I spent most of this weekend at railsgirls.com/cluj for several reasons.
First, to see how you can teach a programming language (Ruby) and a framework (Rails) to a group of people with little to no experience in coding. My colleague Nicu told us at work about the event. Since we’re organising a summer internship a lot of effort is going towards creating a plan for the two months interns are going to be with us. It was very interesting for Nicu and I to see the manner in which Alex and the other coaches explained Ruby and Rails to the 30 girls present at the event.
Second, because Around25 was a sponsor of the event. We went to get a taste of Rails and give a hand if the coaches needed it. On the long run we are very interested to see how the project continues. I won’t go into details but I highly recommend this link.
Third, one of our colleagues, Florina, was a speaker and it was awesome seeing her on stage. Florina gave the participants a bit of background as to how she went into programming and then a glimpse of a day at the office. What followed were about 5 or 6 questions from the audience, which I took as a good sign.
To some extent I expected that girls were going to be more into the visual aspect. Actually seeing things in the browser and being able to control them using something straight forward such as CSS is definitely more appealing than thinking in abstract terms such as class, model, controller, CRUD, variable, local, global and so on. What really got the participants engaged was this website: http://tryruby.org/ . At the end of the day my feeling is that the participants took home a lot: basic knowledge of programming (both backend and frontend), coaches they can stay in touch with and new friends interested in coding. Honestly, there’s not much more that you can get out of a rainy Saturday.
As for me I was there to meet awesome people and get some insight into the work they do and their views on the industry. It’s something you can’t take from a book or an article. It’s also a nice way to break routine. Oh, and I got a very high level overview of Rails. Cool framework, I definitely need to read more before using it on a real project.
The coaches and organisers did a great job putting together the event. RailsGirls happened this weekend in Cluj, Timisoara and Bucharest. You can say it was a full out “assault” of women on Rails. Don’t worry, there were no casualties
PS: the Twitter page of the event
PS2: and the Facebook photo album