RailsGirls Bratislava 2015
I had the incredible opportunity to mentor a number of ambitious girls in Bratislava, the capitol of Slovakia, during the RailsGirls 2015.
If you are not familiar with it, RailsGirls is an event that lasts 1-2 days, where skilled programmers (coaches) teach girls the basics about web programming in Rails.
The first event, held in Finland in 2010, spurred the interests of over 100 girls who signed up for the workshop, and ever since, the free events have expanded to many cities all around the world.
How I signed up for Rails Girls
It was easy to do so. All it took was writing a nice email a month ago asking if there is an opportunity for me to coach and there I was. If you also have some experience with Ruby on Rails and you like helping people and tutoring, then I strongly suggest you go for it, it’s a great opportunity.
The event was organized in one of Impact Hub’s locations which is an amazing and inspirational co-working space shared by volunteers from the Learn2Code startup. Food, drinks and everything else needed was provided by the courtesy of large sponsors like Github, Heroku etc.
The aim of the whole program was to build a fully functional working web app for which there is already a step by step guide posted on the Rails Girls’ website. The event was incredibly fun and educational and it was there that I learned the importance of knowing your students’ level. Some of the participants had already had some html coding practice while others saw HTML for the first time ever. The key thing to do was to clearly explain only the crucial parts of development without getting into too many details, as many times as needed, and sometimes the third time was not the charm!
I qickly realized that the official guide was overwhelming and I needed to start with the basic concepts first, like web browser sending requests, HTML, CSS etc., before we threw the girls directly into the ruby framework. This eventually paid off further down the road, and in the end we managed to get the app working locally and I was happy we got it done.
Every RailsGirls has an after party in the evening. This is a great opportunity to meet all the fellow mentors and the girls. On ours, we went to a traditional Slovakian pub and a caraoke bar to train our vocals :), and after our training was completed, I went back to our hotel through the beautiful historical streets.
Overall It was an amazing trip, one which I’ll never forget.