Each year, hundreds of tech and IT conferences deliver access to top professionals, sneak peeks of the latest technologies, and unique networking opportunities that can help you advance your career.
Of course, this past year saw many annual conferences move online to virtual convention centers, and, unfortunately, many other conferences cancelled altogether. In 2021, we should expect more online-only events. The upside of these virtual events:
- You can hear directly from leaders in a more intimate way, without the hassle of travel.
- The content might be spread out or recorded for later, so you can engage with it when you’re ready.
- Many of these events are free. Even those with attendance fees are thousands of dollars less than in-person events. (Finally attend a pricey conference you’ve never been able to expense!)
This year as every year, we research and curate a list of the top IT and tech conferences. We’re excited to share this year’s top conferences with you. This list is ordered by date and will be updated regularly, so check back often.
Feel free to reach out if you would like to add a tech/IT conference to the directory. To be considered, please email all details including the conference name, dates of the event, location, and a link to the event’s website to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(This article is part of our IT Conferences & Events Guide. Use the right-hand menu to navigate.)
Top IT Conferences of 2021
Date: January 5-8, 2021
Location: Las Vegas, NV & Online
For over 50 years, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) has been the starting point for the newest technologies and innovations in the world. Held in Las Vegas, CES has been the global gathering place for all those involved in consumer technologies and the next generation of innovations, showcasing products in the areas of 3D Printing, Augmented & Virtual Reality, Computer Hardware/Software/Services, and more.
This year’s event is mostly virtual, with far fewer in-person attendees and events. Still, the key speakers are the top caliber you expect from CES, including:
- Mary Barra, CEO General Motors
- Anne Chow, CEO AT&T Business
- Keith Enright, Chief Privacy Officer Google
- Cathy Engelbert, Commissioner WNBA
- Adrienne Lofton, VP North America Marketing Nike
Date: February 11, May 13, July 15 & October 14
Digital Workplace Experience (DWX) is turning their usual three-day event into a series of free virtual events throughout the year. The focus of these events is on successful digital workplaces and how your company can become one. This event has been running for years, but it’s our hunch that it’s taken on even more meaning and interest in the past year.
Who should attend?
- Intranet, Knowledge and Collaboration Leaders
- L&D, HR and Employee Experience Executives
- Communications & Company Culture Owners
Each of the four event days has its own theme:
- February 11, 2021: Navigating the R/Evolution of Work
- May 13, 2021: Collaboration & the Knowledge Ecosystem in Modern Organizations
- July 15, 2021: Employee Experience, Digital Literacy & Workforce Skills
- October 14, 2021: Future Workplace: Emerging Technology, Innovation & Intelligent Platforms
Date: March 2021
Cost: Free to $399, depending on your membership
SHARE is an event handcrafted by volunteers to help professionals expand knowledge, enhance skills and increase organizational efficiencies by focusing on SHARE’s three main tenets: Educate, Network, Influence. Your one-stop shop for Enterprise IT education, SHARE provides an opportunity for attendees to enjoy a longstanding tradition of advancing the enterprise technology industry through interactive meetups and networking events along with keynotes and sessions.
This year’s event will be spread over each week in March. Depending on your interests and career path, look forward to sessions on enterprise topics like:
- Open Source on Z
- Much more!
Date: March 23-25, 2021
Join MIT Technology Review for the latest in its esteemed EmTech Events Series: EmTech Digital 2021. This is the esteemed media outlet’s annual event on everything AI. The theme of this year’s artificial intelligence event is the age of implementation. EmTech Digital 2021 is exactly for those companies who want to do AI right.
Join industry leaders, executives and experts as they examine last year’s amazing advances in AI and discuss the most pressing issues in AI adoption, ethics and trust. Featured speakers include:
- Anima Anandkumar, Director of Machine Learning Research, NVIDIA
- Madeleine Clare Elish, Senior Research Scientist, Ethical AI, Google
- Dario Gil, Director, IBM Research
- Xuedong Huang, Technical Fellow and Chief Technology Officer, Azure Cognitive Services, Microsoft
- Andrew Ng, Founder and CEO, Landing AI
Date: April 26-27, 2021
Location: Online, Americas
At the Gartner Digital Workplace Summit, the world’s leading IT advisory company offers you the chance to be the first to hear about emerging trends and latest predictions surrounding the future of work, provides an action plan to build the digital workplace of tomorrow, and offers real-world solutions for leveraging these technologies your organization.
Gartner’s Digital Workplace Summit is geared specifically towards the roles of digital workplace leaders, architects, IT leadership, and application leaders. The 2021 conference’s four tracks are:
- Track A: Build, Adapt and Execute a Digital Workplace Strategy
- Track B: Leverage the Right Innovative Technologies for Your Organization
- Track C: Build a Secure Foundation for Seamless Operations
- Track D: Create a Frictionless Employee Experience
Date: April 27-28, 2021
We love, love, love that Adobe Summit is free this year! The Summit is focused on all things customer experience. That means every organization or business could learn a thing or two (or a lot more than that) on how to best serve your customers, driving business growth and customer loyalty.
The speakers for the 2021 event haven’t been announced yet, but this list from last year’s event offers some clues:
- Shantanu Narayen, CEO Adobe
- Satya Nadella, CEO Microsoft
- Hubert Joly, CEO Best Buy
- Atticus Tusen, CIO Intuit
- Mindy Kaling, Actress/Writer/Producer
- Pam Oliver, FOX Sports
Date:May 4-6, 2021
Location: Online, Americas
The 2021 event will offer a variety of tracks:
- Track A: Leadership and Skills: Be the Change Maker
- Track B: Business Strategy and Outcomes: Accelerate the Value
- Track C: Trust, Governance and Privacy: An Urgent Imperative
- Track D: Analytics Everywhere: Drive Pervasive Outcomes
- Track E: Technical Insights: The Art of the Pragmatic
- Track F: Data and Analytics Architecture: The Foundation of Your Digital Acceleration
- Track G: AI, Data Science and Machine Learning: The Future Is Now
- Track H: Emerging Technologies and Trends: Compose the Future
There’s also a special section, the Chief Data Officer Circle, that’s aimed particularly at CDOs and senior analytics leadership.
Google Cloud Next is the conference to attend if you are interested in hearing more from Google executives about new and updated cloud services. The 2021 Google Cloud Next details haven’t been announced, but the website indicates that we should expect a 2021 version.
In the meantime, watch conent from the 2020 in-person event or listen to speakers like:
- Sundar Pichai, CEO Google & Alphabet
- Thomas Kurian, CEO Google Cloud
- Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer & Employee Engagement, Google
- Kelsey Hightower, Developer & Open Source Advocate, Google
(As soon as there’s more, we’ll be updating our Complete Guide to Google Cloud Next.)
Date: May 11-12, 2021 – Americas; May 12-13, 2021 – APAC & EMEA
IBM Think is IBM’s global flagship conference. This year’s digital event experience will take everything online, but its premise is the same:to be the leading AI and hybrid cloud event in the world.
Think is where advances in world-changing technologies become real. The digital experience promises:
- Real-world case studies
- Technical exploration
- Community engagement
- Visionary thought leadership
This year’s speakers aren’t yet announced. But, to support an exceptional online event, IBM will deliver:
- Personalized curriculum
- Credential-building education
- New ways to engage
Date: May 18-20, 2021
Location: Madrid, Spain
This year’s Digital Enterprise Show (DES) is one of the few in-person events open to us tech professionals. DES is a prominent event all about digital transformation. This year’s event looks at the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0 as it’s better known in Europe, and how it informs successful digital transformation.
All industries are welcome here, to learn about technologies including:
- Big Data
- Marketing Automation
- Dedicated products for Digital Marketing and Industry 4.0
Citrix Synergy is one of the top industry conferences on digital business transformation.This year, as last, Citrix has opted against a single in-person event. Instead, Citrix will offer a variety of online courses and content throughout the year. Learn more on their website.
Date: June 1-2, 2021
Cost: Conference and tutorial packages available; starting at €59
European SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure Conferences, aka ESPC21 Online, offers affordable, world-class Microsoft 365 learning at your fingertips, from wherever you are in the world. Tune in live or catch up on-demand across 100+ sessions from SharePoint, Office 365 & Azure experts including Microsoft team members, independent community leaders, RDs, MVPs & MCMs.
Last year’s event also took place online, so expect optimized online experiences and learning opportunities from ESPC21.
Date: June 7-16, 2021
The International Db2 Users Group (IDUG®) is the foremost independent, user-driven community that provides a direct channel to thousands of professional Db2 users across the globe. IDUG’s annual North American event brings Db2 professionals together online this year.
Though agendas and speakers aren’t released yet, here’s what to expect:
- June 7–11: Technical Breakout Sessions, SIGs, VSPs, Keynotes
- June 14–16: Educational Seminars, Workshops, Hands-On Labs
(Learn more in our Complete Guide to IDUG Db2 Events.)
Date: June 17, 2021
The Dublin Tech Summit brings together top global leaders in technology, innovation, and business to help shape the future of trends and technologies. The 2020 DTS event was also online, with over 5,000 participants from 60+ countries.
The speakers for DTS 2021 aren’t yet announced, but you can expect similar speakers like those from last year:
- Harry D. Moseley, Global CIO, Zoom
- Bryan Che, CSO, Huawei
- Kristine Dahl Steidel, VP End User Computing EMEA, VMWare
Date: September 3-7, 2021
Location: Berlin, Germany
IFA is held in Berlin, Germany, and is the leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances. Known for offering an extensive overview of the international market, this six-day event attracts close to 240,000 visitors from more than 100 different countries. IFA serves as the main meeting place for key retailers, buyers, and experts from the industry, showcasing the latest products and innovations.
Details for the 2021 edition aren’t released yet, but take a look at events and contents from last year’s version on the website.
Date: TBD (Likely fall)
TNW Conference is a highly anticipated technology festival that brings together international technology executives, top-tier investors and promising startups for two days of business and knowledge sharing. Over the past 12 editions, TNW Conference has grown from a 200-person event to one of the leading technology events, bringing together 15,000 attendees a day and 3,500 companies from all over the world.
TNW2020 was taken online. Thought we don’t have new details for the 2021 version, we have a hunch TNW will be back. Check back here later for more details.
Date: October 8-10, 2021
Location: Lviv, Ukraine
The theme of IT Arena is “The speed of change”, which certainly feels appropriate this year. IT Arena is the largest tech event in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The three-day conference, conducted exclusively in English, brings together more than 2,000 entrepreneurs, investors, developers, business analysts, and designers every year.
2021 dates for IT Arena are confirmed online, but most other details aren’t released yet. The 2020 version was taken online, where you can look at the agenda and some content.
Of course, we can’t forget our flagship annual event BMC Exchange. Last year marked the first time we took Exchange online, with three days full of live speakers, classes, and brainstorming sessions.
BMC Exchange 2020 offered a customizable format so you could curate content for your career, something we expect to build on for this year. The event included inspiring keynotes and use case-focused sessions to help you meet today’s technology challenges while preparing for tomorrow’s opportunities. BMC Exchange includes:
- Exciting keynotes to help you drive organizational change
- Interactive, informational, and entertaining sessions focused on your role
- Product and strategy insights to see where BMC innovation can take you on your growth path
- Exhibition Hall featuring BMC partners, cutting-edge technology vendors, and BMC Innovation Labs
Date: November 9-11, 2021
The Augmented World Expo (AWE) is the largest conference and expo on augmented reality in the world. This year’s tag line is “It’s time to go spatial. Get awe-inspired with the best in AR/VR and Spatial Computing!”
Though this year’s event will be held entirely online, you can still expect the three-day format that includes a virtual exhibit hall, the Auggie Awards ceremony, happy hours, and the AWE playground and after-hours experiences.
The largest gathering of the global cloud community hasn’t yet announced details for 2021, as AWS just wrapped up re:Invent 2020 weeks ago. We’re taking a guess that re:Invent 2021 will happen, likely in late fall or early winter. (We’ll post more here when it’s announced.)
Join the global cloud computing community for keynote announcements, training and certification programs, over 750 technical sessions, energy hub-the partner expo, after-hours events, and more opportunities to educate, entertain, and engage with the best and brightest business and IT decision makers, hottest startups, and visionary technology leaders.
(Attending re:Invent? Check out our Complete Guide to AWS re:Invent for more information.)