RubyConf 2021 Nov 08 - 10, 2021
CFP closed

The CFP closed on Jul 16, 2021 at 11:59pm PDT

Thank you for all submitted proposals!

CFP Stats

206 proposals

Thank you for your interest in speaking at RubyConf 2021! The conference will be held November 8-10, 2021. This year it will be a hybrid event held in-person in Denver, Colorado with a strong virtual presence.  We will be combining approaches we used at both 2020's virtual RubyConf and 2021's virtual RailsConf with our in-person format from the before time.  This means both virtual and in-person attendees will connect via the conference Discord server, all content will either be streamed or published to the RubyConf website to be viewed on demand 

Please read through the rest of the guidelines to understand how the program will be different from previous conferences and how best to submit your proposal(s).  If you have questions about any of these guidelines, you can reach us at

In-Person vs Virtual

Part of the program will be given in person while there is the option to pre-record the other part.  We expect that travel restrictions will still be in place outside of the U.S. and we will allow some sessions to be pre-recorded to allow those unable to make it to Denver to be part of the conference.  We are planning to live stream two of our rooms.  All remaining rooms will be recorded and published shortly thereafter on our website.  The RubyConf website, like Railsconf,  will support view on demand for all recorded content.


We'd love for you to come share your knowledge with ~800 of your closest colleagues & friends. We welcome all talks and workshops related to the Ruby programming language, from the mainstream and basic to the niche and obscure.

The only exception: if your talk is primarily about Ruby on Rails, then please don't submit it to RubyConf. Hold off and submit it to RailsConf in Spring 2022 instead. Thanks!

We require all selected talks to comply wholly with our Anti-Harassment Policy. If you have any questions about the suitability of your talk, or anything else in this CFP, email us at

Session Formats

We have three different formats for sessions to choose from: talks, workshops, and whimsy sessions.  


The talk format is given lecture style, is 30 minutes long, and can either be pre-recorded or given live.  Though not required, our audience typically loves to ask questions so please consider reserving the last 5-6 minutes of your session for questions.  If you choose to pre-record your talk instead of giving it in-person, you will have to handle Q&A in our conference Discord. 


The workshop format is an interactive session where the participants engage in hands-on material to learn a subject.  This format will only be given in-person and ranges from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours, depending on when it is scheduled.  Workshops are highly sought after by attendees so please consider sharing your expertise in this way.  

Whimsy Sessions

The whimsy session format is a 10 minute, pre-recorded session intended to entertain as well as provide a change of pace. Consider them moments of play. These creative sessions could resemble polished, extended lightning talks that allow the speaker to more deeply explore a fun or interesting topic. Topics can be technical or non-technical such a showing off an unusual hobby or some quirky technical concept. The more playful and delightful, the better. Surprise us!


Proposals can be submitted through July 16, 2021. We will be reviewing talks as they come in. The earlier you submit, the more likely you are to receive feedback on how to amend your proposal, which betters your ultimate odds of acceptance. Ultimately, our aim is to have every proposal responded to with an acceptance, waitlist, or decline by August 6, 2021.

For those of you new to speaking (but passionate and knowledgeable!), worry not: we love first-time speakers and are happy to help you out! If you want to learn more about how to improve your talk submission, this post and this one are good places to get started.

For more information on how RubyConf proposals are selected, read the "About the Review Process" below. If you have questions after that, we’re happy to answer them or aid in other ways -- just let us know!


In addition to the general program, we also have a few themed tracks at RubyConf. These tracks have specific guidelines to describe the talks within them. Not every talk belongs in a track. If your proposal doesn't fit neatly in one of the below tracks, either tag it as General or don't tag it at all. However, if you do feel that your proposal might fit nicely within one of the below tracks, tag it with that track name.

Track Guidelines

Complex Sociotechnical Systems

Your System is more than just code. It's the infrastructure it runs on, it's the people who operate it, it's the customers who interact with it. In this track, we'd love to see talks that talk not only about what happens when these systems fail, but also how we can learn from their successes. If you're thinking about learning from incidents, adaptive capacity, learning from success, safety I & safety II, resilience engineering, modern safety science, or cognitive systems engineering, this track is for you!

Early Career

A selection of beginner-friendly talks that will help newcomers or career changers level up their skills and break into the tech industry as a Ruby developer. In this track we'd like to hear about advice, tools, or concepts you wish you would have known when starting your career.


Working with code is more than just a technical challenge, it can be an ethical one as well. In this track we'd like to hear about applying ethics in your code and work. This can include frameworks used to handle ethics-related decisions or stories about ethical challenges and how they were handled.

Functional Ruby

Ruby is best known as an object-oriented programming language, but the expressiveness we all love also makes it a great tool for exploring functional programming approaches. We want to hear your stories about non-conventional ways to build programs in Ruby through a functional lens. We're looking for new perspectives on how people have used Ruby to solve old problems in new ways using functional libraries, philosophies, project structures, and more!


Anything involving custom Ruby processes or novel uses of existing Ruby infrastructure like app servers or job processors. Tell us a story about the problem, your solution and how it worked out. Bonus points if this is open source work that others can dive into.

Ruby Performance

Tell us how to speed up Ruby applications! This includes profiling techniques, design decisions, logging techniques, performance tracking, etc. Any type of tricks that you use to speed up Ruby applications, or find and fix bottlenecks. However, don't limit yourself to just tools and tricks. We would love to hear stories about speeding up production applications, including impact to users or production systems.

This is the time to show off production graphs showing throughput increasing, or system utilization decreasing! Make the audience sigh with relief as memory usage decreases and background job throughput increases!


What makes a team work well, and is there any way to apply what works for one team to another team? Talks in this track might be about processes that work, or tools that help, or success stories about a team that did something awesome.

Weird Ruby

Show us the strange things you've built with Ruby. We'd love to see unexpected applications and personal projects you've built out of fun, joy, or necessity. Does your company use Ruby in an unusual place? Did you use Ruby to program your toaster? We want to hear about it.

Welcome to Ruby Internals

Introductory talks about Ruby itself: How does the parser work? What are objects like internally? Why is Ruby like that? Even up to why do we like to style Ruby in a particular way. RubyConf is known for hard technical talks, lets have some that are more newbie-friendly. We would like to hear about the inner workings of your Ruby implementation of interest.

About the Review Process

Proposals will go through two rounds of evaluation. The first-round review will be anonymous — reviewers do not have access to information about you, only what is in your proposal itself, to keep basic biases out of our calculations. 🚨 Please respect this process by keeping your biographical information out of the proposal itself. 🚨

In the second round, proposals that have cleared the first round will be reviewed along with your information. The purpose of this round is to evaluate proposals alongside your past speaking experience, relevant credentials, and anything else that you provide that would help our committee see what a great job you’ll do. The Program Committee is heavily committed to selecting a diverse group of speakers.

During the first round, Program Committee members may have questions and feedback for you about your proposal. The CFP application allows for two-way correspondence without revealing speaker identities. You’ll receive an email notification when a reviewer leaves feedback for you. Please reply promptly and consider adjustments when requested. Our committee will have hundreds of proposals to look over, so you’ll want to be sure that you’re not a process blocker.

Every proposal submission will be responded to, whether or not the talk is accepted. Please only contact us with questions on this if you have not heard back by August 6.

Speaker Benefits

If your session is selected for inclusion in our program, you get:

  1. Free admission to the conference (for up to two Speakers).
  2. Honorarium
    • For an in-person talk: A $500 USD travel reimbursement honorarium, sent to you post-RubyConf
    • For a virtual talk: A $100 USD equipment honorarium to help cover gear needed for your talk (microphone, headphones, etc), sent to you post-RubyConf
    • For a whimsy session: No honorarium, but you still get speaker benefits. You can also still have a talk/workshop accepted.
    • For a workshop: A $1000 USD travel reimbursement honorarium, sent to you post-RubyConf
    • Note: for sessions with more than one speaker, this honorarium is to be split among all participants, at the panel moderator or speakers' discretion.
  3. Invitation to our RubyConf 2021 Speaker Slack community, which can be a great resource as you're developing your talk.
  4. The opportunity to be paired with a speaker mentor before the conference to help you with talk prep. Mentors are granted upon request, but highly recommended, especially for new speakers.

Whether or not your talk is accepted, if you submit a proposal, we'll reserve a ticket space for you. So even if the conference sells out and your proposal isn't accepted, you'll still have the chance to buy a RubyConf ticket. Instructions on how to do so will be in the email that we send to you.