Last year we outlined the top conferences for .Net developers in 2015, and it was so well received that we’ve decided to update the list, this time upping the ante to include conferences for software developers from all walks of technology. All of the conferences below provide a great forum for not only learning, but also rubbing elbows with thought leaders. You will meet and share ideas with developers from all over the planet, and you may even meet future coworkers and employers!
Editor’s tip: most of these conferences offer early bird pricing and group discounts.
Top Conferences for Software Developers
January 5 – 8, 2016
We led with this one last year as well. It’s right around the corner and held at the Kalahari Resort in Sandusky, OH (who wouldn’t want to attend a conference at an indoor waterpark…in January?). The event is geared toward educating developers on practices, methodologies and technology trends in a range of platforms and languages including Java, .Net, Ruby, Python and PHP.
SXSW Interactive (@sxsw)
March 11 – 15, 2016
An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity, the 2016 event features five days of compelling presentations and panels from the brightest minds in emerging technology, scores of exciting networking events hosted by industry leaders and an unbeatable lineup of special programs showcasing the best new websites, video games and startup ideas the community has to offer. From hands-on training to big-picture analysis of the future, SXSW Interactive has become the place to discover the technology of tomorrow today.
Game Developers Conference (@Official_GDC)
March 14 – 18, 2016
San Francisco, CA
The GDC attracts over 26,000 attendees, and is the primary forum where programmers, artists, producers, game designers, audio professionals, business decision-makers and others involved in the development of interactive games gather to exchange ideas and shape the future of the industry. This market defining conference features over 400 lectures, panels, tutorials and round-table discussions on a comprehensive selection of game development topics taught by leading industry experts.
Kalamazoo X (@kalamazoox)
March or April
Kalamazoo X focuses on improving those ever-important soft skills that often get neglected at technology conferences. The conference is a one-day, single track event focused on inspiring workers to have a fulfilling career.
Code PaLOUsa (@CodePaLOUsa)
It’s software development madness! Top notch innovators and thought leaders from all over the country convene in the Bluegrass state to be a part of this two day, multi-track event. Tracks offer wide-ranging topics from technical to soft skills and pricing is usually around $250. The conference usually coincides with the Kentucky Derby Festival, so there will plenty of entertainment outside the conference!
Stir Trek (@stirtrek)
Stir Trek is a one-day conference focused on teaching software developers and others in the industry about the latest and greatest in technology, techniques and tools. It’s jam packed with 40 sessions conducted by well-known speakers from all over the country. The event concludes with a private screening of a blockbuster film on it’s opening day. No word yet on the 2016 film, but in 2015 they screened “Avengers: Age of Ultron”.
Spark Conference (@SparkConfOrg)
They say it only takes a spark of curiosity to ignite genius. A spark of passion to ignite teaching. A spark of motivation to ignite community. Described as the premier, must-attend event for technology enthusiasts in the South Atlantic, this one day event features six sessions and an all-day hackathon.
Qcon New York (@qconnewyork)
June 13 – 15, 2016
New York, NY
Qcon is designed for technical team leads, architects, engineering directors and project managers who influence innovation within their companies. The lineup includes a combination of technical, soft skills and leadership tracks to help attendees fuel and drive innovation in their workplace.
Code on the Beach (@CodeOnTheBeach)
Atlantic Beach, FL
Sun and education! This conference is just a few feet from the Atlantic Ocean and 30 minutes outside of Jacksonville, FL. Session content is geared for intermediate to advanced level, but intro sessions are available as well. This three day event has nightly hackathons where you can team up to create amazing things with other attendees. The resort area is full of great dining, nightlife and local entertainment. Families are welcome.
Music City Code (@MusicCityCode)
Music City Code is focused on connecting technologists with the industry’s top thought leaders, and it takes place in Nashville, TN, of course! This conference is loaded with great technical and soft skill sessions and features a Geek Jam Lunch! What would an event in the Music City be without music? Attendees are encouraged to bring or borrow an instrument to perform karaoke style with the Geek Jam Band. Those who aren’t musically inclined are invited to cheer their fellow attendees on.
That Conference (@ThatConference)
August 8 – 10, 2016
Wisconsin Dells, WI
Also called “Summer Camp for Geeks”, That Conference is one of two events on our list held at a Kalahari Resort, this one in the beautiful Wisconsin Dells. Held at the end of summer, it’s a chance to get away before we head into the fall and spend three days with a thousand fellow campers, geeking out on everything mobile, web and cloud. If your brain gets too hot, jump in one of the many pools.
After a successful first year in 2015, the organizers of DevSpace are targeting a mid-October date for 2016. Huntsville, Alabama is well known as one of the technology centers of the country with NASA in town. This two day conference has talks on a variety of languages and technologies with hopes of having something for everyone. Attendees will have the opportunity to enhance their skills in their preferred technologies and learn about new ones.
October 5 – 6, 2016
Dog Food Conference is focused on Microsoft tools and technologies. This 2 day event attracts 450 attendees a day with 10 tracks and 75 sessions. The goal of the conference is to empower local professionals to better use the wide variety of tools available to them. “Eating your own dog food” is a phrase that came out of Microsoft in the 80s. The idea is: If you make products and you expect your customers to buy them, they should be good enough for you to use too.
November 10 – 12, 2016
This three-day conference has been the main annual gathering of Rubyists from around the world since 2001. Dedicated to Ruby enthusiasts both experienced and new, the event provides a forum to learn about emerging ideas, collaborate with fellow Rubyists and make new friends. One of the unique things about the conference, aside from the laser focus on Ruby, is that it takes place in a different city every year. The 2016 conference will be held in Cincinnati, OH.
St. Louis Days of .Net (@stldodn)
St. Louis, MO
You’re guaranteed to learn, meet interesting people and have a great time at this conference. The three day event has 140 sessions hosted by industry leaders from across the country. On top of that, it’s held in a casino and kicks off with a concert. Great sessions for gaining knowledge, followed by great nightlight for unwinding and having fun.