Hello we are CocoaGems

Posted on by Karla and Emma

Categories: blog and student posts

An introduction. Who we are.

We are Karla and Emma, a Californian and a Swede. Together with our mentors from Cocoapods, Orta Therox, Samuel Giddens, Kyle Fuller, and our coaches from GitHub, Rachel Myers, Rob Rix, Ross McFarland, Jesse Toth, Jake Boxer, and our private coaches Nevyn Bengtsson and Sean Mackesey we make up the team CocoaGems.

Karla and Emma met at various workshops, meetups and study groups in San Francisco this year to discover they were on a similar mission: learning to code.

Emma: After finishing my bachelor degree in social science focusing on digital and interactive media in 2009 I have been working with media production and IT. I was engaged in GeekGirlMeetup in Sweden at the time and did live streaming of events where nerdy, fun and talented woman talked about code and startup related subjects. I also worked at the Stockholm University with media production, IT support and management. In the beginning of this year me and my husband moved to San Francisco. I took a leave of absence from my work I decided to pick up on learning how to code. I did an online course in Python and got really hooked. I’ve been interested in what technology can do for us as human beings for quite some time now. It feels really empowering to extend that interest by learning to code and being able to build applications that people can use.

Karla: Since graduating from UC Santa Cruz with a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology in 2013 I worked a variety of jobs including working as a geographical researcher for Nokia Maps, tutoring and working in the Organic beverage channel. After my move to Berkeley in August 2013, I enrolled in a Computer Networking and Information Technology class at City College of San Francisco and a few months later I began working for Instacart a startup that provides on demand grocery services. While delivering groceries to offices in San Francisco I was introduced to many innovative products made possible with mobile software. During my time at Instacart I enjoyed pointing out bugs and doing small write ups for issues that I encountered. At several company gatherings I found myself talking to the engineers and asking them about the languages they used and about version releases and features that could improve the app. These conversations in addition to attending Women 2.0, Quantified Self and Women in Science and Engineering meetings at my UC fueled my desire to take my social science skills and combine them with a new set of technical skills to build products with the potential of improving people’s lives. I decided to try out some Ruby tutorials on Code Academy and soon after found myself hooked on Python tutorials. Half an hour long stints turned into 3 hour long sessions after work. To further grow my skills I attended my first Girl Develop It workshop - which was an Intro to HTML and CSS workshop led by Pamela Fox at the Mozilla back in February. That first workshop led me to enroll in a JavaScript series and soon after I also began attending tri-weekly study groups and meetups.

Why “Team CocoaGems”, what does it mean?

CocoaGems is a combination of the words Cocoa and Gems. Since we are working on CocoaPods, which is written in Ruby and built by a collection of Gems we wanted to combine those two words into one to describe our project.

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

Emma: I met Karla at various meetups, workshops and study groups in San Francisco where I had moved beginning this year. I had decided to apply to a developer boot camp to transfer my career and was preparing my applications. A friend of my husband who is also learning to code told me about Rails Girls Summer of Code. It sounded really cool to be able to work on an Open Source project while learning to code and on top of that receive a scholarship to cover living costs while doing so. Almost too good to be true. The only concerned was that it was only two weeks to due date. I asked Karla if she wanted to apply with me as a team and off we went to read up on the suggested Open Source projects, reaching out to mentors, coaches and companies that would be willing to work with us. We had a blast and finished our application at the very last minute.

Karla: The first time I came across Rails Girls Summer of Code was back in late February 2015. I was sitting out on my deck at night and looking for more coding resources. Rails Girls Summer of Code came up when I was looking for additional Ruby Tutorials. It looked like an amazing program! I looked at the site wishfully. Fast-forward to April 2015 – nearly two months after coming across the site – I walk into Haus Cafe in the Mission to meet up with my programming study buddy Emma Koszinowski and she asked me if I was interested in applying to Rails Girls Summer of Code together. Without hesitation I accepted. I decided to apply because I figured that regardless of the outcome – applying would be a great learning experience. I had no idea what the odds of getting in would be but I knew that the only way to find out was to try. There is an endless list and reasons as to why I decided to apply. Mainly I love the idea of learning more about open source and reaching out to potential project mentors to learn about their projects. Reading through their project proposals allowed us to learn a ton just by trying to figure out what each project was about. Our learning speed accelerated before being admitted to RGSoC by the mere act of applying. And that is precisely why I would encourage everyone who is interested in growing their skills through mentorship and Open Source contribution to apply.

Team CocoaGems
Credit to all of our coaches!! Upper from is left Nevyn Bengtsson, Rob Rix, Sean Mackesey, Middle from left Jesse Toth, Bottom left Jake Boxer, In the bigger picture from left Rachel Myers, Emma Koszinowski, Karla Sandoval and Ross McFarland (Image: all github avatars. The bigger picture by Matt Todd)

What project are you working on?

We are working on CocoaPods, a dependency manager for iOS development. Cocoa is apple’s native object-oriented API for making applications for OS X. Pods are third party libraries that can be used in an Xcode project for making iOS and Mac applications. Before CocoaPods existed, these libraries had to be installed and maintained manually. CocoaPods enables an automated way to install and keep Pods up to date. Our project aim is to make CocoaPods more modular by moving modules out of the main CocoaPods project into plugins so that they are easier to change without affecting the rest of the CocoaPods project.

Karla: Currently I am working with Samuel Giddins one of our CocoaPods coaches on a repo called Cork. We are extracting banner and text wrapper from CLAide and creating a new gem to better architect the code and add better tests. Later this summer we are working on CocoaPods issue 2279 to take the CocoaPods project and parse it into a collection of gems organized by functionality.

Team CocoaGems
Credit to all our mentors!! Upper left Orta Therox, Karla Sandoval and Emma Koszinowski. Down from left, Samuel Giddens, Boris Bügling and Kyle Fuller.

What are you most looking forward to this summer?

Emma: It’s hard to pick one thing. It so much fun to get to know the CocoaPods members and our coaches at GitHub. This is also my first time working on a larger code base, which is really exciting. This project really enable us to get the best out of both the Ruby and iOS community.

Karla: I am looking forward to contributing to CocoaPods and getting to know our CocoaPods and Github coaches and mentors better.Developing my programming skills in Ruby and Swift is also at the top of my list as is developing making some progress on the Audio BookMark Tool project -Panel Power. Some other equally important qualities I look forward to developing during RGSoC include learning how to work effectively as a team by practicing SCRUM and test driven development.