Introducing Team Alster Hamburgers

Posted on by Anke and Aya

Categories: blog and student posts

Who are we?

Hello, we are Aya and Anke and together with our awesome coaches and mentors at ThoughtWorks, we’re Team Alster Hamburgers. As you can guess from our team name, we’re based in Hamburg, Germany.

Team Alster Hamburgers
The students: Aya & Anke (Image: Anke)

Aya: Hi, I’m 19 years old and I’m studying Computer Science and Economy in Nuremberg at the moment. I’ll be living in Hamburg during the Summer of Code though - pretty exciting to live in a new city and get to know so many people! I’ve been learning a few programming languages like Java and C for a year now but it’s all still very new to me, so I’d still consider myself a noob when it comes to programming!

Anke: While my university degree wouldn’t suggest it (I once studied cultural science and wrote my thesis on witch persecutions), I’ve always been interested in more technical jobs. I remember how a university class on the internet’s cultural impact first got me interested in HTML (the internet was still shiny and new back then!), and I built my first website in Pico, a not-so-comfortable text editor under Unix. After university, I worked as a technical editor, in tech support and as a product owner. I started to feel more and more coding envy while working with programmers, so I decided to do something about that and started studying in my free time. I’m also still very much a beginner but really excited to learn more over the course of the summer! When not near a computer, you often find me behind a camera or a sewing machine.

Why “Alster Hamburgers”, what does it mean?

The Alster is a nice big lake in the middle of Hamburg - not far from the ThoughtWorks office and perfect for relaxing after a long day of coding when Hamburg doesn’t shower us with the rain that it is famous for. Maybe while eating a well-deserved tasty hamburger, too! :hamburger:

How did you hear about the SoC and why did you apply?

Anke: I attended a Rails Girls workshop in 2012 in Cologne and got really curious about learning more. I continued studying by myself and followed the Rails Girls news - the Summer of Code always sounded really awesome but it was only this year that everything fell into place: I was able to take the summer off, met another interested Rails Girl at the Hamburg meetup, and we quickly found our coaches at ThoughtWorks who were just as excited to help a RGSoC team for the summer as we were about getting involved. Yay! But that would have been almost too easy, and my first teammate suddenly changed her mind and dropped out right before the deadline. Oh no! Was this the end to my SoC dream? But thanks to the magical powers of the internet (in this case, Facebook and Twitter), the news of the open position reached Aya and we were able to team up, and luckily, she was happy to move to Hamburg for the summer.

Aya: … and I heard about the RGSoC program via a desperate Facebook post by Anke. I thought to myself “Wow, I really don’t get why somebody would drop out of the Rails Girls program! I’ve always wanted to learn Ruby because we only learn Java and C in my computer science course at university. It’s such a cool thing to work on an open-source project and learn a new language for the summer!”. So I decided to write Anke and apply for the SoC. Luckily she was still looking for a partner at that time! Yay!

Team Alster Hamburgers
Team Alster Hamburgers! Clockwise from top left: Lukas, Klaus, Manan, Anastasia, Jan, Anke, Aya (Image: Anke). Our mentors (not in the picture): Christoph and Thorsten

What project are you working on?

We will be contributing to the LEAP Encryption Access Project. LEAP is a project to give all internet users access to secure communication, and we will dedicate our summer to helping out on its email web app. We’re just getting started with our first project, which will add a token-based user registration feature to the web app’s signup functionality. We chose LEAP because we find it important that people on the internet can choose who they want to communicate with, without wondering in the back of their minds who may be eavesdropping on their conversations.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Aya: I’m really looking forward to working with all these experienced programmers and building something on my own! I think it’s just really cool to be able to ask questions almost any time of the day (thanks to the different time zones of our mentors/coaches). That way you’re never left alone for too long and can get on pretty fast and I love that!

Anke: I can only agree with Aya: We got a really warm welcome to the project and have a great group of coaches and mentors to help us. I also look forward to meeting more of the other SoC teams! I’m excited to get involved in a real project and contribute to open source, and after only a few days into the summer, I already feel like I’ve learned a ton of new things - so it will be great to look back at the end of it and marvel at all that knew knowledge! You can follow our RGSoC adventures at @alsterburgers.