Leeds-List: The Best & Most Insightful Guide to Leeds

The Biggest Digital Festival in the North is Back Bigger & Better Than Ever

· Ali Turner · Discussion

175 events across 2 weeks.

Leeds Digital Festival

It’s back! Leeds Digital Festival returns this April with a mind-boggling line-up of tech events…

Leeds is a thriving tech hub. It’s home to a vast array of digital businesses, with everything from huge global brands to innovative new start-ups – and they all come together to create a vibrant community. But good as it is, we simply don’t shout about it enough. And that is the inspiration behind Leeds Digital Festival.

Leeds Digital Festival

Credit: Leeds Digital Festival

It was created in 2016 to celebrate the city’s tech talent and open the door to new collaborations. In its first year, Leeds Digital Festival hosted 56 events, but it’s grown exponentially since then. In fact, last year there were more tech events in Leeds over the 2-week festival than there were in San Francisco – and this year, it’s going to be even bigger.

This year’s festival will run from Tuesday 23rd April to Friday 3rd May 2019. They’ve already announced over 175 events, and they’re not done yet, so this will be their most ambitious festival yet. One of the reasons why it’s been so successful is the fact that it’s an open platform – anyone can hold an event, anywhere in Leeds. If you just have an idea, they can help you find a venue and offer the advice of a seasoned pro, but you can also sort it all out yourself if you want to.

As for attendees, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re a complete novice taking your first tentative steps into the industry or a tech veteran with years of experience under your belt. Because there are so many events, the programme is incredibly diverse, and there are way too many for us to cover here, but we can give you a taste of what’s coming up.

Leeds Digital Festival

Credit: Leeds Digital Festival

There are three big revivals this year and they’re sure to be popular. Code in the Dark is back for the fourth year. Get ready to watch 25 developers go head-to-head as they code-it-out for the title of Grand Champion. Leeds Loves Search makes its return too with an afternoon of expert talks on technical SEO, content marketing, link building and paid media. One of the biggest challenges in tech today is getting more women into the sector, and that’s something they’ll tackle head-on at She Does: A Day in Digital.

If you’re just starting out, you can find out what it takes to fast-track your success in the digital industry at The Essential Soft Skills Every ‘Techie’ Needs – it’s less about technical know-how and more about personal characteristics. Ready to take the jump and start your own business? Join James Gupta, founder of Synap, for How to Start a Start-up and find out how they turned a side-project into an award-winning business with over 1 million users.

There are plenty of opportunities to learn at Leeds Digital Festival. You can take part in a Free Machine Learning Workshop or scoff a bacon sarnie at a free seminar on Dealing with Data Breaches. YBS Group will share the story of their digital evolution at What Are the Six Key Blocks in Building a Transformational Roadmap?, while Data Shed and AWS will show you how to scale to 20 thousand requests per second at Handling More Hits Than Barclaycard on Boxing Day.

Leeds Digital Festival

Credit: Leeds Digital Festival

And if that’s not enough, Robin Lester from Microsoft, Terry McCann from Advancing Analytics and Sherin Mathew from IBM will lead a special AI Techathon to help you build your first Artificial Intelligence app. Alternatively, you can go industry specific. The Energy Innovation Summit promises talks from the biggest names in energy-efficiency, while the Leeds Fintech Day will showcase the city’s potential in the sector.

But it’s not all work and no play. As the festival comes to a close, everyone will come together for a big old knees-up at The Digital Mixer. It’s less about learning and more about networking, with a beer in hand, so head along and toast another great year of Leeds Digital Festival. Remember, this is just a snapshot of what’s on at Leeds Digital Festival, so take a look at the full line-up and see what takes your fancy.

Leeds Digital Festival runs from Tuesday 23rd April to Friday 3rd May 2019. Venues and ticket prices vary for each event.