Join Our Coven

Once upon a time, I was a Lyft driver. This was back when I first moved to San Francisco in September 2015. There were a lot of cool things about being a driver: flexible hours, interesting conversations, monetary incentives like “complete 100 rides and get $800!” and of course, it’s a fantastic opportunity to learn your way around a new city.

One of my most memorable rides was with a car full of female developers. As we all drove around the city together, each personality in the car became more defined. Back seat to the right — she was taking a circus class for tumbling and walking tight ropes. Back seat to the left — she was wearing a yellow hard hat and on her way to a construction site. Front seat — she learned Ruby from a coding bootcamp and landed her dream job within six months of graduating.

At first, I was shyly avoiding the fact that I wanted to become a developer. But, everyone was being so genuine and that made me feel safe. So, I took the leap and said I was learning some code every night after work. The car exploded with “Oh my gosh! That’s so great!” “What language are you learning?” “Do you want my email? I can totally help if you ever need it.”

And then, an invisible force gripped each of my passengers and a desperation came across each face. “Seriously, take my email. I want to help.” “Yeah, here’s my business card. It’ll get rough, but you can do it. You’re not alone.” “Don’t give up. We need you.”

They… needed me? What an amazing feeling! I belonged somewhere! People wanted me. I would join their numbers. We would become legion. I was ready.

After accepting all their emails and business cards, I cracked a joke, “It feels like I’ve just joined a really awesome coven.” Today, their bits of paper and business cards sit safely tucked away in a floral card box on my desk. I wonder if those women ever think of me as fondly as I think of them. :)


Vocabulary to learn: method, string, argument

A continuation of the Ruby problem I’ve discussed and broken down in previous posts.

Digging into line 2:

Def means “definition.” It’s important to define what your method does to better identify it later or for someone unfamiliar with the method to know what it does without needing to talk to you. I like to use verbs when defining my methods, like “reverse.”

Line 2 defines a method written in Ruby. Methods — sometimes called functions — are like specific tools in a toolbox. For example, a screwdriver has a specific job. It’s handy to have around when you build something and need to turn a screw. This method will be handy to use when a string needs reversing.

A string is a line of characters contained within quotations. 
Ex) “This is a string”
Ex) “123 %$# This is also a string *@!”

The string in this method is passed in as an argument. Arguments are like
specific cases for our method to handle. For example, if our method is like a
screwdriver, then our argument is like a chair or table or cabinet — it depends on what kind of string we pass in as an argument. Arguments can change. Arguments are passed in through parentheses. I like to use nouns when naming my arguments, like “string.”

Until next time, thanks for reading!