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5 Reasons To Turn That Idea Into A RubyConf 2022 Talk

In case you missed it, the Call For Proposals for RubyConf 2022 — and RubyConf Mini — is live, and in case you needed a calendar check, there’s just under a week left to submit! Whether you’ve been preparing for this moment all year, or last month’s CFP announcement illuminated a gem ;-D of inspiration in you, now’s the time to crack your knuckles, take to the keyboard, put your best ideas forward in the CFP app and ship it.

If you’re on the fence about submitting a proposal, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to demystify the process, alleviate your concerns and share some words of wisdom from a few recent RubyConf speakers who are glad they went for it! Without further ado, here are your 5 reasons to turn that idea into RubyConf 2022 talk:

1. You’ll be supported the whole way through

Turning your ideas into a conference talk proposal that is clear, fits this year’s conference themes and impresses the program committee can feel like a daunting task. Luckily, you don’t have to start from a blank slate. In fact, former program committee member Noel Rappin and veteran speaker Sarah Mei have created some of our favorite guides to help you develop your ideas into a proposal, and elevate that proposal to make it engaging and polished.

If you’re still feeling lost or would like some feedback on your work so far, another Ruby veteran Kevin Murphy has kindly offered his support and has even shared examples of his successful proposals to spark your imagination.

Maybe you have everything you need for a RubyConf talk proposal, but you’re nervous about what happens if your talk gets selected and you have to actually, you know, talk!

We have your back. Whether you’ve never given a conference talk, never presented at RubyConf specifically or simply are not sure how to best explain your particular topic, once you are selected you have the option to be paired with a speaker mentor who can help you prepare your talk.

If you want to get a jump start on the process, many former speakers have shared their experiences getting to the RubyConf stage too, including RubyConf 2021 speaker Stefanni Brasil who created a fun and helpful step-by-step guide to creating and delivering a technical talk.

2. No, really — we got you! Here’s some more topic inspiration

Choosing to submit a talk to be included in a conference track is a great way to narrow down your choices if you’re feeling overwhelmed by this step in the submission process. Some of our most inclusive tracks are “Bringing Your Backgrounds With You” and “Hidden Gems.” Casey Watts and Elayne Juten, the program committee members who created these tracks, respectively, shared their personal reasons to submit a talk to these tracks.

“Teams are stronger when you can bring your full self to work, and our conference is stronger when our speakers can bring their full selves. This theme is close to the heart of the Ruby community,” said Watts. “What unique perspectives do you bring to the community and the workplace? We’d love to hear about them!”

Juten invites potential speakers to share about a particular gem (or gems) from new angles: “What gems do you love to use? Have you explored the internals of a gem? We would love to hear from you!”

3. You may help invite new faces to the table

It’s no secret that tech conferences, like the field itself, can be very homogenous…i.e. white and men dominated, with not much variety in class representation. We fully recognize this and it’s why we created the Opportunity Scholarship program and why we are happy to partner with WNB.rb to support RubyConf Mini. It’s also why if you feel like representation has been an important part of your tech career, you can consider applying to speak a chance to welcome and build community with other Rubyists looking for someone like you.

That’s what inspired Stefanni Brasil, co-founder and educator at hexdevs, to submit her talk “Perceptual Learning == More Ruby Experts?” at RubyConf 2021. “I wanted to see more people like me speaking at technical conferences. I’m a second-language English speaker and immigrant,” she said. Brasil also tapped into the Ruby community for support. “I collaborated with other developers from WNB.rb and we supported each other during this process. It made a total difference in feeling more confident with submitting a proposal.”

4. You’ll have a chance for your skills to shine

One of the common themes former speakers shared about speaking at their first RubyConf is that it was a validating highlight in their professional careers. From joining a roster of Rubyists who have made great contributions to the community, to connecting with potential employers who are actively hiring, “putting yourself out there” as a speaker is a wonderful way to confirm your Ruby expertise.

“It was a shift to feeling like I have something to contribute, and that I’m able to be part of this community beyond just observing it,” said Scott Moore, Senior Software Engineer at Doximity. After he presented his workshop “All comments must be haiku! Custom linting with RuboCop” at RubyConf 2021, “One of the attendees told me they implemented the concept from the workshop at their day job,” he said. “Being able to help someone like that in such an immediate way was hugely rewarding.”

5. You’ll experience RubyConf magic in a new way

If you’ve ever attended a RubyConf you’re likely familiar with the special environment created when the all of the ideas, innovation, and problem solving are focused on Ruby. “Often the technologies around web development are all mixed together with Ruby,” said Principal Software Engineer, Kyle d’Oliveira who gave a talk at RubyConf 2021 titled “The mindset of debugging.”

“It is really inspiring to see what can be done with Ruby on its own. You can learn neat things about the language itself, or new ways to apply it that you may not have thought about before.”

As a speaker, you have the opportunity be a part of shaping this experience for fellow Rubyists by adding your unique perspective to the conversations, and possibly changing the way they look at the language forever.

5a. Bonus

For those of you who can and do sign up to speak in Houston or Providence, this will be doubly felt. “I find being present in-person is the difference between listening to a conference vs participating in a conference,” shared d’Oliveira. “It’s easier to connect with people, randomly meeting someone, join hallway conversations, etc.” added Brasil.  

A few final thoughts

The bottom line is, you don’t need to feel completely ready to create a wonderful conference proposal and deliver a great talk. All you need is the seed of an idea and the Ruby community will support you the rest of the way. We’ll leave you with a final word of encouragement from one of our featured former speakers:

“Earlier in my career, I didn’t think it was useful to speak at a conference because I didn’t think I had anything novel, interesting, or even useful to say. I look back and I realize just how wrong I was. Everyone has something valuable to talk about that could be beneficial to others and the more we push to share as part of the Ruby community, the better we can all become.”  

–Kyle d’Oliveira

We hope this post has helped all of you CFP fence-sitters to take the leap! If you still have questions about the application, please don’t hesitate contact us at rubyconf@rubycentral.org.

Happy proposal writing!