The first WordCamp event occurred in August 2006 in San Francisco, lasting only a single day and bringing together just over 500 attendees. Today, WordCamp events are held all across the globe, bringing together thousands of writing, coding and design enthusiasts. In fact, over 21,000 attendees came together for 2015 WordCamps alone, with 89 events held in 34 countries. In the same year, more than 40,000 people attended 2,000 other WordPress-related meetups. As WordPress has grown in popularity, it has also attracted the attention of several niche audiences, which has led to more dynamic WordCamp and other WordPress events. For a sneak peek at some of the most exciting events yet to come in 2016, check out this comprehensive list. 1. WordCamp San Diego (April 23-24) The swiftly-approaching WordCamp San Diego is a locally-organized conference covering everything WordPress. The San Diego event welcomes casual users and core developers alike, offering multiple opportunities to share ideas, learn from industry experts, and get to know each other. This year’s event features an all-star lineup of local, national, and international WordPress developers, designers, and business leaders, including: Kevin Koehler: Community Guardian for Automattic, Kevin “helps defend WordPress.com bloggers from bogus legal threats, and works to the make the web safer, freer, and open for all.” Chris Lema: CTO and Chief Strategist at Crowd Favorite, Chris is a blogger, public speaker, and product strategist. Steve Zehngut: Founder and Creative Technologist of Zeek Interactive, a leading WordPress and mobile development shop. Carrie Dils: A self-proclaimed “WordPress-loving developer,” Carrie has been helping businesses create online identities for nearly two decades. 2. WordCamp Chicago (April 30-May 1) Tech geeks in the Windy City always look forward to the annual WordCamp Chicago, which features a jam-packed schedule ranging from Joshua Alexander’s Marketing for the Anti-Social to Topher DeRosia’s Increasing Quality and Security with PHPCS. General Admission tickets to the event cost just $40, and they include admission to all Saturday and Sunday sessions, Saturday evening’s after party and some awesome “swag” from WordCamp and its sponsors. This year’s event will discuss some newer, more complex technologies and services currently revolutionizing WordPress, including WooCommerce, WP_CLI, PHPCS, BuddyPress, bbPress and more. Some talks will be directed at more advanced users, while others are appropriate for novices. No matter where you’re starting out, WordCamp Chicago offers opportunities to learn more and develop valuable relationships with some of the best in the biz. 3. php [tek] (May 23-27) Hosted in St. Louis, Missouri, the annual php [tek] conference has been described as “a professional conference with a community flair.” The event features high-quality presentations by some of the leading experts in PHP in addition to a welcoming community of speakers and attendees from all walks of life. As always, php [tek] offers several opportunities for networking, including one-on-one time with speakers like LaunchKey’s Adam Englander and FooLab Inc.’s Anna Filina. In an effort to encourage effective networking and universal access, php [tek] does not host exclusive parties or invitation-only rooms. Instead, the conference encourages all attendees to seek out new challenges and attend as many sessions as possible. Topics range from James Titcumb’s Introducing Practical RabbitMQ to Terrence Ryan’s Containing Chaos with Kubernetes. 4. Prestige Conference (May 24-25) Another WordPress event, for those interested in career development is this year’s Prestige Conference in Minneapolis, which is “designed exclusively for freelancers, entrepreneurs, business owners, and professionals operating in the digital marketplace.” The 2016 event will provide business-building opportunities for all attendees, including lectures and activities on creating brand momentum, gaining clients, maximizing revenue, and aiming higher in your professional goals. Unlike many events with volunteer speakers, Prestige Conference features specially-selected, paid speakers with credentials that speak for themselves. This year’s lineup includes: Daniel Espinoza: Founder of the startup Grow Development, which focuses on WooCommerce custom. Jess Jurick: Vice President of Client Delivery at 10up. Charlie Patel: “Serial entrepreneur” in the technology and marketing industry and CEO of 99 Robots. Peter Chester: Partner at Modern Tribe, a digital agency that develops WordPress accessories. 5. The Next Web (TNW) Conference (May 26-27) Described by CNBC as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet,” the world-renowned TNW Conference brings together technology leaders, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs from all over the world. This year’s 11th annual event will be held in the bustling metropolis of Amsterdam, featuring 8 stages, 300 exhibitor pavilions, and “a week full of satellite events about the future of technology, innovation, marketing, communication, and imagination.” TNW has worked closely with WordPress, and will discuss many factors affecting the industry today. In addition to the usual networking opportunities, TNW Conference offers opportunities to showcase your startup, pitch to interested investors and participate in several hands-on activities for niche markets. This year’s list of legendary speakers include the following: Steve Huffman: Co-founder and CEO of Reddit Julie Zhuo: Director of Product Design at Facebook Kees Koolen: ex-CEO and ex-COO of Booking.com and Uber Danae Ringelmann: Co-founder and CDO of Indiegogo 6. WordCamp Europe 2016 (June 24-26) WordCamp Europe is a WordPress event “dedicated to all things WordPress that happens annually in a different European city.” This year’s conference will be held in picturesque Vienna, Austria, welcoming community members all over the globe to celebrate the culture and diversity of WordPress. The event offers an opportunity to meet with WordPress community leaders, network with industry professionals, gain exclusive access to a job and hiring board, and participate in an “epic after-party.” WordCamp Europe 2016 will be broken down into two conference days, which will include speeches and activities devoted to development, design, UX, community, marketing, performance, trends, Open Source, business, and giving back—all through the lens of WordPress. On the third day, attendees can contribute directly to WordPress through sessions involving code-writing, testing new software, translating WordPress, and networking with the many people who make WordPress great. 7. LoopConf (October 5-7) Developers and other technically-minded folks can step up their game with advanced engineering and development topics at the exciting three-day event known as LoopConf. LoopConf is relatively new to the game—this year’s conference will be its second ever—but it’s quickly become one of the more highly sought-after events after last year’s conference was met with overwhelming praise. Like the previous year, LoopConf 2016 will be held in coastal Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and it will feature a lineup of amazing speakers. Last year’s event brought in just 210 attendees, but organizers are expecting a much greater turnout after last year’s widely-publicized success. In an effort to bring more diversity to this year’s event, LoopConf admirably implemented a scholarship program that covers the conference ticket fee, travel expenses, and a three-night hotel stay for industry professionals from underrepresented groups. Can’t make these events? No worries—WordCamp events take place all around the world, all throughout the year, so you’re sure to find at least one accessible and convenient alternative. Many of the above events feature live broadcasting, offering you additional opportunities to take advantage of WordPress- and tech-related training. However, nothing compares to the benefits of one-on-one networking at these events, so if you can, start planning now to snag a seat at one of these seven most looked-forward-to conferences of 2016.