NIXMultiConf: The Largest Free Tech Conference in Ukraine

21 April 2020

NIXMultiConf is the largest free tech conference in Ukraine. It started from a small Meetup for PHP developers in 2012 and developed into the biggest gathering of IT specialists in Ukraine, representing a dozen tech and management professions. Among the reasons to do this, the most important for us, include the development of the local tech community, realization of the NIX experts’ potential and letting students and junior specialists get up-to-date knowledge based on our 25 years of practical experience. Today we are happy to reveal everything about the conference.

How everything started

Way back in the year 2012, NIX was much smaller than it is today but already had almost 20 years of professional expertise in software development. Anton Shevchuk, a former PHP team lead (currently a Head of Ruby Department), realized that the expertise of his department was large and diverse enough to be shared with people outside the company. He noticed that the guys from his team had grown into confident experts and were ready to exchange their knowledge and skills.

At that time, Anton had taught students on the internal NIX courses, attended various conferences and educational events as a speaker himself, so he had a certain image of how a good conference for software developers could look like. It was also Anton who suggested we organize the first Meetup for PHP developers, ThinkPHP, which has gradually grown into our famous NIXMultiConf.

Why NIX does this?

The short answer is simple – because the team likes it. A longer one is pretty complicated. There are multiple reasons for NIX to engage in this demanding process. Here are a few of them.

  • Exchange knowledge

The team’s knowledge and expertise can be of use not only within the company but also for other developers in the city. So why not share it?

  • Develop the local IT community

The first meet up was first for both the company and the city. When the event team saw a hall packed full of attendees of ThinkPHP #1, everyone was super happy. However, after a few conversations with the visitors, the guys realized that even more lies ahead. The attendees asked whether there will be more meetups and whether NIX plans to extend the thematics of presentations on other tech domains. This helped the team realize that our city, being the largest IT hub in the country, lacks a discussion platform for the IT community. The guys had no space to discuss relevant industry issues, share experiences, ask for advice, make new connections, and simply communicate with each other. This motivated the company to create such a space.

  • Let our experts grow

The NIX specialists never stop learning and, therefore, attend the most famous world tech conferences and educational events. They gain the most relevant knowledge and apply it in their projects. However, this is only one side of the coin. Another aspect of their professional growth consists in spreading this information within other specialists, and they do this at the NIX conferences. Sharing knowledge with the audience and answering their – often unexpected and complicated – questions, the NIX experts realize their potential, develop professionally and find new directions for further development.

  • Grow further

Before everything started, NIX had gained many years of experience, rich expertise, a desire to organize external events and great enthusiasm. Therefore, the organization of the first meetup is built on 4 pillars:

  • solid development experience;
  • innovative and practically applicable presentation topics;
  • a couple of personal Twitter accounts;
  • high hopes for word of mouth.

And it worked both ways at once – NIX opened the era of IT events in the city and realized that not only the industry was developing but also the NIX specialists. This was the third reason to engage in this – the company wanted to develop further, do more, try themselves in new directions.

The past 6 years of organizing the meetups have helped the community and the company grow. NIX continued to develop new directions and accumulated solid statistics:

  • 35 conferences;
  • 105 presentations;
  • around 315 answers to questions from the audience;
  • 1 large move into a more spacious location.

All this preceded the beginning of a new era – NIXMultiConf. As time has passed, the NIX expertise as specialists has grown, new technologies developed and the team explored them, learned how to use and implemented in practice. The expertise in new domains motivated us to share our new knowledge with other people. Together with the growing professionalism grew the scale of the conferences.

  • Let everyone know

In the beginning was the idea, and then – everything else. To be honest, the idea was clear – to combine 11 directions into one large conference – NIXMultiConf. However, the team still had to deal with everything else, rolling up our sleeves. As practice has shown, organizing a conference for around a thousand people is like holding a meetup for hundreds of participants, only the scale of complexity is increasing.

An event of this magnitude attracts much more interest. This flattered, and at the same time, added responsibility. NIX did what they liked and knew how to do that. This helped the event team solve all the challenges:

  • select and prepare speakers;
  • suggest topics relevant to the industry;
  • draw up and fit (!) into the budget;
  • negotiate with contractors;
  • check and recheck equipment a dozen times;
  • work on the style and design of everything from badges to gift bags of participants.

In May 2018, the first NIXMultiConf was held. Then Kharkov developers got the opportunity to get acquainted with topics from 11 IT domains within one day. And after just 1.5 years, in October 2019, NIXMultiConf #3 gathered together 4,000 online and 2500 offline participants on one site. 99% of the registered people visited the event. For comparison, the average attendance rate for free events reaches 60% at best, and 30% at worst. Paid events (especially prepaid) attend to 95% of those registered. Ours is absolutely free of charge.

NIXMultiConf: progress in figures

NIXMultiConf is an important part of the NIX strategy for the development of the Kharkiv and greater Ukrainian IT community. From the moment the company was launched, the NIX team help junior professionals in finding their place in IT, choosing their own direction of development, develop education curricula together with universities and share our expertise. The company has already developed own approach to training; tested by 25 years of practical experience.

Moreover, several years of experience in organizing smaller events and several months of pure effort made it possible to turn a regular conference into a multi-platform event for live communication with the leading developers of the city. The NIX guys are convinced that communicating and exchanging experience, rather than teaching, is the key to the success of all our events.

NIXMultiConf: The Largest Free Tech Conference in Ukraine

Within 1.5 years, the figures continued to grow:

  • the company started with 1315 participants at the first event;
  • enjoyed seeing 2348 people after the second;
  • Jumped with joy when 4032 online participants came to the third event, and another 2533 people joined us offline.

During this time other figures have grown too:

  • speakers – from 16 to 27;
  • sessions – from 6 to 11;
  • the duration of the event – from 1 to 2.5 days.

And of course, there are no brakes: NIX doesn’t plan to stop.

What’s next?

All this time NIX is improving: learning from its mistakes, listening to the opinions of the participants, expanding the scope of presentations, searching for fresh topics and new ways to reach the audience.

At the same time, the team watched how the city’s IT community has been forming and growing. How Kharkov turned into the IT center of Ukraine, and its experts are hired by such large corporations as Amazon, Microsoft, or Twitter. The NIX expertise brought results – yesterday’s juniors became today’s masters and released their own projects. Over eight years of organizing small meetups and large conferences, the company has fostered a stable loyal community that values these events: 9.6 out of 10 is the overall assessment of the events by the participants.

From the first ThinkPHP, NIX has been tracking statistics for meetups and conferences. Summing up the results of the year 2019, the team was happy. In 7 years, the event team managed to do what they were just dreaming about in 2012. Now NIX has a large, specialized community of more than 4,000 developers, quality assurance specialists, designers, project managers, business analysts, and of course, students and junior specialists who evolve into strong professionals together with MultiConf.

There is one more reason behind our swelling pride – in every tenth CV, our applicants indicate that they became interested in the company thanks to the conference.

This year, the company decided to go even further and make NIXMultiConf #4 even bigger: invite foreign speakers, expand it with Python and Data Science directions, focus on online broadcasts and add a lot of other cool features.

Looking forward to introducing the upgraded NIXMultiConf #4 to the world!