Girl Power at Engine Yard

It was a wet and windy weekend in San Francisco - brrrrrrr! Luckily I was warm and dry - tucked up at the Engine Yard offices with 23 other women sharing a common mission to get our first taste of coding with Rails. DevChix and RailsBridge delivered another of their excellent free Ruby on Rails workshops for women and we were delighted to host them this past weekend at Engine Yard.

I am super supportive of this program as I have long been a supporter of getting more women into software engineering. I did my CS degree back in the mid 80s and it was pretty slim pickings as far as female classmates went (only two other girls compared to 100+ guys). Though the number of women in our industry has increased there are still way too few in technical roles. But, DevChix is certainly starting to make a small dent in the Ruby on Rails world. Yay! Kudos to Sarah Mei, Sarah Allen, Curtis, Karen, Angelina and all the team.

I was expecting some experience diversity in the group but I was blown away by all the different backgrounds. Sure we had some web developers but I also met a lawyer, a librarian, a marketing manager… Some of class were working, others were not. You may have seen Nick Saint’s article in the Business Insider or the Chronicle ‘Looking for Work? Learn Ruby on Rails’. I hope that Saturday’s workshop helps some of my classmates take their first steps into a new rewarding career.

Along with the students we had an almost one-to-one ratio of volunteer teaching assistants–thanks guys!! This enabled everyone to proceed at their own pace. It is definitely also a credit to the Rails framework that we were all able to get the tutorial web application up and running and step through most of the exercises. It took me a little time to get my head around the ActiveRecord concept but once I did I marveled at how much I could accomplish with next to no code compared to what I was used to as a SQL developer.

We are looking forward to hosting another workshop as soon as possible and my personal goal is to learn enough by then to be a bonafide teaching assistant. I am committed - I picked up a copy of ‘Beginning Rails 3’ on the way home from my class and I am also lucky enough to be surrounded by some of the brightest Rails developers here at Engine Yard.

Go DevChix and RailsBridge!