Developer Conference Reviews

Going to conferences is an important part of a Software Engineer’s recipe for success. In the USA, there are so many choices, and very little information on which are worth going to or discussion of what those conferences are like. I will attempt to fill in a few blanks by describing, reviewing, comparing and rating conferences I’ve attended.

The rating I give is not calculated, but rather communicates how much I enjoyed the conference. In the rating I was judging mostly how relevant it is for Software Engineers, but was also undoubtedly influenced by venue location and conference organization.

This blog will be ongoing, updated as I continue to attend conferences. I hope some people find this useful.


This is the first conference I ever went to, in December 2014.

This conference lived up to Salesforce fame of their gatherings being like parties.


At 140,000 participants, this is among the largest conferences in any field.


This conference had events and information for everyone, including developers, engineers, Salesforce administrators, business analysts, sales representatives, finance departments, and more.


There were a few keynote presentations, including one from Hillary Clinton, which took place in a huge hall with thousands upon thousands of participants.

There were also many smaller sessions on many topics. While there were some interesting ones about Javascript, Internet of Things, and others, for the most part they were specific to Salesforce technology such as Apex, Lightning, React in Salesforce, etc.

Several halls with vendors showing off their products and giving off endless amounts of schwag could be found scattered in the many buildings.


Breakfast and lunch are provided to participants in many different points around the conference location. With so many people, long lines would often form, but were easily avoidable if you showed up early. Nothing special, but edible. Usually a sandwich, chips or a salad, and a dessert.

Rating and Final Verdict

Dreamforce was impressive and fun. It encouraged me to think creatively of what can be done within Salesforce, specifically in taking advantage of Salesforce’s platform without investing too much in their native language. For anyone working significantly in Salesforce, obviously this is the conference for you. However, unless you are or want to dedicate your efforts to Salesforce development, this conference isn’t the best to further feed your career as a Software Engineer. This is why I give Dreamforce a


Salesforce World Tour New York 2015

This is like Dreamforce’s tiny poor brother.


At around 20,000 over 3 days, this conference is still fairly large.


Like its big brother Dreamforce, this conference had events and information for everyone, including developers, engineers, Salesforce administrators, business analysts, sales representatives, finance departments, and more.


There were one keynote speaker, as well as a few smaller sessions. The sessions were interesting but limited.

Like Dreamforce, there were vendors showing off their products and giving out schwag, although in this case only at one location.


Lunch was provided inside.

Rating and Final Verdict

If you can go to Dreamforce, do so. You can probably skip these World Tours unless you are really invested in Salesforce development. I certainly will not go again to these World Tours.


GoTo Chicago 2015

Much smaller conference, but full of passion and talent.


I couldn’t find information on attendance, but estimate it was around 300-500 people.


This conference discussed some of the most important and new topics in Software Engineering, including testing, JavaScript, security, and more. One thing I really loved about this conference is that it truly had the feeling suggested by its description, “for developers by developers”.


This conference included 2 normal conference days and 2 workshop days.

The conference days included interesting and motivational keynotes at the beginning and at the end of the day. During the day, there were 6 time slots each with 4 choices of sessions to choose from in 10 different tracks: Agile, Architectures & Trends, Case Studies & Solutions, Data Science, Distributed Systems, Java, JavaScript, Languages, Security, and Testing.

The workshop days included choosing one of four full day subjects. The first day included Low Latency Communications, Design and Implementation of Microservices, Zero to Swift: Build an iOS App with Apples new Language, and Neo4j Fundamentals. The second day included Understanding Latency & Application Responsiveness: Characterization and specific considerations in Java environments, Intro to Apache Spark, Building Reactive Applications at Scale, and Docker: Master the basics – how to speed up your delivery workflow.

I found all the sessions and the workshops incredibly interesting and valuable.


Breakfast and lunch was provided inside. It was served on two tables, which resulted in long lines. Lunch time was a great opportunity to network.

Rating and Final Verdict

GoTo Chicago was the best conference I’ve been to, as far as learning was concerned. The location wasn’t impressive, nor was the vendor presentations. But you’ll learn a lot!


Agile 2015

A medium sized conference for developers, managers, testers, scrum masters, and anyone else interested in the Agile methodology.


This medium sized conference welcomed around 2,300 people. It was very well organized in rooms with lots of room, although like usual popular sessions were filled quickly.


This conference brought many of the top thinkers and practitioners of the Agile methodology. The most recent developments were discussed, as well as why many Agile teams fail, what the roles of an agile team are and why the company and not just the team needs to be agile. More technical discussions were also discussed, such as how development and testing needs to be setup using continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous  deployment in order to support the Agile methodology. Testing and requirement capturing in relation to Agile was also covered.

Certainly the passion and expertise of both the speakers and the participants was evident and made for a great conference.


This conference included 4 and a half days of conference, including keynote talks and breakout sessions.

Some of the breakout sessions were longer, but for the most part were around 50 minutes. Some of the sessions tried to break the mold by being more involving, which was a welcome change. The sessions fell under one of many tracks, including: Agile Bootcamp, Coaching & Mentoring, Collaboration Culture & Teams, Development Practices & Craftsmanship, DevOps, Enterprise Agile, Experience Reports, Government, Keynotes, Leadership, Learning, Lightning Talks, Project Program and Portfolio Management, Research, Special Events, Stalwarts, Testing & Quality, User Experience, Working with Customers.

Like usual, there were several vendors presenting their products and giving out a good amount of schwag.

I found most of the sessions and the workshops incredibly interesting and valuable, although at least one made me feel like I was completely wasting my time.


Breakfast and lunch was provided inside. Breakfast in general was pretty good, involving shorter lines early on and growing as time went on. Lunch was somewhat badly organized, in the same large hall as the vendors. They would close off the hall while vendor participants ate, causing a huge buildup of attendees outside the hall.

Rating and Final Verdict

Agile 2015 was a great conference, even for an Agile newbie such as myself. I came back feeling I’ve heard much about the direction Agile is going and feeling motivated to improve my team’s productivity through Agile.


2 thoughts on “Developer Conference Reviews

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *