Speak, Share, and Inspire at NERD Summit!

Call for Session Proposals

Are you knowledgeable or passionate about a topic you’d like to share at NERD Summit? Would you like to gain public speaking experience in a supportive environment? How about inspiring folks new to the software development field, especially those who might feel under-represented?

The three types of sessions that we are looking for are:

Presentation - a speaker presenting a topic, usually with slides and sometimes a demo. Presentations will be recorded and later posted to the NERD Summit YouTube channel.

Group Discussion - a moderator picks the topic and brings a few starter questions. Anyone and everyone at the group discussion session can answer, add questions, share experiences, etc. It's like crowd-sourcing knowledge! (AKA Birds of a Feather or BOFs) Group discussion sessions will not be recorded, to allow for candid conversation.

Panel - a panel of 3 to 6 people with a moderator asking the panel questions around a certain topic.

Consider dedicating some part of your presentation to themes of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Also, we invite you to reach out to colleagues who might not otherwise present to encourage them to respond to the call for proposals: you can sometimes make a big difference with just a word or a nudge.

Check out ideas from each topic areas below and SUBMIT YOUR PROPOSAL HERE  (login or create user when you get there) for NERD Summit!

Deadline for submissions: Sunday, January 30, 2022 at 11:59pm

Session Topic Areas: 

Design & User Experience

Sessions in this topic focus on educating attendees by sharing innovative techniques in the world of branding, digital design, and UX/UI. With sessions and workshops led by local industry leaders, attendees will leave with a clearer understanding of the latest trends and best practices within design, including:

  • HTML/CSS for designers

  • Inclusive design/accessibility tips and best practices

  • The importance of pattern/component libraries and how to prepare them effectively

  • Collaboration with team leaders, clients, and developers

  • Designing (and troubleshooting) user experiences

  • Submit your own idea for a topic related to design

Project & Business Management

We’re looking for speakers with expertise in adding value to organizations "on time and on budget." If you juggle resources, deadlines and goals, we invite you to submit a proposal. Topics may include:

  • Methodologies (Agile, PMBOK, hybrid, etc)

  • Analytics and reporting

  • Women in IT

  • Team management

  • Emotional intelligence

  • PM tools (Slack, Jira, Wrike, Trello, Basecamp, Asana, LiquidPlanner, Zoho, spreadsheets)

  • And more! (We’re open to your ideas and interests)


Dev Ops is about people working together to build, evolve, and run software systems. As we have more and more tools at our disposal that enable us to automate and monitor processes throughout the software development life cycle, the lines between software development and traditional systems administration have blurred. As part of NERD Summit's inaugural DevOps track, we'll be focusing on topics that will help you streamline your development workflows to improve your team's velocity and your product's reliability, so that you can deliver features faster, minimize downtime, and remove error prone manual steps.

The DevOps topic will focus on areas such as:

  • Release and testing automation

  • Containerization/Infrastructure as Code

  • Effective Test Strategies

  • Local Development Stacks

  • Microservice vs Monolith

  • Monitoring and Feedback Loops

Some tools we might be talking about this year:

  • Docker

  • Kubernetes

  • Terraform

  • [your favorite test framework]

  • [your favorite CI toolset]

  • [your favorite monitoring tool]

Backend Development

The Backend Development are includes the tools and techniques that power what happens behind the scenes in web applications. This might include APIs, libraries, databases, and performance. Backend developers build the application logic that processes requests from clients and returns relevant data, which often involves interacting with a datastore. Backend developers need to know about databases and about the systems that the application will run on - whether traditional servers, serverless, or containers.

Sessions in the backend development area might cover topics like:

  • Data storage
    SQL, relational databases, graph databases, data reliability / backups
  • Web application security
    Securing your data, OWASP, static analysis, authentication / authorization
  • Languages and frameworks
    Java, PHP/Laravel, .NET, Ruby/Rails, Python, JavaScript
    OOP, functional programming, styles and standards, package managers, unit and integration testing techniques
  • Development tips and techniques
    Leveraging and building open source libraries, using git, IDEs
  • Backend architectures
    Serverless, microservices, pub/sub, message queues, web servers / proxies
  • API design
    REST, SOAP, GraphQL
  • Techniques for improving performance
    Optimization, profiling, caching, search engines

Front End Development

The Web would be a boring place without front-end developers turning designers' creatives and back-end data into interactive and functional web pages and applications. The NERD Summit Front End Development topic includes talks on a wide range of subjects and skill levels from beginners to advanced topics and beyond. From coding to culture to career--whatever you're passionate about related to front-end development and technology--we encourage everyone interested to submit a session proposal.

Some ideas for talks:

  • Trends and timely topics today and beyond: The future of front-end development
  • HTML5 Semantic Elements: Readability, Accessibility, SEO, etc.
  • Accessibility and SEO Best Practices
  • Mobile development best practices
  • Creating and working with component libraries or design systems.
  • JavaScript frameworks such as React.js, Vue.js and Angular
  • Languages and frameworks that compile to JavaScript such as ClojureScript, TypeScript,
  • Reason ML, or Elm.
  • Tooling libraries like Webpack, Gulp, Parcel, Rollup, Browserify
  • Contrast and compare module bundlers, build tools, task runners
  • Web Assembly
  • Working with GraphQL and other backend services
  • Client-side security: threats and prevention
  • Website load time and performance
  • JAMstack: JavaScript, APIs, Markup
  • Code documentation tools
  • Debugging with browser developer tools
  • Front-end testing
  • How to prepare for the technical interview and/or coding challenge
  • Submit your own topic to present.

Fun with Code

Did you deliver all your software features this week? Who cares! This area is all about having fun, finding inspiration, and sharing the magic of creating something new. We will celebrate the funny, the unexpected, and the beautiful. We welcome frivolous and inspiring proposals from everyone, including folks just getting started. Sample topics might include:

  • Approaches to generative art.

  • Minecraft mods that connect to the real world.

  • Teaching Alexa a new joke.

  • A live coding audio performance and tutorial.

  • Quines and code obfuscation.

  • An indie game developers journey.

  • Computational Poetry.

  • Engaging programming environments for children.

  • Tales from the demoscene.

Horizons (the future)

“Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” - Wayne Gretzky
Where is our industry going? What will the next 10 years of our career and day to day life look like?  Horizons sessions are focused on current and upcoming technologies as well as your career options for today and down the road.

  • Augmented Reality
  • Robotic and the workforce
  • Blockchain
  • Bitcoin
  • AI (Artificial Intelligence)
  • Machine Learning
  • Entering into a technical career
  • Growth in your existing career
  • Virtual Reality


Last, but not least, tell us about your experiences so we can learn from them. This is a very broad topic that can both life and work experiences you would like to share.

  • How I got into tech
  • My struggles with imposter syndrome
  • How mentors have helped me along the way 
  • What I love and hate about my work 
  • I was in a rut, this is how I got out
  • My experience as a person of color in the tech world 
  • My experience as a woman in the tech world 
  • This is how I learn 

Our Mission:

NERDs creates positive and supportive learning opportunities for people who work, or want to work in web and related technology. Too many smart, passionate people have been traditionally excluded from tech careers, and we're changing that. Read more about NERDs at

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If you have questions where the answers might benefit others in the community, try our Questions area.

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More info

How long is a session?

Sessions, whether a presentation, group discussion, or a panel are 45 minutes long. That length will be strictly enforced to allow adequate time for the next speaker to setup and for attendees to get to their next session.

For presentations we recommend 35 minutes of speaking/discussion, followed by a 10 minute Q&A, or summarization, period. Make sure to time your session! And leave some extra time (e.g. 5 minutes). An example of a well-planned session would be: 30 minutes of speaking + 5 minutes cushion + 10 minutes Q&A = 45 minutes.


If you would like to do a longer session, such as a training, please contact us at:

Past sessions are here: 

Nearly all presentations have been recorded and posted to YouTube.

Past sites and sessions have been archived in the table below.

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