity conferences will also be held in Amsterdam and Beijing.

O'Reilly says it's taking Velocity in a new direction in 2017. Originally focused on web performance and operations, the conference will now encompass a distributed systems stack spanning the application layer all the way down to through compute, storage and networking to the data center—whether it's in the cloud or not.  Presentations at the 2017 conference will cover everything from automation, containerization, continuous delivery and DevOps to orchestration and scheduling, security and serverless computing.

If you go, you can expect to experience a technical, performance-minded, operations-centric conference on which developers, ops, and designers converge. 

Who should attend? Developers, operations specialists, IT Ops staff

Video of 2016 keynotes and other material is available online.

DevOps Enterprise Summit

Twitter: @DOESsummit / #DOES17
Web: devopsenterprise.io 
Location/Dates:
San Francisco, California, November 13-15
London, UK, June 5-7
Cost: $1,225 (blind bird), $1,450 (early bird), and $1,800.

DevOps Enterprise Summit is a conference for the leaders of large, complex organizations implementing DevOps principles and practices, according to the event's organizers. They say the event programming emphasizes both evolving technical and architectural practices and the methods needed to lead widespread change efforts in large organizations. The goal is to give leaders the tools and practices they need to develop and deploy software faster and to win in the marketplace.

Attendees can expect to see speakers from many large companies—IT pros from Target, Bose, HPE, and Disney have spoken at DOES in the past—as well as engage in ad hoc discussions and enjoy what some have described as a great community and learning environment.

Who should attend: Developers, operations specialists, CxOs, software architects, systems and network admins

LISA

Twitter: @LISAConference / @usenix / #LISA17
Web:  usenix.org/conference/lisa17
Date: October 29–November 3
Location: Hyatt Regency , San Francisco, California
Cost: 2016 ticket price charts available

The LISA conference positions itself as a vendor-neutral meeting place for the systems administration community, with a heavy training focus. It's organized by Usenix, the Advanced Computing Systems Association, LISA (Large Installation Systems Administration) is focused on the design, building, and maintenance of critical systems.

Who should attend: IT Ops, systems admins, systems engineers, network engineers, software architects

Video from Lisa16 is available online.

DevOps Days

Twitter: @devopsdays / #devopsdays
Web: devopsdays.org
Date: Varies
Location: Held throughout the year in multiple cities, mostly in the U.S. and Europe, sometimes in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
Cost:  Varies

This conference series is run by volunteers whose target audience is front-line engineers and their managers. A global core team includes such DevOps luminaries as Patrick Debois and Damon Edwards, who assist local organizers with their events worldwide.

Who should attend: Developers, IT Ops

RSA

Twitter: @rsaconference / #RSAC
Web: rsaconference.com/events/us17
Date:  February 13-17
Location: Moscone Center, San Francisco, California
Cost: Ticket prices vary widely, starting at $75 for an early-bird expo pass and going up to $2,600 for a full-conference pass bought on site.

One of the world’s largest security conferences, RSA celebrates its 26th anniversary in 2017. RSA became part of Dell Technologies in September but the acquisition isn't expected to affect this year's conference or any future shows.

"Like many other exhibitors, I spent hours chatting with potential customers and technology partners," Tom Skeen, an IT, risk and security adviser with Safe-T Data, wrote about RSA 2016.

"Just about everyone had a common theme or two," he noted. "What is the best way to protect information, at a reasonable cost and with the most operational supportability? This makes complete sense given the continued challenges around advanced cybercrime and hyper-connectivity nowadays."

This is a very large event in terms of attendees, exhibitors, and sessions, which may signal robust growth in the IT security industry and just how dangerous the threat landscape has become.

Attendees should do their pre-conference homework and sketch out a game plan, since this is a very large conference. In 2016 there were more than 40,000 attendees and almost 700 speakers.

Cloud Computing Expo

Twitter: @CloudExpo / @SYSCONmedia / #CloudExpo
Web: cloudcomputingexpo.com
Date/Location: June 6-7, Javits Center in New York City, New York
October 30 - November 2, Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, California
Cost: Depending on when it’s bought, a Gold Pass, which gives attendees full access to the proceedings, costs anywhere from $1,600 to $2,500.

This conference explores “the entire world” of enterprise cloud computing—private, public, and hybrid scenarios—and the latest on topics including IoT, big data, containers, microservices, DevOps, and WebRTC via keynotes, general sessions, breakout sessions, panels, and an expo floor.

Who should attend: Cloud app developers

Agile Dev West and East

The Agile Dev conferences focus on the latest agile methods, tools and principles of interest to both new and experienced agile practitioners. But these conferences are held in conjunction with Better Software Conferences and DevOps Conferences, giving attendees three programs to choose from.

Agile Dev West

Twitter: #BetterSoftwareCon
Web: http://adcwest.techwell.com/, https://devopswest.techwell.com/
Date: June 4-9
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada

Agile Dev East

Web: http://adceast.techwell.com/, http://devopseast.techwell.com/
Date: November 5-10
Location: Orlando, Florida
Cost: Ticket prices (for both East and West) range from $795 for one day of tutorials to $3,095 for five full days at the conference.
Pre-conference training and certification courses can be combined with the conference at prices that run up to $4,045.

First held in 2007, Agile Dev focuses on the latest agile methods, tools, and principles via keynotes, case study sessions, technical sessions, tutorials, networking events, and conference classes. It has an expo floor.

The conference is aimed at both new and experienced agile practitioners. As noted on the Agile Dev website, “Whether you’re new to the agile process and need to get up to speed quickly, or you’re experienced and ready to take your team or organization to the next level, our hands-on, in-depth workshops have you covered. Plus, all Agile Dev Conferences are held in conjunction with Better Software Conferences and DevOps Conferences, allowing you to choose from three distinct programs.”

In other words, a ticket for Agile Dev East or West gives the attendee access to two other TechWell conferences happening there at the same time.

Who should attend: Developers interested in agile, lean, scrum, and related practices and tools

GlueCon

Twitter: @gluecon / #gluecon
Web: http://gluecon.com/
Date: May 24-25
Location: Omni Interlocken, Broomfield, Colorado
Cost: $795 for early-bird registration (before March 24)

The conference focuses on what organizers consider the most important trends in technology, including cloud computing, DevOps, mobile, APIs, and big data, all from the perspective of developers, whom organizers view as being at the core and at the vanguard of all these areas.

Who should attend: Developers and operations professionals

Other conferences to consider

Our final category includes conferences that are just too cool not to mention. If you’re planning your conference travel and budget around DevOps shows, you might want to save a little room on your plate for one or more of the following important events. 

CES (Consumer Electronics Show)

Twitter: @CES / #CES2017
Web: cesweb.org
Date: January 5-8, 2017
Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Not available

The legendary and massive consumer electronics conference and expo covers a wide range of topics, some of which might be of direct or tangential interest to involved with app dev, such as security, digital entertainment, e-commerce, gaming, robotics, storage, education technology, mobile apps, and networking.

SXSW (South By Southwest)

Twitter: @sxsw / #SXSW2017
Web: sxsw.com/schedule
Date: March 10-19
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: There are a variety of ticket prices, ranging from $445 to $1,645

While music and film are key elements of SXSW, the event also has a strong technology component, with topics this year including startups, wearables, healthcare IT, virtual reality, IoT, smart cities, digital media, online marketing, software design and development, open source, mobile design, and user experience.

TechCrunch Disrupt

Twitter: @TechCrunch / #tcdisrupt
Web:
techcrunch.com/event-info/disrupt-ny-2017 
techcrunch.com/event-info/disrupt-sf-2017 
Date/Location: May in New York City, New York / September in San Francisco, California
Cost: $1,795 Extra-early-bird, $1,995 Early Bird. Other packages for exhibitors and individuals are available.

Disrupt is the conference for anyone involved with or interested in startups, entrepreneurs, venture capital, and emerging technologies. It features hackathons, provocative panel discussions, and A-list speakers. Many leading companies have used Disrupt as a springboard.

Gartner’s Symposium/ITxpo

Twitter: @Gartner_Events / #ITxpo / #GartnerSYM
Web: gartner.com/events/na/orlando-symposium
Date: October 16-20
Location: Orlando, Florida
Cost: Standard conference price is $5,600. Public-sector price is $4,000. Group discounts are available

This is the mother of all Gartner conferences, aimed specifically at CIOs and technology executives in general, addressing from an enterprise IT perspective topics such as mobility, cybersecurity, cloud computing, application architecture, application development, IoT, and digital business.

E3 Expo

Twitter: @E3 /  #E32017
Web: e3expo.com
Date: June 13-15
Location: Los Angeles, California
Cost: Not available

A massive gaming show that covers mobile, video, and computer games and related products, E3 covers topics of interest to software developers, buyers and retailers, distributors, entertainment industry executives, venture capitalists, manufacturers, and resellers.

Interop Las Vegas

Twitter: @interop / #Interop
Web: interop.com/lasvegas
Date: May 15-19
Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas, Nevada
Cost: Ranges from $300 to $3,299

A venerable tech conference, Interop delves into topics such as applications, cloud computing, collaboration, networking, IT leadership, security, software-defined networking, storage, virtualization and data center architecture, and mobility.

Did we miss any conferences and events? We've done our best to compile this comprehensive list of the top software development conferences to attend in 2016, but nobody's perfect. This is a list in progressPlease let us know in the comments below if there are any other events or conferences you think we should add to our list.

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Topics: App Dev