Rails Girls Brisbane


So, this weekend I did the best thing I could possibly have done to kick my learning up a notch. As the post title suggests, I attended the Rails Girls Brisbane Event hosted by River City Labs.

After the roadmap was ready, I started going through many resources to help my learning. And, in the process, I felt the need for some in-class training to compliment my efforts. Among all the possibilities, I needed something within budget and that is when I found, there was going to be a Rails Girls Event in Brisbane.

Vibrant Atmosphere. Friendly Mentors. Excited Women. Friday Hugs. Witty Questions. Fervent Coding. – This is how I would describe the event.

The atmosphere was full of enthusiasm and I would say the tempo never wavered. The Friday night was purely installation night so that everyone could have their laptops setup with the development environment to start coding on Saturday. The next task was to get everyone to sign up for a github account. Too many requests started flying from the same ip and Github declined further requests from that ip address. Since, I already had a github account, I was in glee.

I was able to meet some interesting people and was surprised to find that there were so many people just like me out there wishing to fast track their learning and struggling to take the next steps. I met Tracy Mu Sung who had traveled all the way from Sydney to attend this event.

As an Icebreaker, we got to play the Marshmallow challenge trying to build the tallest marshmallow-spaghetti tower with limited resources. It was so much fun. We sort of built the highest tower I guess but then it wasn’t strong enough to hold its ground and collapsed into a messy mass of spaghetti sticks and sticky marshmallows.

Everyone gave a Friday hug and Bronwen Zande tried to capture a panorama shot of the same. After meeting few more people and a slice of the largest pizza I have seen till date, I wrapped it up for the day.

Saturday morning, 8:05am. In my enthusiasm to get started, I got there too early only to meet closed doors and Robert Regan Feldman waiting for someone to open the door. By 8:40, It was full house again and once the mentors confirmed that everyone was set and ready to code, Nigel Rausch and Adrian Smith started the session with how internet works. Moving on, some of the topics covered were HTML, CSS, IRB, data types, etc.. Then, we were asked to TryRuby. This is a very beautiful interactive learning medium. But, Tracy and I spent half the time talking to Robert about how he learnt Ruby on Rails, different learning resources and classes available to learn effectively, etc.. You can find those resources at Tracy’s Blog.

After Lunch, we started to delve in to coding an Idea app in which you can create new ideas with a name, description and a picture. It was so exciting to finally get started on the app. This is when I hit the trouble spot. ExecJS runtime error. Bronwen, having faced similar error, helped me to fix mine. Another spot of network troubles.

And finally, hurray! My app worked. Then, I added user signup, Login and logout features. Success again. The next step was to try and beautify the app with some CSS. Before I could continue, our mentors suggested wrap-up of the session in order to benefit those who had to leave early. After the wrap-up, Simon was kind enough to walk us through the github basics. This was a very important takeaway for me.

Reflecting on the event, I think the best thing was the mentors were very friendly and never made us feel dumb. Second, It was amazing to see women from diverse backgrounds and age gathered there for the sole purpose of learning to code! Trust me, This was a massive turnout. I have been to a women in IT session at a very big nation-wide conference with more than 3000 participants and all the women I saw there was just 2/3rd of the count from Rails Girls Brisbane. Third, I loved the 5 themes for the event – Learn about Web Development, Get Inspired, Build something that works, Meet People, Have fun and I was able to check all the 5 boxes.

I would like to thank the sponsors, River city labs and all the awesome mentors (Adrian Smith, Andrew Newman, Bronwen Zande, Clemence Lelong, Dan Sowter, Jason Weathered, Katie Miller, Mark Ryall, Matt Connolly, Nick Chmielewski, Nigel Rausch, Odin Dutton, Robert Regan Feldman, Robert Dawson, Simon Baird) for arranging this great event. Looking forward to the next one.