The 2014 dates for the most talked about event of 2013 has finally been released and I am extremely pleased to announce that IT/Dev Connections 2014 will be September 15-19, 2014 at the ARIA Hotel in Las Vegas.

I can't even start to count the number of people that have emailed me or contacted me over social networks about when and where the event would occur. Why? Because IT/Dev is different. It's not the same run-of-the-mill event that IT Pros are used to attending. The majority of annual events these days are stuck in a cookie-cutter mode. It's like being thrown onto an assembly line that starts on Monday, ends on Friday, and never deviates from the script. Once you've attended one major vendor event, you've pretty much attended them all. The only difference is the vendor and the focus.

Sam Basile, a technical director who attended IT/Dev Connections 2013, says this…

"I like the fact that it wasn’t the Microsoft party line. It’s good to have a more independent point of view in the presentations."

IT/Dev Connections revolutionizes technology events. The event is designed to give attendees the freedom to make the conference their own personalized tech-enriched vacation. It's less about vendor messaging and all about value.

Megan Keller, editorial director for the Penton Technology Group, puts it this way…

"Our independent status and in-the-trenches speakers mean our sessions address specific technology challenges head on and provide attendees with a hack, tip, or process to work around the issue. Attendees can take what they learned at our conference and implement it as soon as they are back in the office. It’s what sets IT/Dev Connections apart from other conferences."

But, I'll take it even further. What truly sets IT/Dev Connections apart for me is the true community characteristic that you won't get at any other conference. It's been said that IT/Dev Connections is like a huge User Group meeting. Those that are part of a local User Group, know what I mean. It's a place where you can hang out with friends, learn together, and feel extremely comfortable asking questions and going off script. We worked very hard to bring that feel to IT/Dev Connections for the first time in 2013 and we're working extra hard this year make that the standard forever.

We'll have plenty more to talk about as we get closer to the event, including special opportunities for User Groups. One piece I can announced today is that, in addition to the September in-person training event, the IT/Dev Connections team will be offering a two-day online seminar in the spring. This "pre-fresher" will provide focused training as a foundation for the fall IT/Dev Connections event, or for anyone looking to extend their Microsoft technology expertise. The pre-fresher is like a 101 class on the various technologies and topics covered at the conference. This allows attendees to get a handle on the basics so they can dig into the deep technical parts when the event kicks off.

The 2014 IT/Dev Connections conference will feature more than 180 demo-intensive, in-depth training sessions across five different tracks that provide an independent view of working with today’s most relevant technologies, including HTML5, DevOps, Exchange, SQL Server, Big Data, Windows, Windows Server, Visual Studio, Windows Azure, SharePoint, Virtualization, Cloud, Business Intelligence, and Office 365.

The conference agenda will include full-day, hands-on pre-conference workshops on Monday, September 15th, followed by three days jam-packed with keynotes and breakout sessions and post-conference workshops on Friday, September 19th. For more information and early-bird registration discounts, visit http://www.devconnections.com/

I truly hope to see you all there. We're working up a wonderful event and I'd hate anyone to miss out on something so valuable and personalized. And, of course, it doesn't hurt that it will be held at the Aria Hotel, the most modern hotel in Las Vegas.