I'm Ammar Hasayen
Husband & Father | Microsoft MVP| I do Office 365 and Azure @aramex | Speaker and blogger | I Love music and exploring the world.
Microsoft Ignite – Everything you need to know and more!
Microsoft big conferences
Microsoft Ignite is one of the biggest Microsoft annual conferences. Microsoft used to have an annual conference called TechEd for developers and IT professionals. TechEd used to take place in several locations around the world, and the first conference was back in 1993 in Orlando, Florida, while the last one took place in Barcelona in 2014.
In 2015, Microsoft re-branded TechEd conference and make it an annual conference called Microsoft Ignite. The conference lasts between four and five days and nowadays it is only available in the united states as far as I know at the time writing this post.
Microsoft has other similar big conferences. Microsoft Build is one of the biggest conferences, and usually big announcements happened at Build. Microsoft Build is targeted for developers and it is considered one of the most interesting conferences for dev people.
Microsoft Inspire (formerly the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference, and previously abbreviated WPC), is another big conference for Microsoft’s partner community, where partners learn about what is Microsoft’s road-map for the upcoming year.
For Microsoft employees, Microsoft has an internal conference called Microsoft Ready, where people from Microsoft gather to learn about latest technologies from Microsoft and the road-map for upcoming year. Microsoft Ready is held this year (2017) in Las Vegas and people are getting a lot of fun and knowledge in MS ready.
Inside Microsoft Ignite
If you are IT pro, developer, decision maker, or IT architect, then there is something for you in Microsoft Ignite. Microsoft partners usually have a booth somewhere in the Expo hall, to present their solutions and products.
The conference starts on Monday, and ends on Friday. That is 5 days of full conference days. On Sunday, that is one day before the conference full days, the convention center is open and you can go there, complete your Ignite registration by presenting an official ID and get your conference badge.
You can also visit the swag station on Sunday, and pick the conference bag, water bottle and any other swags they are offering.
If you have registered for one of the conference pre-day training courses, you can go and attend your pre-day training course right away Sunday morning.
I recommend you visit the convention center on Sunday, even if you did not register for the pre-day training, so that you can complete your conference registration, visit the swag station, and walk around, and get an idea of how to navigate your way inside such big convention center using the convention center map. This will make it easy for you to come the next day fully prepared. Usually on Monday morning, the registration office is crowded, and it is better to complete registration one day a head.
The most important activity on Monday is the keynote. You do not want to miss the keynote! I recommend you plan a head how you want to attend the keynote. Usually, due to the big number of attendees, Microsoft will put big screens inside a big hall in the convention center, so you can watch the keynote remotely, as the place where the keynote takes place will eventually fill and no more people can fit inside.
I usually start walking towards the keynote hall one hour before the keynote time or even earlier, to reserve my seat inside. Make sure you come early on Monday, ask about where and how to reach the keynote hall, and plan how and when you want to go there. It will be a very crowdy walk to the keynote hall.
The keynote is where Satya is giving his big speech, and sets the tune for the whole conference. After finishing the keynote, you can go to one of the General Sessions. General Sessions are entry level sessions in different technology paths, to get you prepared before going to the breakout sessions.
At the end of Monday, there is the Welcome Reception in the Expo Hall. You will enjoy free drinks, food and snacks. It last for an hour or two in the expo hall, and it is a good time to relax, meet new people, and connect.
During the conference days, you can take one of Microsoft certification exams with a good discount, or even learn from one of the tech labs and hands-on training opportunities.
On Wednesday night or Thursday night, there is the Ignite party. Each year, they make the party in a unique place related to the city Ignite is held in. You do not want to miss the Ignite party, as there are a lot of drinks, food, music, shows and activities.
Friday, is the last day in the conference, and usually it is half day. The expo hall usually is closed in this day.
Make sure your check how to follow up with Microsoft Ignite news and updates so you won’t miss anything blog post. I find it so helpful to follow up with the news before such big conferences, so that you get updates about last minute event changes, and learn about community parties and activities.
Why wearing comfortable shoes when attending big conferences makes all the difference? it goes without saying that you should bring with you comfortable shoes when attending Ignite as there are lot of walking.
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