The only thing that never changes when it comes to information technology is the fact that it is always changing. Whether it is hardware computing power, cloud computing, the way people communicate in a mobile interconnected world, or the coming Internet of Things revolution, information technology is always morphing, adapting, and evolving. What you know today will not be good enough five years from now—or perhaps even next year.
Consequently, information technology professionals must continuously educate and re-educate themselves. In the Microsoft universe, one way to stay on top of the latest trends is to attend one of its premiere conferences. For 2017, Microsoft has reduced the number of big conferences to three, each exploring a different angle of the information technology industry and Microsoft's place in it.
Three conferences plus one
Microsoft's conferences are always popular and well-attended, so if you want to make to one, you'd better register and reserve your spot ASAP. With only three premiere conferences in 2017, the shows are spread out, which will relieve some pressure if you plan to attend more than one. The fourth conference on this list is not considered a premiere event, but it may actually be more important to your future as an information technology professional than the others.
- Microsoft Build 2017, May 10-12 in Seattle, at the Washington State Convention Center: This is the annual conference for developers and engineers and generally focuses on the latest development tools offered by Microsoft. According to the website, the event is already sold out, but the keynote and all of the breakout sessions should be available online.
- Microsoft Inspire 2017, July 9-13 in Washington, D.C., at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center: In the past, this event was known as the Worldwide Partner Conference and is attended mostly by Microsoft's corporate partners. The idea is for partners to meet, network, collaborate, and innovate. Registration is still open at the time of this writing, but the sessions will be available online if you can't attend.
- Microsoft Envision 2017, September 25-29 in Orlando: Microsoft has moved the old Ignite conference and combined it with this event. This conference is generally attended by business leaders for the purpose of getting the big picture on information technology trends and how Microsoft intends to participate. Registration and some details are not available yet, but it's safe to assume that this event will sell out quickly.
- 2017 Microsoft Data Insights Summit, June 12-13 in Seattle, at the Washington State Convention Center: This is a user conference for business analysts trying to gain deeper insight into the data generated by their enterprises. In other words, turning data into information. Registration is currently open. Presumably, the sessions will be available online, but the website is silent on that prospect at this early date.
Keeping up with changes and innovations in information technology, especially when you have your nose to the grindstone working on day-to-day tasks, takes determination and effort. Attending one of these premiere Microsoft conferences will help you keep up and perhaps ever surpass your competitors. However, even if you can't physically attend, you should check out the breakout sessions online—that is where the real education takes place anyway.
- The Universal Windows Platform flexes its muscles at Build 2016
- Microsoft Ignite: Nadella outlines 4 pillars for democratizing AI
- Democratizing AI: Are you willing to share your most intimate secrets with Cortana?
- Microsoft adds intelligent cloud collaboration features to Office 365
- 2017 tech conferences and events to add to your calendar
Are you planning to attend one of these conferences in person or do you prefer to attend online? Share your thoughts and opinions with your peers at TechRepublic in the discussion thread below.
Mark W. Kaelin has been writing and editing stories about the IT industry, gadgets, finance, accounting, and tech-life for more than 25 years. Most recently, he has been a regular contributor to BreakingModern.com, aNewDomain.net, and TechRepublic.