A couple of weeks ago, We hosted the first Mexican RailsBridge Open Workshop. The two-day event brought together girls and (some) guys interested in learning how to build a Ruby on Rails application from scratch. Among the attendees we had students, designers, IT professionals and experienced programmers. All of them were excited to be there, showed a great disposition for learning and sharing knowledge and experiences with everyone.
What is RailsBridge?
It's a community that works on diversifying technology, providing tools and resources for people interested in teaching and learning, especially women. The workshop was part of this movement, and it was focused on teaching Ruby on Rails, guiding the attendants step by step through the process of building a web application.
Software development and technology in general, are fields mainly dominated by men, and women have a low representation. That's why RailsBridge works to reduce the digital gap between women and tech.
Day 1: Installfest
First day was dedicated to setup Rails environment: Ruby, Ruby on Rails, gems, etc. This way, everyone would be ready to start coding since the very first moment the next day.
Day 2: Coding!
The next day, early in the morning, we started the workshop with the Rails environment configured and installed. Desi McAdam, our guest of honor and a RailsBridge member, gave us instructions to start with the development guide, and after that, the Teaching Assistants explained concepts to the group, so each member could start coding. This way the workshop was guided step by step, mentored by people willing to teach and solve any emerging doubt.
Basic concepts were explained: from MVC and gems, through scaffolding, testing, source code versioning, all the way to deploying applications on Heroku, ensuring each attendant understood what they were doing and why they did it that way.
Along with with Desi, some of our colleagues were aware and ready to solve any doubts and to explain every detail of each topic.
Our two cents
At the end, the goal of the workshop was reached. All of the people involved were glad to have learned something useful, and building their own web application and see it 'live'. They were also happy because they met new awesome people, learned and shared experiences with everyone, regardless of their experience as programmers.
We believe this has been an important step for the female tech community in our region, starting this way, with the help of Desi, bridging the gap between women and technology, and giving tools to strengthen the female role in a field usually dominated by men.
Eventually, there will be more workshops of this kind for the people who couldn't attend this time. Meetings and workshops will be announced in the RailsBridgeMx and the Codificadas Meetup page. As well as in their Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Thanks to all of the attendants, and we encourage you to keep learning and asking questions. Don't forget that the Internet is full of free learning resources. Also, don't hesitate to join the Ruby and Ruby on Rails communities in Mexico. There will always be people able to help and share knowledge.
Also, special thanks to Esteban Cortés, Mariana Hernández, Adrián Castillo, Fernando Perales, Ismael Marín, and of course Desi McAdam, for voluntarily supporting the workshop with their time, ideas and enthusiasm.