It’s been a hot second, but I’m back at it with blogging.

I just got home from speaking at RubyConf Australia. I found the conference to be one of the best I’ve attended due to its emphasis on community-building.

I’m no Rubyist by profession, which (admittedly) made me feel fraudulent as a speaker, but getting to know the RubyConf AU attendees and organizers showed me that Rubyists welcome people who write in other languages. One of my favorite takeaways from RubyConf AU came from Katie McLaughlin’s multilingual talk entitled “JavaScript is Awe-ful”: no language is the “best” language. As frustrating as the quirks of other languages may seem to a Rubyist, they arise from thoughtful design decisions.

Seeing Katie deliver this talk in the first few hours of the conference made me feel at home within the Australian Ruby community.

Katie’s subject matter was no anomaly. I loved that the organizers of RubyConf AU appeared to have chosen talks that focused more on people than on petty programming language schisms.

Examples include Merrin Macleod’s presentation on the political aspects of software engineering…

… and Ryan Bigg’s “hire juniors!” address.

These people-first speakers set the stage for me to share my thoughts on how to create accessible, empathetic, and thorough technical writing. With 400+ attendees, RubyConf AU had the biggest crowd in front of which I’d ever spoken – which certainly made me nervous – but I pulled through and delivered what I believe to be my best talk to date.

As a bonus, Sandi Metz helped me out during my post-talk Q&A. It was an honor to have a renowned technical author back my ideas up!

RubyConf AU further strengthened the conference community by hosting ample social events. I still find it incredible that I got to eat a four-dollar-sign dinner in the Sydney Opera House, roam the Chinese Friendship Gardens, and ogle at cute long-beaked echidnas in the Taronga Zoo with my fellow attendees!

I’m grateful for the hard work that Mel, Nick, Sharon, and Nadia put into hosting a refreshingly community-focused event and welcoming me to Australia.