The Free Technology Conference
Large conferences such as JavaOne or Wordwide Developer Conference can cost over $1,000, just for the pass alone. When you add air fair and hotel accommodations this can easily reach over $2,500! This is all well and fine if your company is going to reimburse you. But during these tough times companies are making all sorts of cuts.
There are plenty of regional conferences such as MountainWest RubyConf and Gold Gate Ruby Conference and conferences tours such as No Fluff, Just Stuff and Future of Web Apps that are more reasonably priced. But even at $99, there are cheaper alternative options!
Find the local user group for the technologies that you are interested. User groups typically meet up once a month to discuss latest trends and demo recent products. No matter where you live, there is probably a Java or Python user group. If there isn’t one start one up and coordinate using blogs, forums, meetup, and Twitter.
In addition to user groups, I’ve attended to barcamps and unconferences. There are all sort of regional barcamps organized around all a variety of topics. When the iPhone first came out, I attended a barcamp in the Adobe office in San Francisco were geeks got together to experiment, collaborate, and program.
If you live close to a university, the Computer Science department might offer a colloquium series where they bring on different speakers, from entrepreneurs to visiting professors.
In addition to user group meet ups, barcamps, and academic presentations, there are tons of video presentations from top quality presentations online. Many of the presentation put on by Google are posted on YouTube under Google Tech Talks. You can find some of the RailsConf 2009 presentations on Blip. Confreaks has a slew of videos from all sorts of Ruby conferences such as Goruco and MountainWest RubyConf. If you want to catchup with the content of from a recent conference, but for whatever reason you are not able to attend, don’t feel left out. Most presenters put up their slides of their presentations, and many conference organizer put up video of the presentations.
These are just a few ways that you can keep up with the developments your field.