Top 5 Conferences for .NET Developers

Partly due to the influence of software giant Microsoft, the .NET community is expansive. Developers, programmers and IT decision makers regularly meet at .NET conferences to share news, information and ideas to help each other keep up with the rapid digital transformation in today’s IT landscape. Here are five .NET conferences you should consider attending to advance your knowledge, skills and career growth.

Build

Build is Microsoft’s annual convention geared toward helping software and web programmers learn about the latest developments in .NET, Azure, Windows and related technologies. It began in 2011, and the 2017 conference will run May 10 – 12 at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, WA. Don’t get your hopes too high because registration has already closed as the conference is sold out. However, there is a wait list if you’re hoping the stars align in your favor and you’re granted admission.

Build takes over for the now defunct Professional Developers Conference, which focused on Windows, and MIX, which centered on developing web apps using Silverlight and ASP.NET. For 2017, major topic themes included .NET Standard Library, Edge browser, Windows Subsystem for Linux, ASP.NET core and Microsoft Cortana. Sessions included debugging tricks for .NET using Visual Studio, a look at ASP.NET Core 1.0, deploying ASP.NET Core apps, a deep dive into MVC with ASP.NET Core, Entity Framework Core 1.0, a .NET overview, and creating desktop apps with Visual Studio vNext.

Reviews of the prior years were positive. One reviewer appreciated the introduction of a BASH Shell, the first environment that allowed cross-platform Windows developers to code completely in Windows without resorting to Linux or Mac OS X machines. Another commented that they liked getting Xamarin, a set of developer tools, for free, saving them hundreds of dollars. Both these moves were strong indicators of Microsoft’s re-commitment to developers as it embraces our new multi-platform world encompassing open-source and proprietary programs side by side.

DEVintersection

This year’s DEVintersection will be staged at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on May 21 – 24, 2017. This is the fifth year for the conference which brings together engineers and key leaders from Microsoft with a variety of industry professionals. The goal is to help attendees help stay on top of developments such as ASP.NET Core, Visual Studio, SQL Server, SharePoint and Windows 10.

Since ASP.NET, as well as .NET, are moving to open source status, it is another sign Microsoft is further encouraging open source as a preeminent approach in web development. You will learn skills to tackle the transition to open source and handle the concomitant issues that come with that move. The IT landscape continues to shift and evolve, and software developers need to consider a wide variety of challenges, such as microservices, the cloud and containerization.

Major conference tracks include Visual Studio interaction, Azure intersection, ASP.NET intersection, IT EDGE intersection, Emerging Experiences and SQL intersection. IT Edge is a co-located event — attendees can take part in sessions from different tracks for no extra charge. There will be ten workshops lasting throughout the day for the four days of the conference. More than 40 sessions are focused on a number of technology topics, with the goal to give you techniques and skills you can use right away in your day-to-day work.

This year, expect to see plenty of discussion around designing for scale, performance monitoring, the cloud, troubleshooting and features and benefits of the 2012, 2014 and 2016 editions of SQL Server. Are you considering migrating 2008 all the way to 2016 in one go? You’ll get the feedback and advice you need to make these important decisions. Past attendees appreciated that every day of the conference started with a report from Microsoft specialists in the main hall. One reviewer called the session breakouts “involving and useful,” and another said the full-day workshops that ran before and after the main convention gave them both “practical and theoretical knowledge.”

Microsoft Ignite

Formerly known as TechEd, Microsoft changed the name to Ignite in 2015. The original TechEd started in Orlando in 1993, and the last chapter of the series was staged in 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. The 2017 Ignite conference is slated for September 25 – 29 in Orlando. Registration opens on March 28, so be sure to save the date. Registration sold out last year for the 2016 conference.

The Microsoft Data Science Summit will span two days during Ignite and is geared to engineers, data scientists, machine learning professionals and others interested in the latest in the world of analytics.

MS Ignite is for IT professionals, developers and managers. Decision makers can see what .NET advancements and developments are available, while developers can get information on how to implement those platforms in their current IT profile. There are presentations, breakout sessions and lab demonstrations. Microsoft .NET experts and community members alike meet to socialize, share news and evaluate the latest software defined tech. There are over 1000 Microsoft Ignite sessions to learn the latest developments in technology, each giving you a chance to meet face-to-face with industry experts.

For companies using .NET solutions, Ignite gives leaders and developers a chance to discuss current trends on the platform directly with Microsoft influencers. High profile Microsoft attendees in the past have included Jeffrey Snover, the lead architect of Windows Server; Brand Anderson, Corporate VP of the Enterprise Client and Mobility; and Mark Russinovich, Chief Technology Officer of Microsoft Azur

IT/Dev Connections

Presented by Penton Media, the annual IT/Dev Connections conference is scheduled for October 23 – 26, 2017 at the Hilton Union Square in San Francisco. Topics to be covered include ASP.NET, Visual Studio, Azure, SQL Server, SharePoint, VMware and more. There are five main technical topic tracks with over 200 sessions and one sponsor track and one Community Track. Conference leaders known as Track Chairs hand pick the best content and speakers. The goal is to omit any fluff and marketing hype, focusing only on high-value presenters and panelists. The five topic tracks are Cloud and Data Center; Enterprise Collaboration; Development and DevOps; Data Platform and Business Intelligence; and Enterprise Management, Mobility and Security.

Speakers at the 2017 conference include Windows technical specialist John Savill, Data Professional Tim Ford, and SharePoint expert Liam Clearly. A series of pre-conference workshops give developers and programmers a chance for one-on-one training. Workshops include troubleshooting ASP.NET Web applications, mastering the SharePoint dev toolchain, and skill-building for ASP.NET Core with Angular 2. Other sessions include Azure for ASP.NET programmers, Dockerizing ASP.NET apps, and ASP.NET development without using Windows. The State of the Union Session topic will discuss .NET from the desktop and mobile device to the server.

The strength of the IT/Dev Connections conference is the focus on developers and programmers. Commercial interests are kept to a minimum, and speakers are vetted for the amount of take-away value in their presentations. Attendees from past events have lauded the “user focus” of the conference and “intensely personal” feel of the breakout sessions. In other events, session rooms may have hundreds of chairs, while sessions at IT/Dev Connections generally accommodate around 100 people, providing a more personal, hands-on feel to each session. The speakers are also well diversified among different sections of the developer community, including a number of MVP designated presenters.

Visual Studio Live

Visual Studio Live! events for 2017 are a series of conferences throughout the year at cities around the country like Las Vegas, Chicago, and Washington D.C. The subtitle for the series is “Rock Your Code Tour.” The meetings give .NET developers and programmers a chance to level up their skills in Visual Studio, ASP.NET and more.

Visual Studio Live! focuses on practical training for developers using Visual Studio. For example, the Austin meeting is five days of education on the .NET framework, JavaScript/HTML/5, Mobile Computing and Visual Studio. There are more than 60 sessions conducted by Microsoft leaders and industry insiders. Topics to be covered include Windows Client, Application Lifecycle Management, Database and Analytics, Web Server and Web Client, Software Practices, and Cloud Computing.

If you participated in the previous Live! 360 program for discounted rates, be sure to reach out to the organizing committee as they do have special pricing for their most frequent customers.

Visual Studio Live! is known for its hands-on approach, with extensive workshops that give developers a deep dive into each topic. The workshops are featured throughout each day, so attendees have lots of opportunity to get targeted learning.

Attendees have responded enthusiastically to the co-located conference arrangement. One said it was an ideal chance to catch up with a number of technologies after being out of the tech world for a few years, and another lauded the enthusiasm of the speakers and workshop leaders.

There is a myriad of software development conferences that will help you grow as a .NET developer, DevOps thinker, or business influencer. Check out these five to see which one best fits your needs and goals.