Skills are critical in every field in this age of digital transformation, and when it comes to data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence, everyone needs to up their game to remain relevant in the changing industry landscape. Conferences are a better platform to level up your skills and become conversant with the current trends.

As the world continues to reel from the COVID 19 pandemic, many in-person events have transitioned to a virtual models. Attending virtual events in 2021 is a good starting point given the difficulties experienced in the year 2020. Some professionals in data science¹ might have dropped the ball because of the unexpected disruptions that caught everybody by surprise.

There is no better time to forget about the upheavals of 2020 than in 2021 by attending virtual conferences². This will motivate you to get your data science groove back and become a better data scientist, machine learning engineer and even an AI expert.

In this article, I will explore the benefits of attending conferences around data science, machine learning and AI and then turn our attention to conferences, which you need to attend in 2021 to level up your game.

Here are some reasons why attending conferences will level up your skills:

1. Networking

Conferences offer great networking opportunities. Who does not enjoy an opportunity to converse with your industry peers³ and meeting new people who can introduce you to new ways of thinking? Sometimes the serendipitous conversations can bring the most valuable information, partnerships, and collaborations. Oftentimes, there are scheduled networking events, or company sponsored happy hours that provide the perfect platform for interacting with likeminded people and sharing ideas.

2. Learning Experience

This is the most obvious benefit of attending a conference and the sole reason why some people choose to attend. There is something new to learn in the data science universe every day, and many of these conferences are at the foreground of these cutting-edge changes. Conferences are where you can access the most up to date industry information, oftentimes from the sources themselves. With hundreds, sometimes thousands of attendees, you can also gain exposure to a boundless variety of new ideas and trends⁴ that can benefit your latest project or business venture.

3. Contributing Content

Social media has changed not only the way we interact at conferences, but also how we attend conferences as well. Virtually everyone in the room is live tweeting about their feedback and experiences and using the conference hashtag to document their involvement. Whether you are attending the conference or not, you have the ability to follow along with all the ground breaking news and announcements that typically occur at conferences⁵, making this the perfect opportunity to market either yourself or your organization.

4. Pool of Resources

One of the biggest advantages that #datascientists will have when attending an online conference is easy accessibility to their devices including laptops. Data science conferences are full of workshops⁶ and hand-on sessions and with a laptop with exclusive internet connection in hand, it will be convenient for attendees to make the most of these practical sessions. It will also be much easier to take notes from knowledge talks and tech talks.

Data Science, AI and ML Conferences 2021

Let us now explore AI, Machine Learning and Data Science Conferences for 2021

1. Institute for Data Science and Big Data at American University:

Date: January 4th-15th

This conference will cover the essential basis for doing #datascience as practiced in the 21st century. Data scientists are expected to know how to obtain relevant data for a specific problem, clean and explore data, create models using data, state inferences, make reliable predictions, and communicate findings to multiple, possibly non-technical, audiences.

The event will consist of a dynamic mixture of theoretical lectures, guest speakers, and group assignments. The guest lectures include data science leaders from Washington’s unparalleled mixture of government, academia, and business.

Statistical topics include: exploratory methods, graphics, regression, machine learning, ensembles, clustering analysis, and Bayesian approaches. Specific technical skills including: R, Python, Pandas, JavaScript, HTML/CSS, API Interactions, Social Media Mining, SQL, Tableau, GitHub, and more.

2. The Consumer Electronics Show

Date: January 12th-14th

The Consumer Electronics Show is one of the most influential technology events in the world. Next year, it will be entirely virtual with two days of exhibitor showcases on January 12–13 and all three days of conference programming. Conference topics will include internet-of-things, AI, blockchain, and more.

3. RE.WORK Women in AI Virtual Evening

Date: January 19th

This conference brings together the latest technology advancements as well as practical examples to apply AI to solve challenges in business and society. There will be a unique mix of academia and industry to enable you meet with AI pioneers at the forefront of research, as well as exploring real-world case studies to discover the business value of AI.

Over the course of the event, hear from female experts in AI who will explore the impact AI is having on almost every aspect of business and society, how to build trust in AI and the responsibilities & challenges of advancing #artificialintelligence.

Speakers will also share personal journeys to raise awareness, bring empowerment and facilitate a supportive community⁷ for fellow women working in the sector. Grow your network and connect with attendees including data scientists, CTOs, engineers, students, professors, research scientists and company founders.

4. SubSurface: The Cloud Data Lake Conference

Date: Jan 27th-28th

This conference will include industry leaders at Subsurface LIVE Winter 2021 as they explore the latest open source innovations and motivate you with real-world use cases. Hear firsthand from technology leaders at companies such as Netflix, USAA, Adobe, Microsoft and AWS about their experiences architecting and building modern data lakes⁸.

Learn how to innovate with open source technologies such as Apache Iceberg, Amundsen, InfluxDB IOx, Apache Parquet and more. Network with industry experts and community leaders. Share best practices with your peers. Be a part of the cloud data lake community and continue collaborating after the conference.

5. Deep Learning 2.0 Virtual Summit

Date: January 28th-29th

This is another exciting #virtualconference in 2021. This conference will deep dive into the technology and applications of artificial intelligence as well as into the ethical dimensions of these tools.

The summit is divided into five stages:

-Deep Learning Landscape

-Reinforcement Learning

-Ethics & Social Responsibility

-Generative Models

-Enterprise AI

6. The MarTech Summit Hong Kong

Date: February 3rd-4th

This is one of the must attend virtual conferences in 2021. When you think of events filled with convenience and professionalism, Hong Kong will make anyone’s shortlist. Which is why all roads will be leading to Hong Kong. A city with a world-class infrastructure and companies at the top of their game. Enjoy 2 days full of learning and the convenience of dedicated #networkingmeetings during and after the summit. Get set to learn all the latest MarTech trends in a trendy haven.

7. DATAcated Conference

Date: Feb 9th-11th

The DATAcated Conference brings together the very best speakers that provide insightful 10-min lightning speed talks for the data community. The conference is packed with incredible insights from the very best speakers. Speakers will deliver 10 min lightning talks and will stay on for a few minutes for some live Q&A.

The conference is hosted on LinkedIn Live and is FREE to attend. The event spans three days and covers a large spectrum of topics. At the same time, there will be plenty of fun giveaways provided by Community Partners.

The main themes of this conference includes:

– Extracting Business Value from Data

– Exploring Trends in AI & Machine Learning

– Data Storytelling — the ‘Last Mile’ of Analytics

8. DSS General Machine Learning Practices

Date: Feb 16th-19th

The Data Science Salon is a unique vertical focused conference which grew into a diverse community of senior data science, machine learning and other technical specialists. This conference will gather face-to-face and virtually to educate each other, illuminate best practices and innovate new solutions in a casual atmosphere.

DSS General Machine Learning Practices is the only industry conference that brings together specialists in healthcare, technology and finance data science field to educate each other, illuminate best practices, and innovate new solutions.

Learn from practitioners, technical experts and executives on how to solve real-world problems by harnessing disruptions in data, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cutting-edge technologies. Each ticket comes with one year of access to DSS Insider, the content repository for all Data Science Salons.

9. Algorithm Conference

Date: February 18th-21st

Algorithm Conference will bring you 3 days of high-level, no-pitch workshops and presentations that show how algorithms have been shaping and will continue to shape every aspect of our lives. Special consideration will be given to sessions that highlight innovative technical and commercial developments in big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, their ethical and privacy implications, and how they impact and are impacted by public policies.

Researchers from the academia, developers and technical managers from startups and established companies will be on hand to share insights on the current state of development in big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies, and their future trajectories. Those overseeing the rollout of these technologies on the management side and people involved in influencing and advising policy makers will also be on hand to share their insights.

10. AI & Data Science in Trading

Date: March 15th-17th

Coming into it’s 6th edition, the AI & Data Science in Trading Virtual Event brings together experts in the use of AI and advanced data analytic techniques within asset management, primarily for finding alpha, managing risk and optimizing portfolios.

In the absence of physical events and typically located in NY and London, organizers have created the first virtual event, free to attend worldwide for the whole AIDST community. Join two days of content online, with technology simulating a real-life exhibition hall and conference theatre with dedicated networking opportunities.

Get Ready for 2021 Virtual Conferences

From this list of conferences around AI, data science and #machinelearning, you have a good selection from which to choose. If 2020 is any indication, the times, dates, and locations for these 2021 events could prove to be just as changeable. Be sure to check back often for updates and new events.

It is not a must to attend all conferences and what matters is narrowing down the list and looking at conferences that will match your schedule as you prepare for a year of performance and success in 2021. I hope this list helps you level up your skills in data science, AI and machine learning.

Works Cited

¹Data Science, ²Virtual Conferences, ³Industry Peers, ⁴Ideas and Trends, ⁵Conferences, ⁶Workshops, ⁷Supportive Community, ⁸Data Lakes