Rails Girls, Maribor-style
We said it a few weeks ago, we will say it again: The concept of “women in tech” seems to be on the rise, with an increasing number of Rails Girls workshops touring CEE. On 31 May-1June, the event took place in Maribor, Slovenia, while simultaneously also in Sofia, Bulgaria. For details and photos from the Sofia event, visit the Rails Girls Sofia Facebook page. For more information on the Maribor one, here’s the report by inventures.eu contributor – and Rails Girls Maribor mentor – Floor Drees.
The city of Maribor welcomed Rails Girls attendees in a wide range of ages, from 15 to 63, with an average of 27. Most of the 50+ participants had no previous programming experience, and many had never even touched HTML. After a good breakfast, they joined in on three lightning talks to get them ready for the main programme.
Mateja Verlič, researcher at Zemanta, talked about her experiences as a woman in the men’s world of programming, musing Ada Lovelace, who programmed way “before it was cool.”
A bit of a downside of the talk was that it was entirely in Slovenian, so the non-native speakers among the participants (mainly from Slovakia) had a rough time getting the gist. Drees then advised attendees on how to keep learning apres Rails Girls, pointing to free, online sources. The third and last lightning talk was by Alja Isakovič, main organiser of Rails Girls Ljubljana, who gave an introduction into how it all works behind the pretty homepage of a website.
What followed was a bento-box exercise, where teams needed to define whether Django is a programming language or a part of the infrastructure of an application. Same counts for CSS, Jquery, and a few other terms. Once that was over, it was time for the real programming to start. The groups got started with the Rails Girls tutorial, building their very first Ruby on Rails application – a process that involved going through one main guide session, and at least another three follow-up ones. (A few examples are available here).
How did Rails Girls come to Maribor?
Urska Renier, one of the organisers of Rails Girls Maribor and currently an inventures.eu source from the ground in Slovenia, followed the course herself in Ljubljana last year. She decided to set one up for her hometown, backed by the enormous amount of applicants for the Ljubljana edition (500+ aspiring lady-coders). Based on the participation rates this month, Maribor might soon be looking at a Rails Girls follow-up.