DevCon Technical Conference Is No More
June 10, 2013 Dan Burger
Times are tough in the IT conference business. Last week, the annual IBM i application development conference known as DevCon said that it is folding its tent as a result of declining attendance rates in recent years. Less than a month ago, COMMON Europe pulled the plug on its annual Power Systems conference. Disappointing pre-event registration totals and the loss of IBM support were cited as the cause. In April, the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition had its lightest attendance ever. Declining conference attendance is widespread throughout many industries. It is another sign of the times.
A form letter was sent last week via email on behalf of the IBM i DevCon staff alerting readers that the conference would not take place. Rather than leaving a training and education void, the email recommended the RPG & DB2 Summit as “a worthy replacement.” Past attendees of the DevCon conference will be eligible for the same discount registrations that Summit alumni receive. Jon Paris and Susan Gantner–who along with Paul Tuohy organize the Summit as a company called System i Developer–were “long-time DevCon supporters,” according to the email.
The RPG & DB2 Summit is scheduled for October 15-17 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Additional details about that conference can be found here.
The DevCon event ran annually in the fall of the year for 14 seasons. The three-day technical conference focused on IBM i application development including Web and mobile, management and system administration, and emerging technologies. The list of subject matter experts who led sessions at the conference was a Who’s Who of IBM i training and education gurus.
Wellesley Information Services, an IT publishing and training organization, was responsible for producing DevCon. It also works with IBM’s Notes/Domino collaboration software and IBM WebSphere to produce events and foster online communities.
The demise of DevCon is a disappointing situation that underscores a lack of investment in developing technically advanced IT staffs. It seems to me that all the talk about aligning business and IT would not overlook the importance of formal, instructor-led training. This can’t be replaced by social networking, reading a book, or watching a video. There are still companies that invest in their people and their IT departments where technology is still the avenue to competitive advantage. A company that has no interest in building a better workforce is not a very healthy operation. I understand the need for assessing efficiencies relative to spending. What I don’t understand is turning a blind eye to technical training.