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CCS: Call for Papers

pachicodes profile image Pachi 🪐 (she/her/ela) Updated on ・4 min read

Hello and welcome back to our Content Creation Series!
Today we will be talking about Call for Papers. What is a call for paper you ask?

It is your ticket to speak in a conference!

Nowadays with most events happening online, you can apply to speak in any conference as long as you speak the language. Public speaking is a great way to create not only content, but connections as well.

Public speaking was one of my 2020 goals, but not on the top list because the idea of actually doing it was scary.

But when my favorite conference, Codeland opened their call for papers, I really wanted to give it a try.

Did I get accepted? Nope, also, they went all online.

But I learned a lot in the process and more after, and I wanted to share some advice.

You don't have to be an Expert

And this is usually the first thing that stops us. Like, I am not good enough at anything, so what will I talk about?

Truth is, there will be always someone that knows more than you, but guess what? It goes the other way around too! People start in tech every day, so there is always someone learning from 0 and they may learn from you.

Don't think about what you are an expert of, think in the lines of what you are passionate about, what are you comfortable with, what would you like to share?

Brainstorm

Now, the first actual step is the Brainstorm.

I know it seems obvious, but we often overthink this.

So here is a little exercise:

  • Get a pen and paper (yes, the real stuff),

  • Put a timer on for 15 minutes,

  • Write down ANYTHING and everything that comes in mind that you could possibly talk about.

-Try to have at least 20 items on your list, but the more the merrier friend!

Remember, you don't have to be a PRO.

You may even use something You would like to learn more about, and working on this talk/workshop will help you to learn more about it.

In case you need some help, here are some inspiring questions:

  • What got you into Programming?

  • What keeps you in it?

  • What do you love about it?

  • What do you want to learn next?

  • What are you learning currently?

  • What sorts of things do you love sharing with others about Programming?

  • What cool things have you built?

  • Which tools do you use all the time?

Classifying your ideas and picking THE topic

Okay, so now you have a nice long list full of ideas.
Person making a decision

Good ideas, random ideas, bad ideas...
I bet some don't even make much sense at all and that is OK, that is why we brainstorm to begin with.

But Pachi, now I have a gigantic list, how do I choose?

How, indeed?

Now you can get your laptop out if you want, or just keep the pen and paper, either is fine.

We are going to classify your ideas.

  • First, let's write out the ideas you think are bad ideas or the ones that don't make much sense.

  • Now write down the ones that you think are good and you feel can actually lead somewhere.

  • Last but not least, what is left? Probably topics you can improve or work in the near future. Save those.

How many "good" ideas do you have?

If you have one or two, congrats, you have found your Topic if not...

Choosing based on where you wanna present it

If you have more than that, we may still want to narrow it down.

For that, let's now think about the conference you wanna speak.

For the sake of this example, Codeland is the conference, and we will focus on Talk rather than a workshop.

Let's go to their website, check their CFP and see what they are looking for:

Talks are 15 minutes. Pick from our themes below:
Be Amazed
Exciting applications for new (non-proprietary) technologies.
The Big Picture
Thought-provoking stories about how code is affecting society
Deep Dive
Dives into fundamental concepts that could affect how we think about software development.

So now we know that the talks are 15 minutes and have an idea of what they are looking for. Which of our topics fits in? And from those, which one can you talk more comfortably about?

And ta daaaan, you have your topic! YEY!!!

Let's review

  1. We brainstorm and come up with as many ideas as we can, even if some are terrible, that is ok (check that list of questions for extra help),
  2. Classify those ideas, and see what you can work with right now,
  3. Think about where you want to present, and see which of your ideas fit their requirements and audience,
  4. Choose the one topic you will work with! (Save the rest for later).

In conclusion

All you need to get started is a topic!

I hope this will help you to find the one!

Yey, I am soo happy for you.

happy child

If you are still in doubt in between a few, feel free to shout out and maybe I can help you to validate your ideas.

Speaking of conferences...

I will be speaking on my the Future Stack in May, and I would love for you to come watch!

FutureStack 2021 is a free, online conference where New Relic is bringing together Data Nerds to learn, share, and get inspired about observability — while we have fun!
You can sign up here.

Xoxo,

Pachi

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