Most Active Speaker

Selena Small

Selena Small

Tech Lead | Software Engineer at Fresho

Melbourne, Australia


Selena is a full-stack lead engineer at Fresho in Melbourne Australia who is particularly passionate about TDD. As a self-taught coder with a background in management, she is well-equipped to mentor others. She is a recently retired champion kickboxer and fills her spare time with international travel and speaking at tech conferences.


  • Most Active Speaker 2023

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology


  • Software Craftsmanship
  • software engineering
  • Software Development
  • Software Design
  • Women in Tech
  • inspiration
  • Code
  • Web Development
  • Pair Programming
  • Test-Driven Development
  • Software testing
  • ruby
  • JavaScript
  • React
  • Hardware
  • Arduino
  • Building tech team
  • Software Practices
  • Software Architecture
  • Software
  • python
  • Solution Architecture
  • Application Architecture
  • Technology
  • agile
  • Engineering
  • Clean Code
  • Development
  • Backend Development
  • Developer Experience
  • Modern Software Development

10x your teamwork through pair programming

Selena and Michael will take you on a roller coaster journey of how to get started and get the most out of pair programming. Live on stage they will switch from conversational overview straight into acting out various highs, lows, do’s and don’ts of pair-programming collaboration. Laughs and tears are guaranteed as the audience connect on the difficulties and ultimately the rewards that can be reaped from teamwork through effective pairing.

Pair-programming, 2 developers writing code collaboratively with 2 keyboards and 1 computer, might feel weird, foreign, or impossible. With the insights from this talk you will take your pairing to a new level.

## Learning Outcome

engage audience to want to try pairing with their co-developers immediately! demonstrate a tool kit of do’s and don’ts on how to get started with pairing and to allow it to be successful demonstrate various anti patterns in pair programming and how to deal with them demonstrate the advantages of pair-programming and what developers should be striving for

Ruby vs Kickboxer - the state of MRuby, JRuby and CRuby

In the midst of COVID pandemic lockdowns, a Muay Thai kickboxer reached out for the only sparing partner left that she could compete with, Ruby. Is it possible to fight Ruby? Is it possible to create a hardware-sparing robot running Ruby and integrated it across the web to track her training progress as well as verse her coding pair in a battle of real vs virtual fighting? Come on a journey of ups and downs and the state of MRuby for hardware dev, JRuby running on mobile, and CRuby for the backend.

During the lockdown, Selena and Michael missed not only in-person pairing but also Selena's other side passion of Muay Thai Kickboxing and maintaining and extending her State Title. As pairing went remote so did the idea of training in gyms and sparring partners. This is how Selena hatched an idea to build a sparring robot to train and fight against. Given her familiarity with Ruby, she thought that was the logical place to start with a sparring robot. This is how a long journey of ups and downs started that overviews the current state of Hardware development and using MRuby, mobile development using JRuby, and tying it all together on the server with CRuby.

The talk will demonstrate how to get started with MRuby for hardware and what are the limitations as well as benefits of using Ruby. It will touch on what is involved in using JRuby to power Android mobile devices and it will wrap up with a demonstration of a system composed of MRuby, JRuby, and CRuby. Finally, a demonstration of the sparing robot will be performed live on stage - it will be a show not to be missed

Selena and Michael have done a number of talks as a duo and bring a lot of energy, laughter, and a different perspective to conference talks.

This talk will cover a getting started guide in MRuby and the current state of JRuby on mobile from a beginner's point of view. As both presenters have recent experience in being beginners with these particular technologies and they paired on these experiences, they are perfectly positioned to share this information with a broad audience and give the audience hope for also diving into these technologies.

Developer Smackdown

You know the drill, there are a lot of fundamentals Developers disagree on. Tabs vs Spaces, GraphQL vs REST, and Majestic Monoliths vs Micro Services - get behind your preferred point of view in this live on-stage, developer vs developer Smackdown!

In this animated presentation, two developers will debate and fight out both sides of various topics. Classics like Tabs vs Spaces to more modern arguments like SQL vs NoSQL, traditional vs new tech, TDD vs shipping written code, and Trunk vs Branches and you end up with quite a review of current practices, with all the pros and cons. There will also be some more nuanced topics like Agile vs Wagile (waterfall agile) and pairing vs soloing.

From two presenters who both worked very closely in a strict pairing, trunk-based development shop and have since converged on new preferences, be ready for a roller coaster of thoughts and arguments as well as some late twists and even a bit of developer comedy. This will be a talk not to be missed.

Failing for the right reason - a fresh look on TDD

Real code, live demo. Get into the nitty-gritty of how to drive out functionality in a modern Rails/Reactjs based web app.

Ever had difficulty writing tests? Don’t know how to identify the unit under test? Find it hard to write tests BEFORE implementation? Join us as we take you on a journey through multilayer outside-in BDD

To scale tests and code, we will run you through the layers of integration testing that matter - from "system flow" specs through "page mechanics" specs that take an individual component through its paces, isolated component tests, API request specs, and everything in between!

Breaking builds and breaking bones

Becoming a software engineer or a professional kickboxer, you’ll run into many obstacles.

As a late-comer to coding, I learned about binary-hex translation and logic gates around 3 months before I learned how to throw a punch. Now I’m a software engineer and a professional kickboxer. Both of which, surprisingly have a lot in common!

This is my story about the struggles and celebrations of a two-year journey from alcohol-fuelled self-destruction to teaching myself how to write code, pursuing a career in software development and learning how to literally break other people’s bones.

This is not a story sugar-coated with glorious moments of success every step of the way, but one of struggle, perseverance, and determination.

Anyone following a dream, wanting to get into software, trying to change their career, just starting out or interested in hearing a story, prepare to be inspired & learn that failures will help you to ultimately succeed!

DDD Melbourne 2024 Sessionize Event

March 2024 Melbourne, Australia

NDC Sydney 2024 Sessionize Event

February 2024 Sydney, Australia

Last Conf Melbourne 2023

40-minute duo presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

December 2023 Melbourne, Australia

Oπe\n Conf - 2023 Sessionize Event

November 2023 Athens, Greece

Ruby Conf Thailand 2023

30-minute duo presentation: Ruby vs Kickboxer - the state of MRuby, JRuby and CRuby

October 2023 Bangkok, Thailand

Copenhagen Developers Festival 2023 Sessionize Event

August 2023 Copenhagen, Denmark

React Summit 2023

Lightning 7-minute duo presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

June 2023 Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Ruby Kaigi 2023

30-minute duo presentation: Ruby vs Kickboxer - the state of MRuby, JRuby and CRuby

May 2023 Matsumoto, Japan

RailsConf 2023 Sessionize Event

April 2023 Atlanta, Georgia, United States

React Miami 2023

30-minute duo presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

April 2023 Miami, Florida, United States

Programmable 2023 - Sydney Sessionize Event

March 2023 Sydney, Australia

Programmable 2023 - Melbourne Sessionize Event

March 2023 Melbourne, Australia

TestBash Spring 2023

[online] 40-minute duo presentation: Failing for the right reason - a fresh look on TDD

March 2023 London, United Kingdom

Ruby Conf Au 2023

Event MC: introducing all speakers, promoting sponsors, relaying general information, and filling the gaps with amazing jokes!

February 2023 Melbourne, Australia

Ruby Conf Thailand 2022

30-minute duo presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

December 2022 Bangkok, Thailand

React Conf Au 2020

30-minute duo presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

February 2020 Sydney Central Business District, Australia

Ruby Conf Au 2020

30-minute duo presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

February 2020 Melbourne, Australia

GDG Dev Fest 2019

Locknote duo-presentation: 10x your teamwork through pair programming

November 2019 Melbourne, Australia

DDD Melbourne 2019 Sessionize Event

August 2019 Melbourne, Australia

Rails Conf 2019

Workshop: Multi-layer BDD for modern rails web apps

May 2019 Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Junior Dev Code & Tell 2019

30-minute talk: Breaking builds and breaking bones

February 2019 Melbourne, Australia

RoRo Melbourne 2018

30-minute talk: Breaking builds and breaking bones

June 2018 Melbourne, Australia

Selena Small

Tech Lead | Software Engineer at Fresho

Melbourne, Australia


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