Unless you’re deep into hacker movies, you’ll know the myth of the lone-wolf developer is long over. In the world we live in (and even in the Metaverse), developers thrive by connecting with other programmers, who may then become business partners or facilitators when looking for a job. Networking is a crucial aspect of any professional career — CNBC estimates that 80% of jobs are filled thanks to networking, instead of through a traditional job opening system — and developers, one of the most sought-for roles in the private sector, can also profit from it.
There are many ways to network efficiently — salespeople will attend face-to-face meetings, and hiring managers will set up special events at a company’s office to lure candidates. But their approach is generalistic — they may try to engage a broad group of people instead of a minor, niche one. And when it comes to programming, finding a space to share specific knowledge with someone else — to the extent of sharing thoughts on a particular language of programming in a nuanced, hard to grasp way — can be a challenge.
That’s why conferences are a programmer's uttermost networking hack. Programming conferences, both in the old-fashioned face-to-face mode and in the pandemic-standard online manner, may allow devs to attend talks or network with other tech enthusiasts who are also knee-deep into a field. It’s fair to say there are many places to share thoughts, express doubts or connect with experts — namely forums or question-and-answer sites such as Stack Overflow, which was even christened with witty programmer humour. But conferences, with their simultaneous (thus synchronous) approach, are one of the best spaces in which to network in real-time with developers.
In a nutshell, conferences are places to connect with people who want to dive deep into specific know-how about a programming language, about open-source data queries, about an oddball tech stack or about the latest features you can roll out with Kubernetes.
There may be a programmer shortage in the market, but there are conferences by the truckload. We selected the best ones that will take place in 2022 — so you can choose whether to fly into a sunny Balearic city or just stay in an Animal Crossing cyberspace to attend one.
1. KubeCon + CloudNativeCon, Valencia and online
If you’re too old (and have laid hands on too many mainframe server racks before) to call yourself a “cloud-native,” but you’re still a cloud-native enthusiast, you should check the joint KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe conferences. The European version of Cloud Native Computing Foundation’s flagship conference gathers adopters and technologists from leading open source and cloud-native communities in Valencia, Spain, from May 16–20 but can also be attended virtually. On par with that amusing “Microsoft loves Linux'' motto that Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella first unveiled — to our surprise — in 2015, KubeCon is that rare occasion in which Big Tech’s seemingly rival forces join for a friendly, buddy-buddy talk: the event’s Platinum sponsor ticket is shared between companies such as Amazon Web Services, Red Hat, Cisco, and Ubuntu’s own Canonical. If you want to network with other Kubernetes nerds, you would also love to listen to keynote speakers on CoreDNS, Envoy, etcd, KubeEdge, Litmus, OpenTelemetry, or Thanos, then KubeCon + CloudNativeCon is for you.
2. GraphQL Conf, online
GraphQL, the open-source data query and manipulation language for APIs, developed internally by Facebook and then released publicly in 2015, has a particular online and free conference: GraphQL Conf. The panel focuses on production, tooling, application, & spec. Its speakers come from all backgrounds and, in previous editions, have included engineers from GitHub, Postman or Prisma. Make sure to check their website for updates regarding 2022’s edition.
3. EuroBSDCon, Vienna
EuroBSDCon is the conference for people working on 4.4BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution) based operating systems and related projects. Talks are full of nuanced BSD lingo: with titles such as “Porting an OpenBSD Daemon and its Security Concepts from C to Rust My experiment to combine strengths of Rust and OpenBSD software,” or “GhostBSD as a Game Winner for Daily Use?,” it's the kind of conference that only experts can attend, but that even experts will learn from. For obvious reasons, EuroBSDCon’s 2021 edition wound up being online, but the 2022 edition returns to Vienna, Austria and will be held on September 15–18.
4. Big Data Expo, Utrecht
Big Data Expo, to be held in September in Utrecht, the Netherlands, claims to be the “first platform” to unite the supply and demand of the big data sector. The conference's only focus is implementing and rendering big data. The handpicked exhibitors collect, generate, analyse, optimise, and apply data on several levels. Big Data Expo’s visitor profile details that the attendees come from two main groups: you can either stumble upon a fellow Big Data technical nerd or bump into a CEO concerned about her company’s dwindling sales. If anything, that’s a golden opportunity to network with someone who could green-light a job offer. Big Data Expo will take place on September 14–15.
5. Deserted Island DevOps, Online
You thought the Metaverse talk was all smoke and mirrors? Not the Animal Crossing metaverse, at least. In 2021, the DevOps-oriented conference Deserted Island DevOps 2021 took place… on an island inside the hit Nintendo Switch video game. The 2021 edition of this free, community-run conference is available on YouTube. Check their adorable website for updates on the 2022 edition.