I went from a Ruby know nothing to a Ruby know something. The San Francisco Ruby on Rails outreach program has been instrumental to introducing me to programming and Ruby. My original motivation to learn programming was to understand my development team as an Agile project manager. This recent 9/10 – 11 workshop was my 3rd. I kept returning because
- I have a steep learning curve having never programmed before with only a limited knowledge of HTML
- I am new to Ruby and have come to love it
- I love the San Francisco Ruby Community especially the women, Sarah Allen and Sarah Mei, who are the driving force for making these workshops available to anyone who wants to learn. They have created a community where local volunteer Rubyists are teaching future Rubyists. Both Sarahs are passionate and dedicated to build a local Ruby community where anyone who wants to learn the Ruby programming language would not be turned away due to lack of opportunities and resources.
The 9/10 – 9/11 workshop was made possible by Pivotal Labs generously offering its space, making its beverage fridge available to all participants, and buying us lunch; Captain Recruiter, Mike Pope, joined as a sponsor, buying beer for the after party, and personally helped with registration.
After Friday evening setup, participants arrived at 9a.m. on Saturday morning, ready to get their hands dirty in learning the Ruby programming language. We all sat down to a brief introduction of San Francisco Ruby, the Ruby programming language, Rails, and Agile development. Then the participants are grouped by Ruby knowledge plus programming experience.
Every time I attend a workshop, I have never ceased to be amazed by the spectrum of participants. We had husbands and wives, roommates, co-workers, mothers, fathers, young people, and the not so young. It’s heartening the see the outreach is actually reaching a large slice of the society in which we live. Sarah Allen put it nicely saying that software developed should reflect our society. I was impressed by the providing of someone to watch young kids so that parents could participate. I liked the chatter of babes in the background, it added a dose of reality somewhat. This time we had little toddlers running around bare footed with their toys. A rather nice distraction when one needs a little respite from hacking, I think.
The workshop ended with a group retrospective and then a party to celebrate a productive weekend of learning the Ruby language and, Rails for those who are more advanced. Please excuse my bragging, I am proud to have graduated from not knowing any formal programming to some programming. I intend to continue attending these workshops and hope one day to give back by being a Teaching Assistant. I have benefited much from San Francisco Ruby outreach workshops most importantly the love (yes, I said love) and support from the local Ruby community is just tremendous and sublime. I made a lot of friends and most of whom were willing to tutor me in person, answer questions via twitter, texts, phone calls, etc. All i can say is Wow! What a community! I feel very blessed, loved, and supported for a geek wannabe. Anyone out there who is intimidated by the task of learning programming or Ruby, try a workshop, it will change your life. It changed mine.