You cannot learn without trying

Understanding the importance of lifelong learning is essential for a successful life.

Probably you caught yourself thinking about the newest cool app that somebody made, thinking how they did it? And how it actually works? Maybe you realized it involves programming, but then again, isn’t that something for men only? You barely know any female programmers. Then, stubborn as you are, you decided to try it out. Few evenings of frustrations of finding the right sources to learn left you hopeless you can ever make it. Well guess what! You are not alone, there is an organization that does free events of learning how to code and they have yet another successful event behind them! Keep on reading. 😉

Rails Girls – Rails Girls Amsterdam

Rails Girls initiative is around for quite a while now, it was started in Finland but nowadays it is a big global community. I am proud to be a part of it. What we want and strive for; is to provide tools and easy access to the world of programming. It is open to everyone but we specially welcome women. During the workshops or evening classes we gather to learn.

One of those day and half workshop happened this weekend (February 10 and 11th, 2017) in Amsterdam. Event hosted by Publitas gathered almost 60 curious students and more than 20 coaches. The event itself starts with an installation party on Friday, were we help participants to install and configure everything they need following the tutorial that is available on First evening is also more relaxed so there is more opportunity to meet other people that are having a similar journey.

On Saturday, it is the time for a real deal. Students are divided in groups of two, three or four and they get a dedicated coach. The Coach can be an experienced developer but also a person that just started, then the person gets a smaller group of complete beginners.

The entire day consists of 4 important parts:

1.Bentobox exercise It helps students to understand building blocks of a simple web application by explaining each section on its own. This year we added our sponsors into this presentation to understand that something known and present around them – also follows the same principles.

2.TryRuby & Rails #1 To get familiar with the programming language and its syntax, followed by creating the very first web application with Rails.

3.Inspiring lightening talks From the people that already went through the journey of switching their career and getting into this magical world. This year we had 2 of those stories, from Maud de Vries and Ester Kais

4.Rails #2 Continuation of building the application, and depending on the progress of the group – offering or suggesting topics to play with in more detail.

The outcome of the workshop

What usually happens is that students left happy, exhausted and confused. And that is ok. Happy because they did it. Exausted because it was a lot of focusing on unknown and confused because they are not quite sure how it all works. It does not seem they learned much… And why is it ok? Because we showed them it is possible and offered a way to continue, we warned them it will be hard and that it takes a lot of dedication. We did our part. Now it is their turn to take the best out of it and hopefully continue!

You can check some of the photos on the official Flicker channel Or the Twitter feed for @RailsGirls_Ams

Why do people do this for free?

There are many expensive bootcamps out there, that can bring you from none to some in only 2 weeks. So why do we do it for free? To give back what was given to us. Open source community is a great place where people share, create and learn from each other. Ruby and Rails are open and free. Nobody asks anything in return but we all know people that created all of that had their jobs, they just gave a bit extra. And now we use their software to earn our living. How awesome is that?

What is next?

If you are a developer that works with open and free technologies, join the community and contribute. You choose the way. If you want to learn – use what is given. People are more than happy to help out but also keep in mind not to abuse it. Appreciate their time and effort!

Join us for the next workshop: Ruby 101 and basics of programming

And don’t forget, whenever it gets complicated and hard, you start questioning your life, sanity and choices; remember you were drooling everywhere because you did not know how to swallow, you were crawling because walking was too hard and you even peed your pants – many times! But look at yourselves nowadays!

At times it will get hard but think of it as challenging, you will get frustrated but remember last time you solved something your were thinking you never will. Be persistent and do not be afraid to ask for help! Happy coding! 😉