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Photo Credit: COUNTRYDevOps Keynote, 11 October 2018

Looking for a conference speaker?

I sometimes speak at tech conferences, staff retreats, universities, and bootcamps. My talks tend to be:

  • Didactic: I teach a topic. I draw examples from my career, but the talk does not center me or my personal experience. I don’t talk about my journey into software development, for example.
  • Technical: I focus on things I think engineers should know (though I make sure to include something for designers and product folks, too). The examples come from application or machine learning development projects. The slides may have code samples.
  • Language and version agnostic: I stick to principles and approaches that remain valuable across languages, frameworks, and versions. I don’t talk about what’s new in the latest Android SDK release, for example.

Talks I Currently Give:

How to Level Up as a Technologist

Length: 35-45 Minutes

Brochure Pitch:

To thrive as a technologist, you need to constantly level up your skill set.

That sounds daunting: after all, there’s so much to learn. You might have even experienced some false starts in the past where you tried to learn a new skill and it didn’t work out.

It’s not because you can’t. In fact, I’m confident that you already have the innate ability to add breadth and depth to your skill sets.

I know that because I know that you use that ability every day to stay current as a technologist.

Leveling up is itself a skill that you can sharpen. Today we’ll talk about some techniques that you can use to get better at leveling up. These techniques will help you translate your innate ability to learn so you can broaden and deepen your skill set more effectively, and even enjoy doing it!

Full Transcript and Slides Available Here:

Transcript from Keynote: Leveling Up

Here’s an abridged (22 minute) version of the talk that I gave at a meetup as a favor to a friend:

The Technology and Psychology of Refactoring

Length: 45-60 Minutes

Brochure Pitch:

When the requirements change out from under your tech team, your code has to change. So it’s worthwhile to build your skills in assessing code maintainability, deciding whether to refactor, and doing the refactor.

In this talk, we’ll answer questions like:

  • What does it mean for code to be maintainable, and how do we make code more maintainable?
  • How do we know when to refactor—and how do we know when to stop refactoring?
  • How do we sell stakeholders on giving us space to make a large refactor?

This talk includes both code samples and architecture samples from apps in use today.

Full Transcript and Slides Available Here:

PearConf Keynote – The Technology and Psychology of Refactoring

Partial Video (first half) Available At:

Giving and Receiving Feedback

Length: 35-45 Minutes

Brochure Pitch:

Our team skills affect our career trajectory more and more as our technical contribution capacity increases.

But we don’t explicitly teach team skills most of the time: we instead send people into the workforce and let them struggle until they figure it out.

This talk covers the things I wish someone had told me about giving and receiving feedback in teams…so you don’t have to struggle.

We’ll cover:

  • When and how to give feedback to others
  • How to attract relevant, specific, useful feedback for yourself
  • How to cope when feedback hurts
  • Strategies to respond to feedback and translate it into useful action steps

Full Transcript and Slides Available Here:

Transcript from Lecture: Giving and Receiving Feedback

Here’s an abridged (22 minute) version of the talk that I gave at a lunch and learn, again, as a favor to a friend:

Under special circumstances, I can build and deliver a custom talk.

Right now, for each of the above talks, I’d love to get a clean video/audio recording. If your event can do that, let’s chat.

Talks I Have Retired:

Allyship in Times of Crisis

Length: 20 Minutes

Brochure Pitch:

This talk is for allies who want to take care of marginalized communities affected by traumatic events. I gave it shortly after the Pulse shooting in Orlando, but the principles apply in many crisis situations.

In the event of a tragedy like this, we need allies to step up. It can be difficult to know what to say or do if you are not a part of the affected community. That’s what this talk is for: it’s a starting point for allies.

We start with some terminology and talk about what we mean by terms like target, ally, bystander, and crisis. Then we discuss the grief and fear that prevail within a target community after a crisis, and where allies can start to help with that.

Finally, we relate the discussion back to what an ally can do on a daily basis to help fight for equality—and how social change happens.

Full Video Available At:

Chelsea, come give this talk at my meetup!


I only have, and only will, give this talk once. I didn’t even rehearse it.

That’s why I asked Elliot, the best videographer I know, to record it: I knew, if the video or audio recording failed, the talk would be lost forever.

As you can see, Elliot pulled through and got a full recording. So if you want this talk at your meetup, you’re welcome to play the video.

Speaker Headshot and Bio:

Chelsea writes code for money. She looks for clients who are saving the planet, advancing basic scientific research, or providing resources to underserved communities. She has been known to take projects in mobile development, web development, and machine learning. She streams some programming sessions to YouTube, so you can watch her code (and narrate!) in real time.

Companies love to try to hire her based on what she wrote on her blog (chelseatroy.com). Later, executives at those same companies are dismayed to find out that she really believes those things she wrote.

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