I was invited to coach at last week’s Rails Girls Warsaw, and I’m very delighted with being given such an opportunity.
Three of Coins is by no means a RoR company – we write Chef cookbooks, Vagrantfiles run in our blood, and one of the best ways to increase our heart rate is to iterate through backup systems, looking for the Perfect One.
Having said that, I do believe engaging in initiatives that increase the diversity of our community is important enough to spend time learning new technologies. Even intermediate Rails knowledge is enough to help other people get started! In my case, not-so-distant memories of the issues I myself encountered at the beginning of my Rails path allowed me to better understand (and prepare for) questions and problems that might arise during the workshops.
To make sure that participants got the best out of the weekend, each coach was looking over a group of just three students. Although most attendees had no prior programming experience, one member of my team had learned C during computer science classes at her university – classes designed to actually introduce programming languages, classes that, suffice to say, did not encourage to study programming, nor did they shed light on what programming is about.
Of course, not everyone has to know how to program, and not every participant of the workshop wanted to pursue a programming career. Knowing how this stuff works is an advantage in many fields though, even if the position you hold in your company / non-governmental organization is not the most technical one. And seeing how my team’s enthusiasm rose as workshop time passed, how they stated they want to continue their programming education made me very happy. I had a chance to donate some of my time towards increasing the diversity in our, still homogeneous, programming community.
If you’re interested, check out Rails Girls Warsaw’s Facebook page. If you’re wondering about coaching, you’ll find a list of local Rails Girls workshops here – as you can see, there’s plenty of locations to choose from! And if you are (or you know) Polish, there’s a message board for Rails Girls Warsaw attendees, where participants can share their problems and accomplishments, supported by most of the coaches of previous editions. Give it some thought – educating other is always an invaluable learning experience.