Remember that time when I told you that I’ll be working on that “not knowing how to cut code” thing? Well I did. Rails Girls Tallinn (#3 already) was a two day programming workshop for girls and women that want to get started with tech and it took place in 26-27 of April in Tallinn Garage48 HUB – a community led coworking space and was organized by a local community called Tech Sisters in collaboration with Rails Girls.
Tech Sisters is a non-profit organization with a goal to get more women excited about technology and IT. They think the world needs a more diverse group of people taking part in developing new technological solutions. So they are trying to encourage people to step out of their comfort zone, to experiment and learn new things.
They have a perfect combination of techie women and women with many other talents in the organizers group and they’ve been doing a great job so far in getting the local women engaged through monthly networking events and by sharing their knowledge and love for Ruby on Rails. With that said, they don’t want to limit their interests to Ruby on Rails and would like to make it clear that women (and men) of all ages are welcome to join their event. Hence the name – Tech Sisters. If you wish to find out more about Tech Sisters, please visit their website.
How did the event go?
Day 1: For me it all started at the 26th of April, on a Friday evening with the gathering of all participants in the garage48 HUB. The aim of the first evening was to get to know each other, network, understand what’s going to happen the day after and to get introduced to our coaches as well as the organizers. There was a short presentation, sharing of stickers (my computer is now covered with those!), talks about Rails Girls, and a quick installation of tools and all the required programs we needed for the 2nd day. Upon leaving, I also got a final forewarning to go to bed early to be refreshed for the day after!
Day 2: 27th of April, 9am on a Saturday morning railsgirls-earringsI get out of bed barely in time to get to the Garage48 HUB. Most of the girls (and there’s around 40-50 of them) are already there, munching away the morning bagels and already networking. Enthusiasts, I say to myself, smiling, and pour a cup of coffee. I’ve always envied the people that can start the morning as chirpy as a bird without needing liquid energy. After that cup of coddee, my own energy level goes up a notch as well and I feel energetic enough to present to the event’s organizers the gift that I got inspiration for the evening before and that kept me up late the day before – Rails Girls inspired jewelry!
And then the hard core code crushing starts… kidding! Actually it starts off quite slow and easy. We take upon the Rails Girls Guides and start building our first app. The coach is there to show us how, answer any questions and to put the complicated stuff in easier terms, just so that a not so techie person can also understand what’s going on. Exactly what I needed!
Looking around the room, each coach had their own approach to things: some, where giving small lectures and explaining the big picture, some, were quietly minding their own business and helping in case it’s needed. The initial aim was to build your first ever Ruby on Rails app. Following a step-by-step guide – not so hard, eh?
Honestly said, it was way easier doing it in a group and with the help of the guide than figuring it all out on my own. It’s obvious that the guides are there for a reason, however what I did feel missing in the end of the event was the broader understanding of why I was supposed to do certain things. I like to understand the bigger picture as well as the details. Another big show-stopper on the road was when error messages started to fly in from left and right (human mistakes!). Reality hits, welcome to the world of magical programming wonders! Having only very basic knowledge it was hard to detect at first sight what I had done wrong. Usually it helped either to start it all over again from scratch or to check in with the coaches who had more insight into what magnificent error I had managed to compile up. Smarter ones would have probably used Google as well to figure out what’s wrong (I tried, but failed miserably!).
The day got sliced into smaller sessions of coding followed by a talk and then back to coding again. Tech Sisters talked about their organization as well as gave an intro to what Rails Girls is about. Another organizer showed us learning opportunities that we can take advantage of after the event is over and lastly, what I personally enjoyed the most, was a woman showing us how to make a Ruby Girl game. Based on that one presentation I felt like I could easily create a game similar to that when I put my mind to it. This rhythm of business helped a lot to stay on track with the coding bit, concentrate on one thing at a time, tackle the problems that had come up in between and not to lose hope (if errors showed up) and enjoy the fun event!
What did I learn?
Even though I failed to put my app online to Heroku (an online Ruby on Rails cloud Platform as a Service), I still left with the victorious smile on my face that day knowing that my app worked on MY computer and having a next idea set in my head that I’d like to create using this new knowledge. All it takes is patience and time and some exploration of the web (hello Google, my dear friend). For anyone interested in the topic of Ruby on Rails, check out the Rails Girls vast collection of different learning materials to get you started.
With that said, good luck to you all! If you’re hesitant right now about going to these events, then get over it and just do it! Step out of your comfort zone and register for a Rails Girls event or join in with the Tech Sisters networking events! If I can do it, you for sure can do it as well!