Rails Girls from a mentoring perspective

May 30th, 2014 @ 7AM by Boštjan Cigan Leave a comment

rails_girlsHas anyone ever heard of Rails Girls? It is a very awesome event that occurs in different countries in the world and it involves teaching a group of young girls how to develop websites. I had the opportunity to be a mentor on one of these events, but was too late to the party. This year, I managed to get “in”.

So how was it? Well, immediately after stepping into my faculty, I probably saw the biggest “crowd” of women on our faculty, ever. We do not have a lot of girls that study Computer and Information science, if there are any, they mainly give up or pursue other interests. And that is why Rails Girls is awesome. It tries to show that programming is fun and can be done by anyone that has just a little patience or maybe passion. And these girls had it. They really wanted to learn.

We started of with the installation party, where we helped with installing the whole rails package, drank coffee and just spoke about general everyday stuff. After that we had a brief lecture and then the developing began. Each of the mentors got their own group (groups were in sizes of three), well we didn’t actually get them, we just picked them out randomly. I chose the “ginger mac” team.

I am not a mac fan, but to break the ice, I gave them the following question: “Are your keyboards set to slovenian?”. When they replied no, I said – “Well, then you’ll be the ones doing the typing”. We laughed and continued in our application development. It was fun. The girls were mainly interested in CSS, because they wanted to change the look and feel of their websites, and that is the thing that I could help them with, because I have only had about a day or two of rails experience in my life.

rails_girls

When composing the website, we didn’t talk about Bootstrap, so I showed them that and explained to them that it saves them a lot of nagging work and that programmers before them did this library and they released it to others for free. I also explained the concept of free software and sharing to the community, because the question “Who does all of this work and are they paid for it” was asked.

The only two things that nagged me were the T-Shirt design – I really wanted a red T-Shirt with the diamond logo on it, but they didn’t have them. And the other one is, that not all of the girls knew that the mentors were there for the experience, knowledge sharing and pure joy and not for the money (one of the girls asked me how much I am paid to do it).

I would gladly do it again in the near future – because it combines two of the things I love most – programming and sharing the knowledge of programming , and did I mention that my sister also applied for the event and enjoyed it and know she wants to learn more?

Filled under: Projects Tagged under: Rails Girls, Ruby on Rails
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