Learn More About India’s Exciting RubyConfIndia 2013

by Prakash Murthy on June 20, 2013

Learn More About India’s Exciting RubyConfIndia 2013

This guest post is by Prakash Murthy. Prakash is a Ruby programmer, working as a freelance web developer, splitting time between India and US, and currently based in Mysore. He discovered Ruby/Rails in early 2010 when he was looking to become a full-time programmer after more than a decade in a customer support role in the financial services software field, and has thrived in his chosen path ever since. He came to the Ruby world because of the effectiveness of Rails and staying here for the beauty of Ruby and the awesomeness of the community.

Prakash Murthy I am very excited to be heading to Pune, India tomorrow, to partake in the RubyConf India 2013 revelries.

Looking forward to meet with and learn from fellow Rubyists from around the world. Thrilled about getting to meet influential members in the global Ruby community including Jim Weirich, Aaron Patterson, Steve Klabnik and Andy Lindeman in my backyard so to speak.

The conference is being held on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd July at Hyatt Regency Hotel in Pune. This is the fourth edition of RubyConf India.

I had attended the second edition of the conference in Bangalore back in 2011. That conference had left me impressed with a good mix of talks, and by being a very professionally organized event. Expecting this year’s event to better that experience by miles.

I have been actively involved in organizing this conference on and off for the last couple of months. Being aware of some of the milestones that were passed along the way makes me confidant that this year’s event will turn out to be very successful, and will leave the participants excited and thankful for being part of an awesome community around Ruby programming language in India.

5K run at RubyConfIndia 2013

My first involvement with the conference organization was with the 5K run at the event. The organizing team – headlined by Ajey Gore and Gautam Rege – thought it was a great idea to have a 5K run at this years conference, and gave me the go ahead to make it happen.

That led to the creation of ruby5k.in website to encourage many in the Indian Ruby community to take up running. So far, 84 people have signed up on ruby5k.in; and 23 people have posted training entries on the site. Happy about a few of the training entries being for the first ever time the person was running!

Anil Wadghule has been an awesome co-organizer for the ruby5k run, taking care of all the logistics locally, and getting Github to be a sponsor for the event, among many other things.

Thanks to Pragmatic Programmers for sponsoring 5 eBooks as prizes for the runners at ruby5k. The prize announcement did encourage a few more people to get serious about running!

Looking forward to a successful 5K run this Sunday morning, with many people enjoying a 5 km run with their fellow Rubyists, and having a great time at it, despite there being the possibility of rains.

Talks at RubyConfIndia 2013

Satish Talim, Hemant Kumar and I were on the panel to select the talks from among the 100+ talks that were submitted as a response to the Call for Proposals. We had a tough couple of days discussion to choose from among many very good proposals.

The selection process started by the three of us, on the panel, voting on the talks independently – the voting scale being 2 for Yes, 1 for Maybe/Backup and 0 for No.

Some numbers from this voting round: 8 talks got a 2 from each of us on the panel; 11 talks tallied a total of 5 points; 30 talks got a total of 4 points.

The list of talks were further refined after some discussion about the favorability of the topic + the speaker credentials + whether the topic has been dealt with elsewhere, etc. before the organizing team announced the final selected list of talks.

There were a couple of reversals as some of the selected foreign speakers couldn’t make the trip to India.

Nevertheless, the selection process has worked well and resulted in an excellent schedule at this year’s conference.

Something new in the schedule this time around is that two of the talks by Indian speakers will be on par with the keynotes – and will be in a full audience session (and not in a breakout session).

The two talks are:

  1. Turning blind eye to rails development “?”|” ! “!” by Siddhant Narendra Chote, and
  2. Taking Ruby Community in India to a New Level by me.

I am very excited to be one of the two Indians to address the full 500+ audience at this year’s RubyConf India! Hoping there will be more Indian keynotes at future conferences.

Opportunity Scholarship

One more part of the conference where I suggested an idea to the organizers and it was whole heartedly adopted!

I had seen Opportunity Scholarship in operation at last year’s Rocky Mountain Ruby Conference; thought it was a great way to increase diversity in the tech community.

The organizing team decided to take this program on for this year’s conference, and Satish Talim led the effort to co-ordinate with interested parties for awarding 14 scholarships. The scholarship included free entry to the conference as well as reimbursement of travel expenses up to a limit among other things. The objective of this program was to encourage participation by groups who were inadequately represented in the community.

More than 75 applications came in for the scholarship; Satish had the hard task of selecting 14 from among them.

The next part of the program was to pair each of the 14 selected for the Opportunity Scholarship with an experienced Ruby programmer who would act as their guide at the conference. 14 mentors were found in no time as the community’s response to a call for “Developer Sherpas” was amazing.

Read more about the Opportunity Scholarship along with the names of the scholarship winners and their developer sherpas at http://lanyrd.com/2013/rubyconfindia/calls/qqbk/

A note about sponsors at the conference

This is the first time at a RubyConf India that there is no Platinum Sponsor.

At each of the last three editions, ThoughtWorks was the Platinum Sponsor chipping in the biggest chunk of sponsorship money to cover the expenses of organizing the conference. This time around, there were more associate sponsors chipping in smaller amounts of sponsorship money, but enough to make it unnecessary to have a Platinum Sponsor.

I think this is a terrific development; it is a sign that the number of companies in the Indian Ruby ecosystem has increased significantly!

Thanks to all the companies who sponsored RubyConfIndia 2013.

What’s my expectation from the conference?

Did I mention I am very excited to be at the RubyConf India 2013 this weekend? The excitement comes mainly from being at the only Ruby conference in India. Am eager to meet with some old friends and make some new friends.

I am also excited and nervous at the same time about my talk. I am not very happy with the level of community activity around Ruby in India, and am hoping that my talk would encourage a discussion on the value of a strong local community around Ruby, and inspire a spree of Ruby-related events in many cities and towns around India.

On a related note, I am hoping to meet and discuss with a few people interested in doing something to better the Ruby community in their town; hoping to learn from these conversations, and to contribute in some small way to their efforts.

I am also eagerly looking forward to some of the talks, particularly the last keynote by Andy Lindeman as he has been teasing everyone about what will be in his talk all week.

So in summary, hoping to make more friends, learn some new stuff, make some impact, and have a lot of fun at this conference.

See you in Pune this Weekend!

If you are not attending RubyConfIndia 2013, do follow #rubyconfindia on twitter for some updates, and keep an eye out for Confreaks.com to put up the videos from the conference in a few weeks.

Feel free to ask questions and give feedback in the comments section of this post. Thanks!

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Posted by Prakash Murthy

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