Why have conferences
As software developers we are attracted to learning. We love staying up to date with the latest technologies. We love understanding things deeply. There are many ways to learn including working with others, online training, books, blogs and attending conferences.
However, to say that the only reason for conferences is to learn new things would be incorrect. It is also the place where the local community of professionals interact. This interaction is vital for the software industry to continually improve. As someone who has attended many conferences, I found especially as an new inexperienced developer being inspired to ‘raise the bar’ after attending my first few conferences.
Why sponsor a conference
I think the following mantra holds true:
- Great developers want to work with other great developers.
- Great developers want to work for great companies.
- Great companies get software developers and support their need for interaction and learning.
- Great companies help improve the larger software development community.
If you hire software developers
If you are an organization that hires software developers, by sponsoring a conference you are telling your development staff that you support them and their passion. You are also sending a clear message to the local development community that you “get it” - you are a company that understands some of the needs of software developers.
If you sell stuff to software developers
If you are an organization that sells product to the software community, sponsoring a conference gives you brand exposure.
Often conferences will give you some sort of airtime to pitch your product. This doesn’t mean that you sponsor a single event and then you are sorted. It generally takes a long term strategy - you will need to sponsor and be involved in several conferences and community events before you will be noticed and beging to realize a return. That said, I believe this approach does pay off. For instance, I’m a fan of JetBrains because I got a Resharper license at a community event, began using it and would hate to work on a c# project without it. I’ve also softened up to OzCode because they sponsored licenses for our local user group and I have started to hear some really good things about it.