Nell Shamrell
Coder - Writer - Speaker

Hello! I'm Nell Shamrell-Harrington - I code, write about software development, and speak about Ruby and technology in general. I'm dedicated to learning and applying new technical skills and paying it forward by teaching and mentoring others.


It may seem unusual, but my greatest understanding of software development comes from my background in Theatre. In a performance many separate parts (acting, lighting, sound, costumes) must be developed independently, but still form a cohesive whole to express a director’s vision. The same is true of software development. Databases, code, and user interfaces all must connect and complement each other seamlessly.
In development I not only get to work on all aspects of an application, I weave these parts together into a harmony. This time, it’s a user’s vision to meet. This challenge and creativity excites and inspires me.

Open Source

Chef Supermarket - Owner and Core Contributor

Operation Code - Contributor and Mentor

Dev4Ops4Dev Workshop Curriculum - Author

Ops for Developers Curriculum - Creator and Core Developer

CDNetworks Client - Creator

Nice Reply Client - Creator

For more examples of my coding work, please see my Github profile

Professional Experience

Sr. Software Engineer - Chef

Lead Developer - PhishMe

Technical Reviewer - Pragmatic Press

Technical Reviewer - O'Reilly

Software Development Engineer - Blue Box

Extension Lecturer - University of Washington

Advisory Board Member - University of Washington Certificate in Ruby Program

Advisory Board Member - University of Washington Certificate in DevOps

For more information on my professional experience, please see my LinkedIn profile


Along with being a software development engineer, I also trained as an actor for several years. One of my goals is to lift the presentation quality at Ruby and tech conferences in general. You can present technical content, teach people new technologies, and still be engaging and entertaining. I'm hoping to lead by example.


DevOps: A History - DevOpsDays Portland

Untangling Infrastructure Code Through Refactoring - DevOpsDays Chicago

Untangling Terraform Through Refactoring - HashiConf


Estimates That Don't Suck (Slides)

First Do No Harm: Surgical Refactoring (Slides, Video)

Test Driving Your Rails Infrastructure with Chef

Dev4Ops4Dev Workshop Instructor (with Clinton Wolfe and Ben Rockwood)

Capture Groups: Guest Chef on Ruby Tapas (Video)

Beneath The Surface: Regular Expressions in Ruby (Slides, Video)

Regular Expressions: Guest Panelist on Ruby Rogues (Audio)

Test Driven Development: A Love Story (Slides, Video)

Behind the Curtain: Applying Lessons from the Theatre to Software (Slides, Video)

Contact Me

I'm looking for Open Source, guest blog post writing, and speaking opportunities. Feel free to reach out to me at nellshamrell AT