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The top 21 tech conferences to attend in 2021

Each January, we scour our calendars to bring to you a list of the can’t-miss tech conferences recommended by our subject matter experts (SMEs). While many of these events will remain virtual this year, they promise to deliver valuable information and networking opportunities for everyone from the C-suite and network admins to developers and engineers.

With travel not required, we hope even more of you get the opportunity to participate in one or more of these must-attend tech conferences.

Mark your calendars now. We’ll “see” you there!

Every year, more than 8,000 developers, engineers, software architects, and tech executives gather for a series of workshops, technical talks, and keynotes on the newest development technologies, languages, and tools. From virtual reality to artificial intelligence (AI) to blockchain to IoT, DeveloperWeek has sessions for developers of every level. And this year, it will include an expanded DevExecWorld – two days of roundtables, educational talks, and networking events for engineering managers, tech executives, and lead developers.

Designed for IT pros, decision makers, implementors, architects, developers, and data professionals, Microsoft Ignite is where to go to explore the latest tools, receive deep technical training, and get your questions answered by Microsoft experts.

This immersive two-day event will feature keynotes, technical education, and hands-on labs, plus the celebrity speakers, musical performances, and all the fun you’d expect from an in-person event. Split into separate sessions based on region, Cisco Live will allow you to personalize your agenda with both live and on-demand sessions, be the first to get the details about new innovations, and network with others in the Cisco community.

This free virtual event includes more than 200 sessions and training workshops across 11 session tracks like Digital Commerce, Content Creation, and Adobe Experience Platform, and more. With presentations from Adobe leaders, industry pros, and visionaries (like past speaker Satya Nadella), attendees can expect engaging sessions, insights into the latest innovations, and what businesses need to know to create engaging experiences in the future.

Red Hat is giving attendees a progressive, three-part experience this year, beginning a free virtual experience April 27–28, where participants can get the latest news, have their questions answered, and learn how open source is changing the future of the enterprise. This is followed by a second free, digital event June 15–16 with breakout sessions, technical content, and live “ask the experts” opportunities. Red Hat Summit closes out September–December with hands-on activities and networking at in-person events, health crisis permitting.

This free, one-day event is a must-attend for IT and security professionals to learn about the security implications of today’s most important IT trends. Digital transformation, remote or hybrid work, 5G – no matter the initiatives your organization is taking, this series of expert panels and presentations will reveal how they might affect the threat surface of your organization, and how you can minimize your cyber risk.

IBM’s flagship event, Think 2021, will combine live discussions and on-demand sessions on technologies like hybrid cloud and AI, plus technical sessions led by real users and discounted certification exams.

RSA Conference offers four days of expert-led sessions and keynotes, solution demos, networking, and in-depth discussion on critical and emerging cybersecurity issues facing your organizations today.

Another free event from Interop Digital, this one is for any organization looking to automate their enterprise technologies and become more agile. Attendees will walk away with a better understanding of how to automate, as well as how to develop a strategy to avoid costly overruns and complexities in implementation.

The annual International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) conference is a favorite among our public sector team. It’s where educators and innovators unite to share big ideas, solve problems, and get introduced to the latest education technology solutions.

After pivoting to virtual last August, Black Hat is planning to be back at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas for 2021. One of the largest cybersecurity events in the world, Black Hat offers technical training, presentations on emerging platforms, and networking with hundreds of solutions providers. A must-attend for security practitioners, executives, analysts, and even hackers looking to stay ahead of the newest security threats and trends.

Hoping to host an in-person event after canceling in 2020, the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS) has pushed back its annual conference until this summer. The Conference & Exhibition includes education, innovation, and collaboration for professionals across the health information and technology ecosystem – from senior executives to providers to payers to IT consultants to entrepreneurs. More than 1,000 exhibitors are expected to set up to demo their software and solutions.

Government CIOs, technology directors, IT administrators, and public sector IT professionals need to consider GMIS MEETS, a multi-day event that typically splices its agenda into management, technical, and specialty tracks, plus a series of labs, for a tailored event experience.

Details about this year’s agenda aren’t available yet, but we’d still advise that you put this event on your calendar now. After virtually hosting attendees from more than 20,000 companies at VMworld 2020, VMware is ready to return to delivering in-person breakout sessions, labs, workshops, and expert panels on its virtualization and cloud technologies.

EDUCAUSE plans to be back in person this year. Specific details haven’t been posted yet, but if you’re in higher education IT, you’ll want to be there.

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