Whether you’re hoping to speak at a conference, looking to network or just there to learn, attending a conference can be beneficial to you and your career in a number of ways.
Networking is a major perk to attending conferences for both freelancers and those employed by a company or agency. For a freelancer or agency, these connections you build can lead to future clients. If you work for a company, growing your network is still valuable for professional gains.
The wide range of content you absorb at a conference is helpful for your personal development. Not only can you learn about the technical topics that directly tie in with your position but you might also learn about new tools or skills like project management, marketing, design and so on.
Conferences can be expensive to attend – between the ticket prices, travel and time away from work, it’s important to make sure attending one will be worth your while. Of course, getting help to pay for it can ease some of the monetary burden.
With so many conferences out there, which one(s) should you attend?
We’ve compiled the following list of conferences any WordPress developer might enjoy to help with your travel & conference plans for 2019.
If you’ve been working with WordPress for awhile you’re probably already familiar with WordCamps. Volunteers put on these weekend events for the WordPress community featuring presentations, talks, workshops, networking and social events. If attending one of the larger WordCamps in the US or Europe isn’t for you, chances are you can find a local WordCamp not too far away. WordCamps are an affordable way to network with the WordPress community, learn from or apply to speak at and hold great value for Developers.
WordCamp Europe 2019
June 20-22, 2019
WordCamp Europe is one of the most attended WordCamps all year with 2085 attendees in 2018 plus an additional 808 via livestream. It’s an opportunity to meet people you otherwise might not in your local community and see a new city. If you’re not convinced, the Delicious Brains team will be attending in 2019! 🎉 (If you couldn’t attend or didn’t catch everything, check out our WordCamp Europe 2019 Recap)
Call for Speakers: The deadline for their call for speakers closed January 7. It opened around October for those hoping to pitch to speak in 2020.
WordCamp US 2019
Nov 1-3, 2019
St. Louis, Missouri
Price: $40 USD*
WordCamp US 2019 and 2020 will be hosted in St. Louis, Missouri. The annual conference is the largest WordCamp in the US with around 2000 attendees and hosts Matt Mullenweg’s annual State of the Word address. It’s a fantastic opportunity to hear from Matt himself what’s next for WordPress. (Like maybe the next Gutenberg?)
*Tickets haven’t gone on sale yet but you can subscribe for updates to find out when they do.
Call for Speakers: TBD (usually around May or June)
Your Local WordCamp
Various Dates & Locations
Price: $40 USD
Check out WordCamp Central to find a local WordCamp near you. This is a chance to have an impact in your local WordPress community and interact with people who may live closer to you.
One we might suggest if you miss WCUS is WordCamp Miami which our team attended in 2015. For the past few years about 850 people have attended and they also stream the conference online. Subscribe for updates to find out when they open up their call for speakers.
If you miss or can’t attend WCEU, the first ever WordCamp Nordic in Helsinki, Finland is expecting 600 attendees and will feature Contributor Day on March 7th followed by the main event on March 8th. This event is a good option for those living in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden. Their call for speakers closed January 7th.
September 11-13, 2019
Call for Speakers: While it doesn’t look like they hold a call for speakers, you can expect talented speakers from the WordPress and business community.
Price: $14-$23 USD in 2018
WordSesh by WP Sessions is a virtual conference for WordPress developers and a really good option if you can’t attend a conference in person. Viewing party locations are listed on their website and you can even submit your city to be listed if you’d like to host a viewing party. Built-in chat opportunities are offered as a Hallway track alternative so you can still take advantage of the networking opportunities. Check back in on their website to see when they update with information for 2019.
Call for Speakers: Unknown
Dec 5-6, 2019
Call for Speakers: dotJS operates mainly on an invite-only process for speakers but you can submit a talk for consideration here. You can submit a “lightning talk” (four minutes) or a “regular” length talk (18 minutes). The deadline to submit a talk is six weeks before the event for a regular talk and two weeks before for a lightning talk. They encourage you to submit as soon as you can though as the speaking slots can fill up at any time.
Price: $400 USD each in 2018
React Conf, the “official Facebook React Event”, hasn’t released any details about a 2019 conference. The 2018 conference featured 21 speakers over three days this past October. Tickets are released in a lottery format so be sure to check back for your chance at one.
Call for Speakers: Unknown
April 12, 2019
If you’re interested in React, you’ll be keen to attend the biggest React conference worldwide, React Amsterdam, alongside 1300 others. It features two tracks and over 25 speakers from around the world. They also host a training day with workshops on advanced React, GraphQL and React Native.
Call for Speakers: Interested in applying to speak at the conference? Apply soon, their call for speakers closes January 15, 2019.
May 21-22, 2019 (workshops) May 23-24, 2019 (conference)
ReactEurope calls themselves “the original European React Conference” and is ideal for front-end and full stack developers, or anyone who’s interested in React. The goal of the conference is to use technology from the React ecosystem to inspire and explore new futuristic ideas.
Call for Speakers: The deadline is January 10, 2019 if you have an idea for a talk that you would like to submit.
January 24, 2019
San Francisco, California
Price: $199-$949 USD
Call for Speakers: The Call for Speakers has closed, you can see the speakers and schedule here.
Forward JS Ottawa
April 9-12, 2019
Forward JS also runs a conference in Ottawa. You can sign up on their website to receive details as they get released.
Call for Speakers: You can submit a talk or workshop proposal here, no deadline is listed.
July 11-13, 2019
Laracon US 2019
July 24-25, 2019
New York City, New York
Price: $499 USD
Laracon VII has announced it will take place at the PlayStation Theater in New York City. Over 800 web developers attend the annual conference that focuses on the Laravel PHP framework. This year’s conference will feature a single track, lightning talks (30 mins) and networking opportunities with other developers who enjoy building applications with Laravel.
Call for Speakers: So far, speakers include creator of Laravel, Taylor Otwell, creator of Vue.js, Evan You and others. Interested in speaking? Submit a talk, there’s no deadline listed so it’s probably a good idea to apply soon.
Laracon EU 2019
Location: Laracon EU – Amsterdam, Laracon EU South – TBD
Price: €449-€529 in 2018
Preparations for Laracon EU 2019 and Laracon EU South 2019 have just started with plans for Laracon EU to be in Amsterdam, Netherlands and still no location set for Laracon EU South. Gilbert and Ash were two of the 700+ attendees at Laracon EU in 2018. A talk about Crypto in PHP 7.2 even inspired Ash to write about PHP encryption methods when he returned.
Keep an eye on the Laracon EU website for more details as they emerge.
Call for Speakers: Opened in March for last year’s conference.
Dutch PHP Conference
June 6-8, 2019
Beginner and experienced PHP Developers alike will find value at the Dutch PHP Conference in Amsterdam, Netherlands. You’ll get the chance to network with some of the 600+ other attendees and hear from over 50 speakers.
Call for Speakers: Their call for papers is on until January 28th, 2019.
International PHP Conference
June 3-7, 2019
Travel to Berlin for The International PHP Conference and meet with around 350 like-minded PHP developers and renowned experts. There will be over 70 workshops, sessions and keynotes to learn from. Over 369 people attended in 2018.
Call for Speakers: The call for speakers closed in October 2018. Take a look at their speaker line-up here for 2019.
Feb 7-9, 2019
Price: $219.95-$389.90 USD
Organized by the South Florida PHP Community, Sunshine PHP includes a full day of PHP tutorials and workshops followed by two days where five keynotes and 30 talks will span over three tracks. Meet over 200 other PHP developers and hear about the latest news and technologies in the PHP community.
Oct 23-24, 2019
In its sixth year, the php[world] conference is “an environment where Drupal, WordPress, Laravel, Magento, Symfony and Zend Framework developers come together to collaborate and build a stronger community.” Join them as they celebrate PHP turning 25 this fall 🎉
Call for Speakers: The call for speakers has closed for php[world] 2019 but you can check out their lineup here.
Dec 4, 2019
From the same organizers as dotJS, dotCSS is the largest CSS conference in Europe. It’s a one day conference to learn from and connect with the community (over 800 people!). You can expect to meet other front-end developers, back-end developers and web designers. Check out the video on their homepage from their 2017 conference to get a peek into what you can expect.
Call for Speakers: Like dotJS, dotCSS speakers are generally invite-only. If you’d like to share some of your CSS knowledge, you can still submit a talk for consideration here. If you’re thinking about it, apply soon, they mention that slots can fill up at any time. You can expect to hear back from them within two weeks of your application.
CSS Dev Conf
CSS Dev Conf, a CSS conference for both web designers and developers, skipped 2018 but is supposed to return in 2019. You can keep up with any news surrounding this conference via their blog page or sign up for their newsletter updates.
Call for Speakers: TBD
June 6-7, 2019
Salt Lake City, Utah
Price: $350-$700 USD
Front Utah is for anyone looking to grow their career in product management or UX. About 1000 people attend this conference annually and the event usually sells out. Their talks have different target audiences with some directed more towards juniors while others more towards mid-level or leadership. Whatever your career level, they encourage anyone involved in digital products research and production to attend.
Call for Speakers: It doesn’t look like a call for speakers has opened up yet for 2019. If you’re interested in submitting a talk, subscribe to their newsletter at the bottom of their website to get the details when they’re released.
June 3-5, 2019
San Francisco, California
Do you work within an enterprise or for an enterprise software vendor? Enterprise UX is a three-day conference in San Francisco that attracts over 500 other enterprise design and research leaders. Enterprise UX isn’t only for UX designers but for “people who care about delivering great enterprise experiences.” They haven’t announced their prices yet but you can sign up for their mailing list to get access to the early bird pricing.
Call for Speakers: Last year, Enterprise UX moved to a nomination process rather than a submission process for speakers. They haven’t mentioned if they’ll use that same process again this year so check back regularly if you’d like to nominate yourself or someone else.
FITC stands for Future Innovation Technology Creativity and they host events throughout the year for digital creators.
Feb 18-19, 2019
Prices: €99-€449 for Freelancers
There are still tickets available for FITC Amsterdam on February 18-19, 2019. You can expect various presentations and panels discussing creative, technical and business topics in the media.
Call for Speakers: It appears the speakers have already been selected but you can submit a proposal here if you’re interested in speaking at other FITC events too.
April 29 – May 1, 2019
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Prices: $99-$899 CAD
Can’t make it to FITC Amsterdam or live in North America? Join 1200+ others at FITC Toronto is April 29th to May 1st, 2019 and covers topics in design, web development, media and innovation in creative technologies.
Call for Speakers: To apply to speak, fill out this proposal. There’s no deadline listed so be sure to apply soon.
Web Unleashed 2019
Sept 13-14, 2019
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Prices: $329-$1098 CAD in 2018
Network with other front-end developers at another conference from FITC, Web Unleashed 2019 next September in Toronto. They’ll have up to five tracks each day to choose from so your biggest problem will be deciding which one to follow.
Call for Speakers: Fill out this application form if you’d like to submit a pitch for Web Unleashed 2019. No deadline is listed.
July 11-12, 2019
Prices: $400 USD Individual and $800 Corporate
If you’re a software developer and enjoy quick talks in a beautiful venue, Deconstruct at McCaw Hall in Seattle may be of interest to you. This small “language and technology-agnostic conference” limits talks to 25 minutes and only has one track, so you don’t have to worry about missing out on anything. Deconstruct is unique in that, as their website says, they ”go unusually deep into technical topics, connect seemingly-unrelated topics, or both”.
Call for Speakers: Most speakers for Deconstruct are invited, but they usually reserve some slots for proposed talks. Subscribe to their mailing list to find out when the CFP opens for 2019.
An Event Apart
Various dates and locations (see below)
Prices: $600 – $1500 USD
An Event Apart runs three-day conferences in different cities throughout the year. Web & product designers and front-end developers will enjoy this conference that focuses on digital design, UX, content and code.
They put on conferences in six locations to choose from:
March 4-6, 2019 – Seattle, Washington
May 6-8, 2019 – Boston, Massachusetts
July 29-31, 2019 – Washington, DC
August 26-28, 2019 – Chicago, Illinois
October 28-30, 2019 – Denver, Colorado
December 9-11, 2019 – San Francisco, California
Call for Speakers: Each individual event page mentions that they’re still working on the final agenda and lists speakers that have been confirmed. It doesn’t look like they had a CFP.
Various dates and locations (see below)
A suggestion from our reader, @leoloso (thanks!), SmashingConf, is put on by Smashing Magazine and focuses on front-end and UX but covers everything web related. You can expect about 300-400 others in attendance and to gain actionable insights for your work.
There are four conferences in several locations:
Call for Speakers: Unknown
Abstractions, another reader suggestion from Kim White, is “a multi-disciplinary conference” where you’ll find other designers, developers, DevOps, managers, quality assurance, support, and community leaders. They announced on twitter that tickets will be going on sale soon. The first conference in 2016 sold out with 1700 attendees.
Call for Speakers: They’ll start accepting talks in February 2019.
Not returning in 2019
LoopConf was a WordPress Developers conference that Pete spoke at last year and really enjoyed. We found out a few months ago that LoopConf wouldn’t be returning again. LoopConf, you will be missed😣
A Day of Rest
A Day of Rest was a WordPress Rest API Conference. It didn’t return for 2018 and I haven’t found any mention of a 2019 conference. Have you heard if this conference is returning? Let us know!
WooConf was the official event for the WooCommerce Community and didn’t return in 2018. Their website mentions they haven’t made any decisions beyond 2018 but with no word yet, it doesn’t appear there will be a 2019 conference. They do support meetups through the year so check out if there’s an upcoming one near you.
Making the Case to Your Boss
As a freelancer, the only approval you need to attend a conference is your own. You can see how it benefits your business directly through the connections you’re forming and lessons you’re learning.
But how do you pitch a conference to your boss if you aren’t self-employed?
Try to approach this from your manager’s perspective. What would you want to know if someone were pitching a conference attendance to you?
The key is giving your manager all the necessary information about the conference they might want to know, making it easy for them to say yes.
In your pitch, be sure to include:
- What conference is it? Include a link to the website
- What topics will be covered at the conference? How are these topics relevant to your job?
- Where is it?
- What are the dates? (Also mention additional travel dates if required)
- Cost of admission (can you take advantage of early-bird pricing?)
- Additional cost estimates like hotel, flight, meals etc.
It’s crucial to express how it will benefit both you and the company. Explain how attending a conference will allow you to:
- Expand your network, therefore the company is expanding its network
- Learn from other professionals in your field which adds to your personal development
- Gain technical knowledge that you can share with your immediate team
If you’re unsure on what conference to start with, WordCamps’ affordable ticket prices make them an ideal conference to pitch to your boss.
No budget for conferences this year? Keep an eye out for scholarships offered by the conference of your choice or pitch yourself to speak at one. Conferences often cover at least the cost of attending as part of compensating you for your time.
It’s important to find the conference that’s right for your situation. If you don’t have the budget for travel or are unsure if attending a conference is right for you, try starting with a local WordCamp. If you can travel, attending a major WordCamp such as WordCamp US or WordCamp Europe is a worthwhile way to connect with others in the WordPress community.
There’s a conference for almost every development topic. Make sure you’re excited about the content! You’ll get more out of the conference if you’re passionate about the subject matter (not just the destination ;)).
What conference are you looking forward to most this year? Are there any conferences you’re planning to attend that weren’t in this list? Let us know in the comments below.