Author Archives: Caitlin Henry

What I learned attending RailsConf 2023

I was fortunate enough to attend RailsConf Atlanta 2023, and in this post I share some of the thoughts that I gathered while reflecting upon the conference.

What is RailsConf?

RailsConf is a Ruby on Rails developer’s dream. It’s a place where some of the best Rails developers come together once a year to share knowledge and expertise, and meet like-minded individuals. You have the ability to attend workshops from Rails developers that have large YouTube followings, and attend talks that discuss in-depth technical topics. It was an action-packed 3 days, and the best part was how welcoming and diverse the Rails community is!

We’re a small organization, but we have a mighty team!

As the days went on, I began to reflect and compare my experience at Security Roots with what others were sharing about their own working lives. I met developers from all over the USA, Canada and Europe. As we were discussing the different ways that our companies operate, and I was sharing my experience about how we work at Security Roots, it was apparent that we’re doing something special here.

Working asynchronously is no easy feat, but our founder has figured out a formula for making this working model a success.

“How do you get work done if you don’t have meetings?” One developer asked me.

I laughed as this was a common question I was getting.

It was interesting to learn that we had just as many, if not more, releases than most other teams over the past 8 months.

“We have great documentation, and everybody takes ownership of their work. I said. “We find information ourselves, only asking others if we have looked extensively first. We get things done because we know that there isn’t anyone else who’s going to do it for us.

I watched as they stared back at me with confusion, surprise, and undoubtedly one thousand questions running through their mind.

It was eye-opening to learn about other team structures, and what other developers’ day to day work lives look like.

Personal Growth

As a developer relatively early in my career, I am excited by the learning opportunities presented to me each day. Some of them include:

  • Learn the inner workings of virtual machines through debugging with users
  • Interact directly with users to determine what’s working and what’s not working for them, which informs my day-to-day work.
  • Work with a team of people from all over the world, everyone bringing a unique perspective to our work.
  • Take creative freedom in my solutions, and discuss them with my team.

Despite not having meetings, we are a very collaborative and close-knit team, and this is the greatest thing about working at Security Roots.

After coming back, I couldn’t wait to share what I gathered at the conference with my team. Most notably, that what we accomplish with a small team is remarkable. We produce and release more than many other larger teams, without sacrificing quality.

I felt inspired and excited to come back to my team and write beautiful Rails code!

I learned a lot at RailsConf, including:

  • How to contribute to the framework
  • How the inner workings of some of the most abstract parts of the framework function
  • How best to manage incoming Webhooks (from the master himself, Chris Oliver)
  • New command line tools that I can leverage every day
  • New ways of approaching problems.

It was great to be surrounded by so many Ruby on Rails developers who are just as passionate about their craft as I am.

I hope to take more members of the team with me next year!