The best free and low-fee conferences

Attending educational events and conferences is a necessary right of passage for IT professionals. You can’t count yourself among the career professional set if you don’t set yourself a learning and networking schedule. It’s important time to get out of your own head, your comfort zone and learn something new, anticipate the future and level set against the competition. Doing so doesn’t have to be expensive. Anyone can afford to do it.

Some in the list below are technical and some are business. You need to attend a mix. In general the business ones are going to cost you a few dollars because they aren’t trying to sell you. While the technical ones are generally free, remember that there will be a vendor slant because the vendors paid the bills to make the event happen.

I surveyed my contacts, via LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and mailing list amounting to near 15,000 contact points to ask which low-cost conferences they thought provided the best value. The top one without doubt was ChannelPro SMB Forum. It’s unequivocally #1 however it was followed very closely by the SMB TechFest. The rest all have their fans too. I’ve been to many of these over the years and each has its strong point. You can’t go wrong attending any of them. Other than those top 2 in no particular order here’s what people said are the best.

Event Website Price Location
ChannelPro SMB Forum free Multi-city
SMB TechFest free Orange County, California
Spiceworld $199 Austin Texas
IT Owners Compass $299 earlybird Chicago Illinois
ASCII free Multi-city
Small Biz Thoughts Community Meetings Membership or $99 Multi-city
Datto Roadshow free Multi-city
Silicon Valley Code Camp free San Jose, California
CompTia ChannelCon membership Las Vegas, Nevada
SQL Saturday free Multi-city
Microsoft Ignite The Tour free Multi-city
Xchange free Las Nevas, Nevada
IoTSSA free Multi-city
Dynamics Saturday free Multi-city
CES free Las Vegas, Nevada
Azure Bootcamp free Multi-city
SharePoint Saturday free Multi-city
Any vendor specific conference or expo See the events page of your favorite vendor or ask your rep Free usually Multi-city


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