We are only a few weeks away from the CodeMash Call for Speakers and, like always, we are trying our best to make this year’s conference the best it can possibly be. The fact that this will be our 10th year adds an extra amount of pressure to ensure that we “get it right”. Further, it has caused us to reflect on our roots… why was this conference started? what were the goals? are we still holding true to those?

CodeMash is about broadening your horizons. It is about exposing you to people and technology that are outside your daily work envelope. If you spend 99.9998% of your time writing C#, we want to encourage you to visit sessions on Ruby. Or JavaScript. Or UI Design. Or … ? You may not believe us, but exposure to other ways of thinking about technology problems will make you better at what you do. Brian – the guy with orange hair – often challenges folks to spend at least 40% of their time at the conference in sessions outside their normal job-related topic areas. This is a great recommendation and will benefit you in many ways.

To that end, we are making some subtle changes to the way we handle our call for speakers this year. Rather than focusing on specific technologies (i.e. Java, C#, Ruby, etc.) we are looking at broader topic areas and we would like your help in choosing the right balance of the content for the conference. We have a simple, 6-question survey we’d like to get as many folks to complete as possible.

If you are still here, here’s an overview of the topic areas we are currently considering (in no particular order):

  • Programming Principles – A return to the basics. Topics on Object Oriented programming, Procedural, Functional, etc. How to do it right, rather than just do it. Good for both new programmers and seasoned professionals alike.
  • Security – Ways to help ensure your application doesn’t end up on the front page of CNN with the sub-title “46 million passwords leaked” and related topics
  • Design (UI/UX) – How to make your great, amazing, best-in-the-world piece of software actually usable by real humans. Not just “make it pretty”, but functionally appropriate design.
  • Hardware – The place for low-level tinkering. For those of you fortunate enough to work at this level, more tools and better approaches to hardware applications. For the rest of us, an opportunity to affect atoms with bits.
  • Project Leadership/Soft Skills – beyond bits, there are people (or so we’ve been told). We’ve all known that person who was amazing behind the keyboard but had the personality of a Brillo pad. Maybe that’s you. Maybe you are leading a team of those people. How do you help your team cross the finish line without them hating you and everyone around you.
  • Data (Big/small/otherwise) – Every application needs/uses/generates data. Some use a lot, some use a little. All need to be intelligent about how they do it.
  • Software Quality – Beyond (but still including) testing… What can you do to ensure that your application works, the way it is supposed to, all the time. Without, of course, costing as much as the GDP of some small nation.
  • Web/Front-End – Making sense of the 3,876 ways to build a website and make it work with any device. Death to JavaScript. Long Live JavaScript. (insert your favorite web tech here).
  • Enterprise/Large-Shop Development – For those folks who make the world go ’round. The world is rarely “green field”, esp. in the enterprise. Some technology stacks/approaches apply better in large shops than small. Others, that work well for the single dev, fall over in large dev environments. How do you make your code play well with others?
  • Architecture – The Art of designing your application’s inner workings. How to plan for scale, how to not over-engineer your 1-user-per-day website. Where does iterative design fit?
  • DevOps – how to avoid the “it works on my machine!” syndrome. Thinking about deployment and support from day one.
  • Mobile  – Thinking about your application in the context of smaller screen devices. Making the most of the platforms available… not just making you software available on mobile devices because you can, but doing so in such a way that convinces folks that you should.

This year, we have 235 slots for content (40 precompiler sessions and 195 regular sessions). We spend a significant amount of time weighting and balancing submissions based on what we think you want to hear. Please help us get the content balance right by completing our topic interest survey.