This week we’re highlighting members of our Scholars and Guides community, Ruby Central’s conference mentorship program which provides new and aspiring Rubyists with a supportive social and, if needed, a financial pathway to entering the tech community.

Today’s spotlight is a RubyConf 2022 Scholar. If you are thinking of attending the upcoming conference, joining the program as a Scholar can help you feel grounded as you navigate a conference for the first time and find your way as a new Ruby developer.

If you’re still on the fence about applying, we hope this spotlight helps give you the extra boost to go for it!


Bryce Simonds


Software Engineer

How did you get into Ruby?

Bootcamp - Turing School of Software and Design

Are there Ruby projects you're working on, that you're excited about?

At RubyConf 2022 I was exposed to DragonRuby and I am SO excited to get started playing around and creating projects with it. Beyond DragonRuby I am currently on a team working to create a web application using a Ruby backend to connect Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) Dungeon Masters to D&D Players using a variety of consent questions. After that project my plan is to start contributing to open source projects in a bit of my free time. I love giving back and am excited to do so!

How did you feel going into RubyConf 2022?

EXCITED! I LOVE meeting new people and developing new genuine relationships. I also knew beforehand there would be many talks where I would have an opportunity to learn brand new topics and expand upon topics I am already confident in. So that contributed to the excitement as well!

I was [also] a little nervous that people would discredit my knowledge and credentials since I attended a bootcamp instead of having a 4 year CS degree.

What were you expecting to come out of it?

I was expecting to learn, grow, meet new people and have an amazing week

What surprised you, if anything about your RubyConf 2022 experience?

How SUPER kind, welcoming, and supportive the RubyConf community is. Never once was I looked down upon for not knowing as much as someone else.

What was the highlight of the conference for you?

It is between having the opportunity to talk on stage during the lightning talks and receiving such positive feedback, and the other highlight which was just getting out and having fun with others whether it was dinner plans, coffee, or my personal favorite: karaoke night!

Any advice for other first time conference attendees?

It is so true what I heard from day 1 of the conference: it is 100% okay (and encouraged!) to spend time getting to know others and chat in the hallway (known as the 'hallway track') instead of attending every single talk each day. Try to find a balance and rest easy knowing talks are recorded so you can go back and watch them later.

Any advice for other first time guides/first time scholars?

Take care of yourself when you need to so that you can have the energy to engage with others, be present for the talks, and have a truly awesome time. Some examples: Find out what meals are provided at the conference and make sure you have a plan for having food for each meal. For example you could have groceries delivered to your hotel for breakfast since lunch is provided and you love going out to dinner. Get enough sleep and fight the FOMO when your group wants to stay up until 2am in the hotel lobby. You will see them tomorrow and probably feel more awake and ready for the day. Go up to your hotel room for a break if you're feeling exhausted from talking to others, or sitting all day, or whatever it is. These are just a few examples but overall again: take care of yourself.

Any other final thoughts?

I want to thank everyone at Ruby Central. For putting this event together, for having me as a scholar, for encouraging me to get up on stage, and for keeping an eye on all of us scholars throughout [the] conference to ensure we were having a good time. And for those debating whether or not to attend RubyConf for any reason I want to emphasize if my blog post has not already emphasized this exact point => literally every single person I interacted with whether it be for one second or one hour, was warm and welcoming, kind and caring, and a blast to talk to. Matz is nice, so we are nice.