Two weeks of Rails Girls Summer of Code

By Diana Vile with collaboration of Violeta

We, Violeta and Diana Vilé, are involved in the Rails Girls Summer of Code scholarship as the DV Team since 2nd of July. We met each other in November 2017 during the Udacity Front-end Web Developer (FEND) Nanodegree, for which we both received a full Google scholarship. This article shares our experiences and learnings of pair coding during the Rails Girls Summer of Code scholarship (july 2th- september 30th 2018).

EXPERIENCE: How to do pair programming in remote

Pure excitement, is what we felt when we got accepted for the Rails Girls Summer of Code scholarship. We could not wait to start pair coding on the Open Source project “Living Style Guide” together. We felt very privileged to be part of the Rails Girls Summer of Code community. Knowing it would become a busy summer, it took relatively short to realise we needed to prepare ourselves.

Getting ready

Even before the Rails Girls Summer of Code experience started, life have been hectic, combining both a full-time job and complete opposite work schedules. Yet we managed to meet each other. In the days before the start:

  1. We met for a strategy session to Plan and Research for @RailsGirlsSoC
Planning & Research Session for @RailsGirslSoC

2) Read the @RailsGirlsSoC guidelines:

3) And attended a Scrum Workshop giving by our Coach @cristina_verdi

First day

The first day, we prepared ourselves looking into the Code and attending the @RailsGirlsSoC Kick-Off event.

Official RGSoC moments on twitter

The next two weeks, we logged our progress in the daily log.

The next two weeks, we logged our progress in the daily log.

Struggling to find a way

Shortly afterwards, we realized one thing: starting to code and do pair programming in remote isn’t easy:

  • We didn´t understand the code. Not even a tiny bit.
  • We realised we need to learn a lot.
  • We noticed that we need to review many things we learned and clarify concepts
  • We struggled to focus after a long working day
  • Our work schedules and responsibilities are completely the opposite. While Diana has a daughter and can study at work during the week, Violeta is completely alone and far away from her family and can’t do anything until she’s home or during the weekends.
  • We need to find a way to work together. We realised we both have a different learning style. While Violeta is good at learning by reading, researching and using logic, Diana learns by writing, discussing ideas and needs to work more with people in order to move forward.

Pair programming

We decided to let our coaches be the bridge between our tight schedules and different learning styles. While, Violeta’s attended her first tech conference, Diana sticked with the basics learning Git, Version Control and Github. While Diana is still catching up with Violeta, luckily we could communicate openly about it.

Pair programming, especially almost fully remote, is hard, but even then still you can enjoy working even Friday night.

Lessons Learned

  • Preparation is key, but don’t stick in it too long.
  • Try to define tasks for the week, don’t plan too much ahead and stay on point.
  • Learn a bit every day, even if you are too tired read something related to avoid feeling you are not achieving your goals.
  • Learn as much as you can. Start working and keep going.
  • Coding is everything except being “a loner”. To code, you need to communicate. Especially in remote settings, communication is key.
  • Pair programming is challenging, coding is hard, communication in remote is prone to misunderstanding. Despite this, attending the Rails Girls Summer of Code is really rewarding.
  • No more playing around, we are really preparing ourselves to become professional front-end- developers.