Calling all coding enthusiasts, the Bath Ruby Conference which was such a smash last year, bringing 500 developers together at the gorgeous Assembly Rooms, will be back in Bath on 11 March with another stellar line up of speakers, giving both technical and non-technical talks on a range of subjects.

“I’m really happy with the variety of talks we have this year, from graph databases to neuroscience and an exploration of Ruby’s internals by one of the language’s core contributors”

 

simon-starrTechSPARK was lucky enough to be invited last year, and we were incredibly impressed at the range of interesting and surprising speakers and lightning talks at the event, and we can’t wait for this year’s conference for more of the same. To find out what’s in store for us we quizzed organiser Simon Starr (pictured right) to get the lowdown on what happened last year and what we can expect at the Bath Ruby Conference 2016.

Simon is no stranger to tech and helping other people get involved with it – he was a finalist for our own SPARKies tech award for the Long-term Contribution to Innovation in the South West – and with the sterling work he did with Bath Ruby last year, it’s no surprise that the event garnered praise from many corners. As Simon explains: “The feedback was incredibly positive; everyone seemed to enjoy the mixture of technical and non-technical talks. The venue turned out to be a hit as well and the whole day had a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.

“There were a lot of great comments about the speaker lineup too – sadly it’s very unusual for tech conferences to feature as many female speakers as male speakers but last year we had four women and two men on stage. Lack of gender equality is a big problem in our industry and it’s something I feel very strongly about. This year, as well as maintaining a diverse speaker line-up, I’ve set aside 50 tickets for organisations representing minorities in tech to give away to their members.”

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Talking tech: Linda Liukas, co-founder of Rails Girls, author and Ruby Hero, at the Bath Ruby Conference 2015

Simon clearly feels strongly about giving something back, so it’s no surprise that his favourite thing from last year was “the fact that we raised £3,500 for Shelter by donating 10% of ticket sales.” He adds, “I set out from the beginning to run it as a community event rather than a profit-making enterprise and giving money to charity was one of the results of that decision. I’m proud to say that this year we’re doing it again, this time for Save the Children.”

You can get a flavour of last year’s conference in the video below

What’s happening this year?

So enough about the past, what can we expect in 2016? Simon tells us: “I’m really happy with the variety of talks we have this year, from graph databases to neuroscience and an exploration of Ruby’s internals by one of the language’s core contributors. Last year the two rounds of lightning talks were really popular so this year we have an extra round, giving 15 people the chance to stand up in front of an audience of 500 and talk for 5 minutes on a topic of their choosing.”

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Bath Ruby 2016 speakers: Some of the people holding talks at the conference

Simon is keen for people to get as much out of Bath Ruby Conference 2016 as possible: “I attend a lot of developer conferences myself and, aside from the talks, I really love the variety of interesting people I meet. We have a break between each talk and the after party starts as soon as the final talk is over, giving everyone plenty of time to get to know each other and discuss what they’ve learned.”

“Last year I had a lot of feedback from people who don’t even use Ruby but were surprised at how much they got out of the conference.”

 

Get involved

bath-ruby-conference-16Interested? Simon tells us “There are still a few tickets left and I’d encourage anyone with an interest in coding to come along. Last year I had a lot of feedback from people who don’t even use Ruby but were surprised at how much they got out of the conference.

“This year we’re fortunate to have Sky sponsoring (they’re hiring for a lot of technical roles at the moment) and I’m really pleased to have support from uSwitch and Bytemark. There are still a few sponsorship slots left so I’d love to hear from anyone interested in supporting the conference.”

We’d like to thank Simon for taking the time to talk to us. You can buy some of the few tickets left at the Bath Ruby Conference website. You can also keep up to date with conference news and updates on their Twitter feed: @BathRuby

Jamie Middleton