What Really Goes Down at an All Girls Ruby on Rails Meetup?

23 October 2017

Looking to learn a second language? Perhaps it’s time to consider Ruby. That would be Ruby on Rails – one of the world’s fastest growing and widely adopted programming languages.

Lucky for the women of Sydney, a series of free workshops hosted by Rails Girls Sydney is here to get you acquainted with the lingo, hone your craft and meet fellow Ruby enthusiasts. So what can one expect from such a workshop? To lift the veil we speak to co-organiser and Travel with Jane developer Tracy Mu Sung.

Rails Girls Sydney – tell us briefly what its about and when it started?

The Sydney chapter of Rails Girls started around 5 years ago, and there have been a number of different organisers during that time. For the last few years we’ve been running Rails Girls workshops twice a year.

Run us through a typical Rails Girls event?

A We offer either one or two day free events which cover a wide range of Ruby topics. Women bring along their laptops, and then we start by give them an introductory tutorial to the command line and the basics of coding. Next we help them install Ruby and Rails onto their computers. They then follow a tutorial with help from mentors to create their first app and deploy it online to Heroku so they can share it with their friends.

We have a Q&A panel where they can ask women any questions they want about learning to code or working in tech. We also offer a Rails Girls Next track for women who have attended one of our workshops before. Here, they can come back and do a more advanced tutorial which involves working with APIs

Are there costs involved?

A The workshops are totally free to attend, plus we’re supported by sponsors who supply the venue and refreshments. Teachers, presenters and mentors all volunteer their time.

What are some steps you are undertaking to build this community?

A We run these events twice a year and encourage the attendees to come along to the other monthly meetups. We encourage past participants to join again in the Rails Girls Next track. We share job and study opportunities with our Rails Girls past attendees

Why is it important to bring Australian women into the Ruby on Rails community?

A Because women are under represented in tech and have valuable perspectives to add. Because there are amazing opportunities available to people who either want to be developers or who have technical skills of other kinds – we want those opportunities to be open to women as well.  And also because software and websites are built for everybody, so both men and women should be involved in creating them.

How could the tech industry be more inclusive for women?

A By being cognisant of the culture in their workplace. By being aware of how they write their job ads. By listening to women and reading about the problems they have experienced in the workplace.

How did you get into programming?

A I had a job in digital marketing which exposed me to dabbling in Javascript and HTML/CSS. From there I taught myself how to code!

Would you say from your own experience, that you’ve seen improvements in diversity over the years?

A My own experience has been only positive, the Ruby community in Australia is extremely inclusive and welcoming, which is why Rails Girls is a great place for women to start to learn about tech.

How else can women in Australia become involved with Ruby on Rails locally, and online?

A They can attend an event in a city near them (Sydney/Melbourne/Brisbane), but they can also do the tutorials online and reach out for help from the Rails Girls community – there are many Rails Girls twitter accounts for various cities that they could reach out to.

Final word – why should women learn Ruby on Rails?

A Women should learn to code because it makes them less reliant on others, they can learn to build out their own ideas and gives them skills that can help them in a variety of jobs. They should learn Ruby in particular, because it is a coding language that was specifically built for developer happiness AND the Ruby community in Australia is incredibly welcoming and encouraging.

Learn more about Rails Girls Sydney and apply to attend free events and workshops here

“Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends.” – Maya Angelou

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