The best software engineering conferences of 2018

John P. Mello Jr., Freelance writer, Independent

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 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 not just developers to broaden their technical horizons, but testers, IT Ops, and other technical roles.

Here is our shortlist of the most popular software engineering conferences in 2018. 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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JSConf Asia

Twitter: @jsconf / @JSConfAU / @jsconfeu / @jsconfis
Date: January 25-27
Location: Singapore
Cost: SGD$990 to SGD$1,090 with diversity support, SGD$1,340 to SGD$1,490 standard

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 Singapore event, forums will also be held March 1-2 in Reykjavik, Iceland; March 21-22 in Melbourne, Australia; and June 2-3 in Berlin, Germany. The Singapore conference will have two days of talks and keynotes, as well as a full workshop and community day. 

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



Twitter: @FOSDEM
Date: February 3-4
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 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. "Since there is so much to hear and learn, having a focus point really helps," advises Edzo Botjes, an enterprise engineer with Sogeti, "although I know quite a few people that attend to meet their friends from over the whole of the world and only attend one or two lectures."

Who should attend: Developers, testers, and DevOps engineers


Twitter: @DeveloperWeek
Date: February 3-7
Location: Oakland, California, USA
Cost: $845 to $1,445

DeveloperWeek is a series of conferences held in the United States for developers and technology managers. In addition to the Oakland forum, other 2018 events will be held in New York City on June 18-20 and Austin, Texas, on November 8-9. 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


Twitter: @smashingconf
Date: February 7-8
Location: London, United Kingdom
Cost: Conference, $499 to $599; workshops, $499

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 London conference, SmashingConf events will also be held in San Francisco, on April 17-18 and Toronto, on June 26-27.

Who should attend: Web designers and developers


Twitter: @PyCon
Date: Multiple dates
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 ever more popular in the scientific community and for big data, the impact of PyCon grows.

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


Twitter: @devnexus
Date: February 21-23
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Cost: Conference, $375; with one workshop, $695

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

Software Architecture Conference

Twitter: @OReillySACon / #OReillySACon
Date: Training, February 25-26; tutorials and conference, February 26-28
Location: New York City, New York, USA
Cost: $1,595 to $2,345

O'Reilly's Software Architecture Conference is a conference for developers that tries to attract more pure architects than most software conferences. 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 also staging a software architecture event in London from October 29 to November 1.

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

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Strata Data Conference

Twitter: @strataconf
Date: Training, March 5-6; tutorials and conference, March 6-8
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Cost: $1,595 to $2,395

This forum—formerly known as the Strata + Hadoop World Conference—is presented by O’Reilly Media and Cloudera. Organizers offer a mix of deep technical immersion and business use in verticals such as finance, media, retail, transportation, and government. It features almost 200 sessions, a hallway track, networking opportunities, and after-hours entertainment. In addition to the San Jose event, Strata Data Conferences will be held in London on May 21-24 and in New York City on September 11-14.

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

QCon London

Twitter: @QCon, @qconlondon
Date: Conference, March 5-7; workshops, March 8-9
Location: London, United Kingdom
Cost: Conference, £1,569 to £2,829; workshops, £545 to £1,040

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. Topics focus on innovators and early adopters in software companies. In addition to the London event, QCon conferences will be held in Beijing on April 20-22, Sao Paulo on May 9-11, New York City on June 25-29, Shanghai on October 18-20, and San Francisco on November 5-9.

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


Twitter: @confooca
Date: March 7-9
Location: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Cost: C$735; workshops C$950

ConFoo focuses on pragmatic solutions for web developers. The conference usually features 150+ presentations and is trying to attract more AI developers.

Who should attend: Developers and data scientists


React Conferences

Twitter: Varies
Date: Multiple
Location: Multiple
Cost: Varies

The locations of global React conferences vary from year to year but always inlude Europe and the US. The number and variety of cities continue to grow as the React ecosystem grows. 

Who should attend: JavaScript developers


Twitter: @railsconf
Date: April 17-19
Location: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
Cost: $900 (unconfirmed for 2018)

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


Twitter: @Devoxx
Date: April 18-20 France (more conference dates in the description)
Location: Paris, France; London, UK; Krakow, Poland; Antwerp, Belgium; Casablanca, Morocco
Cost: €200 to €586

Devoxx is a Java-focused conference with a few other topics in other areas as well. Devoxx France is part of a family of conferences held globally each year.  In addition to France, Devoxx events will be held in London on May 9-11, Krakow on June 20-22, Antwerp on November 12-16, and Casablanca on November 20-22. The Paris conference is a large event, attracting some 3,000 participants and offering more than 230 presentations, as well as hands-on labs and workshops. Videos from past events are posted online.

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

GOTO Chicago

Twitter: @GOTOcon, @GOTOchgo
Date: Conference, April 25-26; workshops, April 24 and 27
Location: Chicago, Illinois, USA
Cost: $595-$2,380

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. In addition to the Chicago event, GOTO conferences will be held in Amsterdam on June 18-20, Berlin on October 30-November 2, and Copenhagen on November 19-23.

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


Microsoft Build

Twitter: #MSBuild
Date: May 7-9
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Cost: $2495

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, too, 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




Twitter: @gluecon / #gluecon
Date: May 16-17
Location: Broomfield, Colorado, USA
Cost: $795

GlueCon has both a software engineering and DevOps focus. It explores how the technology landscape is being changed by 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


Twitter: @phparch / #phptek
Date: May 31-June 2
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Cost: $795-$1,095 plus training classes; Digital ticket: $175 Full pricing page

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." Attendees who want to get the most out of the event should capitalize on their hallway time, recommends Ben Ramsey, a self-proclaimed web craftsman, API enthusiast, and open-source software advocate. "This 'hallway track' has been touted as one of the most important reasons for attending a conference," he wrote

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



Twitter: @FluentConf / #FluentConf
Date: Training, June 11-12; conference and tutorials, June 12-14
Location: San Jose, California, USA
Cost: $1,645-$2,395

First held in 2012, Fluent aims to cover the full scope of the web platform. It focuses on practical training in JavaScript, HTML5, CSS, mobile APIs, Node.js, and front-end frameworks. The event offers one day of in-depth tutorials, two days of keynotes and sessions, and two days of hands-on training courses. A number of videos have been posted online that capture the flavor of the event.

Who should attend: Front-end developers, back-end developers, web developers of all backgrounds, mobile app developers, UI/UX engineers, web designers, project managers, information architects.


Twitter: @DockerCon / #DockerCon
Date: June 12-14
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: $1,395

The interest in containers—especially Docker—has soared in a very short time, and this conference has become one of the hottest gatherings in the IT industry. Videos from previous DockerCons are posted online.

Who should attend: Developers, DevOps enthusiasts, and IT executives

Open Source Summit Tokyo

Twitter: @linuxfoundation / #ossummit
Date: June 20-22
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Cost: $150 to $450; early-bird 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 Vancouver on August 29-31 and Edinburgh on October 22-24. 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


OSCON (O'Reilly Open Source Convention)

Twitter: @oscon
Date: Training and tutorials, July 16-17; conference, July 18-19
Location: Portland, Oregon, USA
Cost: $2,695-$1,545 until June 8

OSCON is a broadly targeted conference 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.



Twitter: @GopherCon
Date: August 27-30
Location: Denver, Colorado, USA
Cost: $595–$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.

Who should attend: Developers, Go users



Twitter: @jsfoo / @hasgeek
Date: September 13-14
Location: Bangalore, India
Cost: ₹3950–₹5950

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
Date: September 12-14
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

Microsoft Ignite

Twitter: @MS_Ignite / #MSIgnite
Date: September 24-28
Location: Orlando, Florida, USA
Cost: $2,395

Microsoft created Ignite in 2014 to consolidate several smaller conferences: 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. You can watch videos from past events.

Who should attend: Microsoft developers

Strange Loop

Twitter: @strangeloop_stl
Date: September 26-28
Location: St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Cost: $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. "The typical Strange Loop talk is about what programming and development could be," Paul Miller wrote for The Verge. "Instead of dwelling on the mundane and practical, Strange Loop speakers often delve into obscure and unlikely technologies that could have huge implications if they work out."

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

ApacheCon North America

Twitter: @ApacheCon
Date: September 24–27
Location: Montreal, Québec, Canada
Cost: $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. You can also find Apache community gatherings and booths at these events events:

  • FOSDEM - 3-4 February 2018 in Brussels
  • Open Expo Europe - 6-7 June 2018 in Madrid
  • Berlin Buzzwords - 10-12 June 2018 (Apache Lounge dates: 11-12 June)
  • FOSS Backstage - 13-14 June 2018 in Berlin - The 2018 Apache EU Roadshow will be colocated with FOSS Backstage

Additional events include:

  • Kafka Summit - 23-25 February 2018 in London
  • Spark+AI Summit - 4-7 June 2018 in San Francisco
  • Open Source Summit North America - 29 August - 1 September 2018 in Vancouver
  • Solutions Hamburg - 12-15 September 2018 in Hamburg
  • Kafka Summit - 16-18 October 2018 in San Francisco
  • Open Source Summit Europe - 22-25 October 2018 in Edinburgh

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


DjangoCon US

Twitter: @djangocon / @defnado
Date: October 14-19
Location: San Diego, California, USA
Cost: 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, hobbyists

Oracle CodeOne (Formerly JavaOne)

Twitter: @JavaOneConf / #javaone
Date: October 22-November 25
Location: San Francisco, California, USA
Cost: $1,650 early bird

First held in 1996 by Sun Microsystems, JavaOne (now organized by Oracle and renamed CodeOne as of 2018) is billed as the largest conference for Java developers. CodeOne now includes all programming languages and is held in the same area at the same time as Oracle's Open World conference. 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), business managers



Twitter: @dotJS
Date: November 8-9
Location: Paris, France
Cost: €199

Billed as the largest JavaScript conference in Europe, dotJS prides itself on being a developer-organized event. "There will be no marketing speeches, no buzzword cover-ups," the conference organizers say. Front-end developer Mykhailo Matviishyn said the forum combines a TED Talk-like approach with a fireside chat environment. Talks at the conference can be thought-provoking and sometimes frightening. For example, Suz Hinton talked about using machine learning to fix the web, while Thomas Watson explained how to intercept airline chatter using an antenna purchased on Amazon and use it to illegally map air traffic.

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


Twitter: @rubyconf
Date: November 13-15
Location: Los Angeles, California, USA
Cost: $400-$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, hobbyists


Twitter: @devternity
Date: November 30-December 1
Location: Riga, Latvia
Cost: €299 to €598

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.

React Day Berlin

Twitter: @reactdayberlin, #reactdayberlin
Date: November 30
Location: Berlin, Germany
Cost: €260-€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 and international community members.

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.