Here's the abstract I originally submitted:
For developers that come from backgrounds other than a C.S. bachelor’s degree, frequently most of their focus is on acquiring technical knowledge. However, they very likely have many other skills, built up from when they weren’t studying computer science, that can help them in their roles immediately. This talk will discuss how to use non-technical skills such as relationship building and project management to ramp up more quickly and provide value to your team now.
The first piece of feedback I got was very encouraging on the appeal of the content and noted that I should try to get senior devs to come as well, since the organizer thought they'd be able to take something away from it too. In all fairness, Chuck had totally already given me this advice a couple weeks before when I was telling him about my idea, but I was worried about fitting enough details into the 500 characters allotted with what the organizers had said about not being afraid to "give away" more of the talk in the abstract. Here's v2:
For junior devs that don’t have C.S. degrees, frequently most of their focus is on acquiring technical knowledge. However, they bring with them many other skills, built up from when they weren’t studying C.S., that can help them in their roles immediately. This talk will discuss how junior devs can use non-technical skills such as relationship building and project management to provide value to their teams now, and how senior devs mentoring them can help them ramp up more quickly as a result.
I was feeling pretty good about this version. Then later on, I got more feedback from a different reviewer that again was very encouraging of the topic and proposed content but pointed out that phrasing was a bit awkward and run-on, particularly the first two sentences. She also encouraged me to think about ways to grab conference goers' attention to get them to come to my talk over the others that might be on at the same time. When I looked again at v2 again, I was a bit horrified that I'd used up all those characters across only 3 sentences! Hemingway would not approve. Here's the final version:
Are you from a non-C.S. background? What about someone you mentor? Many junior devs’ top focus is building technical knowledge. However, they already have other skills that can help them in their roles immediately! Some of these include helping their team focus on the right tasks and working well with stakeholders like PM and support. This talk will discuss the non-technical contributions junior devs can make now and how their senior dev mentors can help them ramp up more quickly as a result.
Much improved, yes? I'm glad the conference organizers pushed me on this, I think it's objectively much better than the original. Spending lots of time to say more with less, since 2014.