This weekend I travelled to Brisbane to participate in Rails Girls Brisbane – two days of women learning to code from mentors who already work in the industry. I had such a fantastic time, and met such lovely people – it made me sad that I don’t live in Brisbane!
My main aims were to
1. Ask the list of questions I had accumulated through all my self-learning these last few months.
2. Find out about other resources people were using to learn
3. Talk to people who work in the industry about how they got into it, what they would recommend to a new starter, etc.
What the event included.
- On the Friday night we went to Fortitude Valley where we met the mentors and had some teamwork sessions (never my favourite, but it was fun). This was also the night where you got to install the necessary stuff onto your computers and get ready for coding on Saturday. There were some issues with internet connection, having so many people in one room, but otherwise it went smoothly I think.
- On the Saturday morning we were taken through the basics of how the internet works, a bit of HTML, CSS and then the basics of the Ruby language.
- After the Ruby presentation, we were let loose on TryRuby.org to practice our skills. The girls I spoke to seemed to love this exercise – and it really cemented what the guys had been talking to us about.
- In the afternoon we used the Rails Girls website to build the Rails Girls app and ask the mentors all the questions we needed to. This was the most valuable part of the event for me, because I had a lot of questions saved up. My only issue with this part of the event was that there wasn’t enough explanation, and for a lot of people it degenerated into a series of cut and paste, without a lot of comprehension. Luckily I had a lot of questions ready.
- According to the guys I spoke to who are already in the industry (including the head of the Ruby community in Australia, Nigel Rausch), there are not enough Rails developers, and employers are crying out for more. BUT having said that, many of the mentors and organisers also acknowledged a gap in learning stages to get people trained up, and didn’t have a lot of advice on how to bridge that gap, other than the adhoc help you can get within the (amazing) Ruby community.
- No one had heard of Ruby or Rails internships – and they thought it would be too time and resource intensive for employers to have such a thing.
- They recommended joining the Ruby on Rails community in Sydney. I normally hate networking, but talking to all the people at Brisbane Rails Girls was painless and really helpful, they were all so lovely. So, I am going to get brave and go to some soon in Sydney.
- Everyone was really, really friendly at Rails Girls Brisbane. I wonder if Brisbane is friendlier than Sydney?
- As a sponsor, General Assembly offered a $1,000 scholarship to attend their back end web development course in Sydney – and as the only Sydney-sider in attendance, I got to have it! I think this is going to be a great way to develop my skills and close the gap, and now I just need to find out when I can attend.