After mentoring Rails Girls

The first Rails Girls event in Ljubljana was great fun and a huge success. I volunteered to be a mentor and I’m really glad that I did. The whole day went by in the blink of an eye, and I’ll be more than happy to do it again someday.

Me coaching Rails Girls

Me coaching @ManjaUZ and @AndrejaCokl (© Katarina Jazbec & Rails Girls Ljubljana)

The whole point of the event was to introduce girls to the world of programming, and to expose the fact that there basically aren’t any women in IT. We certainly succeeded in showing girls what’s what, and based on the huge number of applications the organizers received, there seems to be a lot of interest out there. This proves that events like this need to happen more often.

I hope that we inspired at least some of the girls to continue learning how to program, and maybe even pursue a career in this field. This was the goal and I hope we succeeded.

What I noticed while coaching the girls is that Rails might not be the best thing to start with (nor any other framework/language). The whole thing is just to complex, and requires knowledge of too many things to wrap your head around in one day. When we completed the whole exercise I asked my “students” what would they like to learn now, and they both wanted to play with fonts, colours, etc. That gave me an idea. Maybe a better approach would be to teach the girls HTML, CSS and nothing else. You could cover more things and still keep it simple. And the best part would be that after attending a workshop like that, one could probably actually build something. Off course you could then have advanced courses covering Ruby, Rails and all the other stuff you need to know.

For the end I’d like to congratulate all participants, mentors and organizers. I think you all did a terrific job!

Everyone who attended Rails Girls Ljubljana

© Katarina Jazbec & Rails Girls Ljubljana More photos from Rails Girls Ljubljana 2012