Big Data has had its marquee conferences with Strata and Structure, but there are several newer venues that you might want to consider, including two conferences coming up in St. Louis. If you are just getting started, or even if you are an old hand, these are great places to learn more about this fast-growing technology.

Strata is put on by O'Reilly twice a year and is held concurrently with Hadoop World in New York starting October 23. The basic pass is $900, but there are lots of add-ons and specialized tutorials. One of the keynotes is by Nora Denzel, who is Intuit's senior vice president for big data, social design and marketing. As in past events, there is a long list of vendors who will be participating.

StampedeCon claims its focus is "on the role of Big Data, its business value, potential cost savings, and Big Data use cases at Facebook, Nokia, Kraft Foods, Monsanto and more." It has more presentations from actual end users than vendors, unlike some of the other conferences. For example, Frank Cotignola, the consumer insights manager of Kraft Foods, will demonstrate how to use social media to research important brand topics and provide in-depth insights to new product development, segment analysis and broader topics that companies might not previously have had the funds to research. It is a single-day event on August 1 that is the least expensive of the conferences we've seen: A pass will run $250. (I'll also be speaking there.)

St. Louis will see another conference that isn't exclusive to Big Data but certainly will cover some of its technical underpinnings this fall with Strange Loop, starting on September 23. It is already sold out, but its previous sessions are well worth taking a look. We wrote about one session on NoSQL at last year's conference here.

Another Big Data conference worth checking out is mainly for government workers. It begins September 18 in Washington, D.C., and will cost at least $1,290 for a pass. Scheduled speakers include CIOs and CTOs from numerous three-lettered federal agencies, along with key vendor representatives.

And TDWI will be held starting July 29 in San Diego. It starts at $2,430 for a three-day pass and is run by computer publisher 1105 Media. There are numerous add-on tutorials and other pre- and post-conference sessions that can extend your Big Data learning experience to nearly a week and is co-located with a business intelligence conference, which seems like a natural combination.