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 2020.
If you’ve been working with WordPress for a while 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 2020
June 4-6, 2020
WordCamp Europe is one of the most attended WordCamps all year with 2,734 attendees in 2019 (if you didn’t get the chance to attend, here’s what you missed). 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 WCEU again in 2020! 🎉
Call for Speakers: The deadline for their call for speakers was January 6. It opened in October for those hoping to pitch to speak in 2021.
WordCamp US 2020
October 27-29, 2020
St. Louis, Missouri
Price: $50 USD*
WordCamp US 2020 will once again be hosted in St. Louis, Missouri. The annual conference is the largest WordCamp in the US with around 2,000 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. The SpinupWP team attended in 2019, read about our experience as a Silver sponsor.
*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)
WordCamp Asia 2020
Feb. 21-23, 2020
Price: $26 USD (Sold out for 2020)
Wordcamp Asia 2020 is Asia’s first flagship WordCamp. It’s been a much-anticipated event with the first batch of 200 tickets selling out in under 48 hours! Matt Mullenweg will be giving the keynote address to the 1,000 developers, designers, entrepreneurs and other enthusiasts that are expected to attend.
Call for Speakers: Speakers have already been selected, find out more about them in the announcement posts.
Your Local WordCamp
Various Dates & Locations
Price: $50 USD
Check out WordCamp Central to find a local WordCamp near you. This is a chance to have an impact on 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.
For those who couldn’t attend WCEU, last year was the debut of WordCamp Nordic in Helsinki, Finland and sold over 600 tickets. It was a complete success but there aren’t any details yet as to if there will be another one in 2020. It featured a Contributor Day followed by the main event the next day. Keep an eye on their website for details.
Sometimes the smaller WordCamps can be more valuable. Smaller than WordCamp London, Iain found WordCamp Brighton extremely useful. Dates for 2020 haven’t been announced yet but keep an eye on their Twitter for details as they’re released 👀 It was held in August in 2019.
The first-ever WordCamp Glasgow is coming up on February 8, 2020 at Project Ability in the heart of City Centre. Gilbert will be attending and rumour is he has Delicious Brains and SpinupWP stickers to give away.
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. Plus, replays are available to WPSessions.com members the day after each event has ended.
Call for Speakers: The call for speakers for WordSesh Asia/Pacific has opened! Check back on their site to see when the call for speakers for the remaining events has opened.
Price: €199-€299 in 2019
Call for Speakers: dotJS operates mainly on an invite-only process for speakers but you can still submit a talk for consideration. You have the option to 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. They haven’t added the dotJS 2020 as an option yet so be sure to check back.
Dates & Location: TBD
Price: $400 USD each in 2019
React Conf, the “official Facebook React Event”, hasn’t released any details about a 2020 conference. The 2018 conference featured 30 speakers over two 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 17, 2020
If you’re interested in React, you’ll be keen to attend the biggest React conference worldwide, React Amsterdam, alongside 1,500 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 31, 2020.
May 12-13, 2020 (workshops) May 14-15, 2020 (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 the React ecosystem. 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 19, 2020 if you have an idea for a talk that you would like to submit.
July 8-10, 2020
Laracon US 2020
July 28-29, 2020
Price: $499 USD in 2019 (tickets likely going on sale in January or February 2020)
Over 800 web developers attend the annual conference that focuses on the Laravel PHP framework. The conference features a single track, lightning talks (30 mins) and networking opportunities with other developers who enjoy building applications with Laravel.
Laracon EU 2020
May 28, 2020 (Madrid) & September 3-4, 2020 (Amsterdam)
Location: Madrid, Spain & Amsterdam, Netherlands
Price: €199 (Blind-bird tickets) – €699
Locations for Laracon EU were announced last month:
🥳 Save the dates
📅 May 28th 2020 Madrid
📅 Sept. 3rd–4th 2020 Amsterdam
— Laracon EU (@LaraconEU) December 9, 2019
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: The deadline to submit a talk for Laracon EU Madrid 2020 is February 1, 2020.
Dutch PHP Conference
Price: €325-425 in 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. Their helpful speaker schedule includes the level of difficulty of the topic being discussed.
Call for Speakers: Their call for papers for 2020 hasn’t opened yet.
International PHP Conference
May 25-29, 2020
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.
Call for Speakers: It appears they don’t open a call for speakers. Take a look at their speaker line-up here for 2020.
Feb 6-8, 2020
Price: $239.95-$339.95 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 (and escape the cold of winter while you’re at it!).
Price: $495+ in 2019
In its seventh 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.”
Call for Speakers: The website hasn’t been updated with information for 2020 yet.
Price: €99 in 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.
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. You can expect to hear back from them within two weeks of your application.
May 28-29, 2020
Salt Lake City, Utah
Price: $250-$700 USD
Front Utah is for anyone looking to grow their career in product management or UX. About 1,000 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 product research and production to attend.
Call for Speakers: It doesn’t look like a call for speakers has opened up yet for 2020. If you’re interested in submitting a talk, subscribe to their newsletter at the bottom of their website to hear the details when they’re released.
June 10-12, 2020
San Francisco, California
Prices: $1,295-$2,590 USD
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.”
Call for Speakers: In 2018, Enterprise UX moved to a nomination process rather than a submission process for speakers. They haven’t mentioned if they’ll continue to use that same process 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 24-25, 2020
There are still tickets available for the 13th annual FITC Amsterdam on February 24-25, 2020. 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 if you’re interested in speaking at other FITC events too.
April 19-21, 2020
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Prices: $99-$1199 CAD
Can’t make it to FITC Amsterdam or live in North America? Join 1,200+ others at FITC Toronto April 19th to 21st, 2020. It 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 2020
Oct 5-6, 2020
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Prices: $329-$1098 CAD in 2019
Network with other front-end developers at another conference from FITC, Web Unleashed 2020 next October 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 2020. No deadline is listed.
Prices: $400 USD Individual and $800 Corporate (tickets aren’t on sale yet)
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 2020.
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:
April 13-15, 2020 – Washington, DC
May 11-13, 2020 – Seattle, Washington
June 29 – July 1, 2020 – Boston, Massachusetts
August 26-28, 2020 – Minneapolis, Minnesota
October 5-7, 2020 – Orlando, Florida
December 14-16, 2020 – 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 one of our readers, @leoloso (thanks!), SmashingConf, is put on by Smashing Magazine and focuses on front-end and UX but covers everything web. 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. Their Twitter account says it will be returning in 2020 but no details have been released yet. The first conference in 2016 sold out with 1,700 attendees.
Call for Speakers: The call for speakers hasn’t been announced yet but it opened in February in 2019.
Not returning in 2020
PressNomics announced in a blog post that there are no plans as of now for another PressNomics, though it sounds like that could change:
This PressNomics is the last PressNomics, just as each before was the last event – until it wasn’t. The quality of our event has always been more important to us than the frequency.
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 of which 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 on this list? Let us know in the comments below.