Code #LikeAGirl: Here’s What I’ve Learned From Rails Girls

In marketing, you quite often have to deal with programming languages when publishing blog posts or building newsletters. A while ago, when I have just been introduced to Mailchimp, colorful lines of code seemed useless to me. But very quickly, I started understanding the meaning of the basic HTML commands that helped me solve all the problems with the layout (which, by the way, happen in Mailchimp all the time).

Nevertheless, I hadn’t realized that I worked with simple coding until my friend told me about an organization called Rails Girls. The idea behind it, which I love, is to create a community for women and help them transform their ideas into life using technology like computer programming. Volunteers from Rails Girls organize worskshops around the world where they teach attendees the basics of programming and introduce them into Ruby on Rails.

I decided to embrace my fear of numbers, go to Rotterdam for the Rails Girls workshop and spend my weekend learning something new. And I did, not only about programming but also about life.

1. Computer programming doesn’t have gender.

In countries like Russia, it is assumed that men and women have completely different roles in the society. While men are expected to be strong and work to provide for the family, women are supposed to be weak and take care of the household. Gender is allocated to various concepts and things like character traits, colors, toys, and professions. These frames limit men and women from doing something they want and would love to do.

Just like any other profession, computer programming doesn’t have gender. Due to the delusion in the society about the importance of gender in programming, it is not easy for female programmers to find equal opportunities for development in the industry. I am happy to see that this can be changed with the help of such initiatives as Rails Girls.

2. You CAN code!

I was pleasantly surprised to find out most of the volunteers at Rails Girls workshop weren’t professional programmers. It was truly enjoyable to learn from people who donated their time and effort to help us become familiar with Ruby on Rails. They shared their experienced with us, and we worked side by side and looked for solutions together (thank you Google).

Rails Girls Install Fest on Friday evening (hence the beers)

Anyone who has the determination to start creating apps and websites can just go and do it. Ruby is an amazing starting point for those who have a very vague idea about programming. You can find a lot of nice guides and step-by-step tutorials online. I mean, isn’t this guide the cutest?

3. Programming is not about math or algorithms.

I won’t lie if I say I hate math. In high school, I was the worst math student ever. I was more into literature and languages kinda girl. I still have nightmares about my math teacher… Turns out, you don’t have to be a math genius to be a programmer. It is all about being patient, creating a logical path and solving problems using this path, just like in Mailchimp.

I would definitely recommend getting familiar with basic terms in HTML & CSS before starting on any tutorials — that really helps!

4. When life gives you errors…

…you need to stop trying to do the same thing and take a moment to think. Trace back your steps and evaluate your process. What went wrong? If you find your mistake and correct it, how does this affect the rest of your path?

If you are stuck and can’t see what has gone wrong, ask for help. Sometimes you need a friend that can take a fresh look at your problem and tell you why it is not working out.

I am extremely happy that my friend told me about Rails Girls and that I decided to try myself in this field. A big thank you to the organizers and the volunteers at Rails Girs Rotterdam for all the help and the fun times. Rails Girls definitely got me curious to continue learning more about computer programming. Who knows, maybe my next post will be published on the blog I have created myself? :)

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