What Ruby Conferences Can Teach Us About Leadership

Our recent sponsorship of Rocky Mountain Ruby 2016 showcases the growing diversity of the community - and the emphasis on non-technical content. Here's why it matters for developers looking into leadership positions.

Why aren't Ruby conferences talking about Ruby anymore?

Our recent sponsorship of Rocky Mountain Ruby 2016 showcases the growing diversity of the community. The person we sent to the conference is not a developer by trade - and for a second I was worried about the technical content of the talks. But after watching them, it's evident even the most experienced Rubyists are emphasizing non-technical skills to succeed in the workplace.

If you're a developer lamenting this shift, the following talks may not be what you had in mind. But if you're looking to move into leadership opportunities, there are some valuable points to take away.

Notable Themes Include:

1. Mentorship. There's no better way to test your expertise than to teach someone else. Kinsey Ann Durham and Kim Barnes showcase their mentor/mentee relationship on stage and prove mentorship helps junior developers become more confident programmers, as well as helps senior developers sharpen their skills and gain a new perspective.

2. Communication. Sarah Allen is a legend in many respects but lately has been on a mission to educate community members about technology. By sharing stories of her work at BridgeFoundry, she argues technical skills only become stronger when they can be communicated and shared with others - especially those coming from a diverse background.

3. Building a system. The most unlikely Microsoft employee ever (His words, not ours), Chad Fowler was a pillar in the Colorado tech community for years before joining Wunderlist/Microsoft. He shares his story about rewriting his legacy code and reminds us what thought leadership is all about with his concept of "immutable infrastructure."


While there is an amount of technical aptitude required to take on a challenge (like rewriting your codebase), these talks demonstrate the other aspects needed for success - communication with your team as well as the mentorship of junior staff. Rocky Mountain Ruby 2016 serves to remind developers of other skills needed beyond programming to become stronger technical leaders.

Curious about the rest of the conference talks? Watch the full lineup at Confreaks.

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Sophia Le

In her free time, Sophia cooks plant-based recipes, frequents yoga class, and will never say no to karaoke. She blogs about her attempt at work-life balance at sophiale.com.

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