June 13, 2013
Last week I attended a Ruby on Rails workshop hosted by Railsbridge NYC. The organization promotes diversity in tech by introducing web development concepts to a community of technology professionals and enthusiasts. It’s geared towards women, but open to all.
As the website describes, the workshop consists of an Installfest (about a 2 hour event), followed by a full day of learning the following day. The Installfest is a series of step-by-step instructions to install Ruby, Rails and other tools you would need for your particular OS. The detailed instructions helped make the entire process effortless, and most students were able to install all the tools without major issues.
An Introduction to Ruby and Rails
The next day was the actual workshop, beginning promptly at 9am. The skill level of the women in attendance varied; some were programmers proficient in other languages, while others, like myself, were new to programming. After a short welcome presentation, the organizers divided the group into two, with the “more advanced” students heading off to their own room for a slightly more quick-paced session.
I remained in the beginner group, which was significantly larger. The day was divided in 2 parts—the first was a focus on Ruby, and the second was on Rails. The curriculum was quite dense, and we weren’t able to cover all the concepts due to a restriction on time. However, what I found most valuable was that the organizers and volunteers helped foster a no-judgment atmosphere where all our “beginner” questions were answered, and no one felt lost for too long. The volunteers took the time to clear any and all doubts, even about topics that were not covered in the curriculum. And although we were unable to get to all the topics, there were a lot of follow-up resources that were shared among the group, including a Meetup called NYC Ruby Women. At the end of the day, each of us even received a certificate of completion!
It was great to meet other newbie Ruby developers who were going through some of the same beginner pains that I was. The workshop was a positive experience, and gave me the push I periodically need to keep myself immersed in technology. If you are interested in learning more about Ruby and Rails, or just meeting fellow technologists active in the supportive Ruby community, consider attending a Railsbridge workshop near you.