There are few topics that I am more passionate/excited about than helping/guiding/observing developing developers. But because there is so much to learn, and so much information available, many times it’s hard for them to know where to start.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing/finding several great conference talks that would have helped me tremendously when I myself was a developing developer. So, if you are one (or know one), here is a short, non-exhaustive list that I think all developing developers should watch. (Please let me know others I should add to this list!)


Amelia Bedelia Learns to Code

Kylie Stradley, a Rails Girls Atlanta organizer and generally Really Witty Person™, speaks here about the mistakes beginners make (and why that might be).


The Scientific Method of Troubleshooting

Blithe Rocher, PhD holder in physical chemistry, outlines approaches for one of the most useful skills for any developer: troubleshooting. She applies her science background to her software development world, and we get the benefit!


Your Brain’s API: Giving and Getting Technical Help

Sasha Laundy, a Women Who Code founder, explains very plainly how to ask better questions (and how to give better answers). One of the most actionable talks I’ve seen on this topic!


The Junior Jump

Rebecca Poulson, recent developing developer herself, discusses here onboarding new engineers into their first jobs. Another extremely actionable talk!


Stuff Everybody Knows Except You

Laurie Voss, co-founder & CTO of @npmjs, outlines EXTENSIVELY (this is a long, worthwhile talk… maybe watch it in chunks) the things that we aren’t learning or teaching before a first developer job. This talk goes hand-in-hand with Kylie’s talk; but maybe if you watch Laurie’s talk, you can avoid some of the mistakes that Kylie mentions. 💪💪💪

P.S. As I said, this list is extensive. Use it as a study guide, but not a check list, to guide your preparation for interviewing/job hunting.


Hammock Driven Development

Rich Hickey, creator of the Clojure programming language, talks about the foundation and purpose of development: solving problems. (This talk pairs nicely with Blithe’s talk above!)

This video can’t be embedded, so go on over to youtube!


Crossing The Canyon Of Cognizance: A Shared Adventure

While I’m at it, I guess I’ll include my own talk! ¯\(ツ)


5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Programming Before I Started

Kerri Miller, one of my favorite conference speakers–because who else starts a Ruby conference talk performing a Shakespearean monologue? No one. The answer is “no one.”–lists five helpful, important ideas for developing developers AND already established developers. (My favorite point is #1 “It’s Supposed to be Hard.” What’s your favorite?)


Humane Development

Ernie Miller has given some of the most valuable “soft talks” or “people talks” that I’ve ever seen. My own talk about company culture was largely inspired by his talk “The Most Important Optimization: Happiness”, so if you have the time, I highly recommend watching that one as well!

Ernie pulls many of his people focused ideas together and delivers a compelling call to action in “Humane Development”. These are important ideas for you to carry forward in your learning and in your seeking good companies for your career.


These are all great talks to watch, even if you are already a working, fully developed developer (ha ha like that will ever happen 😁). I made notes for myself watching these, so hopefully you can glean some wisdom from other’s experiences as well. Again, please let me know what talks should be added to this list!