NERD Summit 2024 Information

What is NERD Summit?

NERD Summit is an inclusive, community building tech event in New England.
Check out sessions from NERD Summit 2023.
View 2023 schedule   |   View 2023 session videos

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Volunteer for NERDS 2024!

Join the NERDS 2024 Team! It's fun, we promise!
The idea is to try to have many volunteers each doing one small job to make it easier on everyone.
So joining the team does NOT mean a big commitment. It could mean any of these, for example:
Volunteer to work at the registration desk
Volunteer to ask a company / organization to sponsor
Volunteer to help get a speaker for a certain topic


Propose a session or idea for NERDS 2024!

Speak, Share, and Inspire at NERD Summit!
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?


Which button above should I use?
Use PROPOSE A SESSION if you have a session that you would like to present yourself. Use PROPOSE AN IDEA if you have an idea for a session but do not want to do it yourself (we will try to find someone to do it).

Session proposals are CLOSED due by January 15, 2024.

Feel free to submit a backup session if you like.

The four 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.

Training - a training is a longer interactive session, generally involving hands-on participation by attendees.

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.

Session time slots are 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, 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.

For group discussions, we recommend splitting the 45 minutes into parts with specific discussion questions. For example: 3 discussion questions for 15 minutes each.

The topics listed below are meant to give you ideas on a topic you might want to propose a session for. Three areas that we particularly want to draw your attention to are Fun with Code, Horizons (the future) and Experiences.

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 examples include:

  • Release and testing automation
  • Containerization/Infrastructure as Code
  • Effective Test Strategies
  • Local Development Stacks
  • Microservice vs Monolith
  • Monitoring and Feedback Loops

Some tools that might make good topics:

  • Docker
  • Kubernetes
  • Terraform
  • [your favorite test framework]
  • [your favorite CI toolset]
  • [your favorite monitoring tool]

Backend Development

The Backend Development area 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 and music
  • 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
  • Arduino and Raspberry Pi projects

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.

  • My story: 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
  • How I got into mentoring and how you can too
  • 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
  • How I went from musician to coder
  • Coding is my second career
  • How community has helped me in my tech career


A training is a longer interactive session -- longer than the standard 45 minute session -- generally involving hands-on participation by attendees. Listed below are some possible training ideas. Normally a training would either be half day (3 hours) or full day (5-6 hours), but a 2 hour training would be fine as well.

Past Sessions

Nearly all presentations have been recorded and posted to YouTube.