Top 5 conferences for IT pros and IT Managers in 2019

An independent Gallup study showed that providing employees and managers learning and growth opportunities is a great way to double their workplace engagement. For I.T. professionals, managers, Helpdesk techs and the like, that means tech conferences. But there are so many! How does one narrow down the options? And how do you avoid getting stuck at one of those five-day extravaganzas that cost the boss in the quadruple digits that at best gives you 20% content that’s relevant to your everyday responsibilities and at worst is just a massive pitch fest.

Well, I’m really grateful that my CEO believes in letting me grow into the best damned I.T. manager I can be, because I’ve been to A LOT of conferences. It’s actually why I started this community, but more on that elsewhere.

So without further ado, here is my list of the top 5 conferences to attend for I.T. Personnel in 2019

 
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5. GlueX - September 15-17, Phoenix AZ

Why its on the list

Recently rebranded from GlueCon this is actually a product conference. But its on the list anyway (albeit in last place). The product itself is actually not bad, but it is designed for MSPs, so it may or may not be relevant to you. GlueCon however has the good sense to mix a lot of really good content between their pitches, making it a decent show even if you don’t use ITGlue (their product).

Cost

  • Registration - $699 ($599 if you catch the early bird).

  • Average hotel stay - $235 per night (2 nights needed)

 
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4. Spiceworld - September 23-35, Austin TX

Why its on the list

I know a lot of Spiceheads, and admittedly, of all the conference on this list, this is the one I never actually attended. But it still made the list. Spiceworks, although a shameless seller of customer information has built a pretty awesome and loyal community. So you’ll get pitched to, a lot. You’ll probably learn a little, too. But the highest value in this conference is the people you’ll meet. Other IT professionals that are dedicated to their jobs and enjoy being part of a community. It’s also pretty reasonably priced (but that’s what you get when you attend a pitchfest).

Cost

  • Registration - $599 (Early birds go from $199 through $499 depending when you catch it).

  • Average hotel stay - $210 per night (2 nights needed)

 
 

3. Microsoft Ignite - November 4-8, Orlando FL

Why its on the list

What’s a conference list without bringing up one of the big 3? Microsoft made the list because of all the big named shows (Google I/O, DellWorld etc.) it had the most sessions focused on IT people. I don’t think it can be stated enough that although some of us may technically be engineers or developers, those of us who run IT at SMBs tend to do a lot more tech management and a lot less tech building. The conferences by the big names are focused on Enterprise customers who tend to have their own dev teams. This leaves little guys like us scraping to find sessions that are actually relevant to us. I found Ignite to be the most relevant. So if your boss insists you attend a conference thrown by a big name they recognize, this is the show for you. Although you may have more luck convincing them to send you to a smaller show [like tabGeeks ;) ] with a much more reasonable sticker price.

Cost

  • Information not available until Spring (2018 prices were a little over 2k)

 
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2. Interop - May 20-23, Las Vegas NV

Why it's on the list

I have to admit, this conference is really awesome. They call themselves the ‘Unbiased IT Conference’ because they really do try and keep it cool. Good parties, good sessions, good IT. And they work really hard at not pushing the pitching. That being said, the sheer number of sponsors and trade show floor made it hard to feel like I wasn’t walking through a big advertisement.

The sticker price made my CEO cringe, but other than that, and the overwhelming number of people who attended, it was a pretty good show.

Cost

  • All Access Registration - $2,499.

  • Conference only Registration - $1,699

  • Early bird will save you $600

  • Average hotel stay - $128 per night (3 nights needed)

 
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1. tabGeeks - March 6-8, Long Beach CA

Why its on the list

Because it’s the best, duh! If you haven’t noticed yet, I’ve been to a lot of conferences. And using what I loved and hated from all of them is how tabGeeks came to be. It’s the ultimate package for IT people. No dev sessions, no overlapping competing sessions, no getting pitched to, ever. Just 3 days of awesome learning from real experts meeting real people who do exactly what you do.

Our agenda is straightforward, so no having to deliberate between two sessions you want to attend (I hate how many times that’s happened to me). Our speakers are real experts, with real experience who didn’t pay us to be there. Our networking parties are designed for geeky professionals instead of 21 year old club goers.

Cost

  • Registration - $769

  • Average hotel stay - $250 per night (2 nights needed)








Jesse Nowlin2 Comments