Microsoft Ignite: What You Should Know

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Read my summary of all Ignite days:

So, that was Ignite. An amazing conference, a lot of great content, huge venue, huge crowd, great food, great time.

All in all – highly recommended.

However, if you;re going to Ignite, there are some things you must be aware of and plan for them ahead. I’ve compiled a short list of highlights, and would recommend you to follow them in order to get the most out of Ignite.

Leave FOMO Behind

If the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) is strong with you – leave it behind. You WILL miss things.

There are more than 1000 sessions in Ignite. Sometimes, there are more than 100 sessions taking place simultaneously. Don’t try to grasp it all, and live with the fact you will miss some great sessions.

Remember – most of the sessions are recorded and uploaded to the Ignite website, you’ll be able to watch them later.


Build Your Schedule

100 sessions per slot is a lot, right? So make sure to plan your schedule.

The Schedule Builder is available a few weeks before the convention, and do yourself a favor – build your schedule BEFORE the convention. You’ll simply won’t have time to scroll through hundreds of sessions and pick the ones you’re interested in while walking in the great halls on the OCCC.


Watch Your Steps

Ignite took place in the last 3 years in Orlando, FL, in the Orange County Convention Center. This is a huge venue, the 2nd largest in the US, which means you’re going to walk A LOT.

I didn’t count my steps, but I’ve seen in other blogs the number 30,000 steps a day pops up, and that’s actually sounds quite reasonable.

That means that you should:

  • Bring comfortable shoes
  • Plan ahead walking times between halls. You should plan for at least 10 minutes walk, and if you’ll walk outside the venue, for example to the Hyatt hotel or the South Concourse (where some of the sessions take place), then plan for 20 mins walk


Leave Empty Slots

There is a lot to see and do in Ignite besides the sessions.

Don’t fill all your schedule. Leave at least 3-4 hours empty, so you have time to go to the Hub, mingle with partners, take a look at the store (I’ve bought two great books this year), or chat with Microsoft Experts about their products. They’re eager to discuss and help, use them!


Take Free Certification Exams

If you’re planning on doing certification exams towards any kind of certification, Ignite offers you free exams. Usually an exam costs between 80 and 160 USD, so this is a very attractive offering. Take advantage of it.


Use The Hangout

The Hangout is a unique concept.

It’s a giant screen, displaying ~10 sessions that happening at the same time, and you can go there, grab a transmitter, plug in your headphones, tune to the session that interests you, and listen to it.


This is extremely useful if the session’s room is full, or if you’re at the hub and don’t want ti miss the session.

True, there is something creepy with 100s of people sitting in a complete silent watching giant screen, but other than that – a great idea.


Is It For Me?

Oh. There greatest question of them all.

So let me be truly honest here: I’m a Software Architect. Ignite, formally, is not a Software Architecture convention.

However, it’s so big, and so diverse, so that anyone can find content to match his & her interests.

There are other, more focused conferences around Software Architecture, such as O’Reilly’s Software Architecture Conference, or ArchConf, but none of them has the energy and vibe of Ignite.

So the bottom line is this – I’m very glad I’ve been at Ignite. Next year I’ll definitely will look at it again, but will also look closely at other conferences.


So that concludes this posts series about Ignite – I hope you liked it, and that it helped you experience this amazing event.

Any questions or comments? I’ll be more than happy to answer!

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