“At an end your [summer] is, and not [long] enough it was!”

Posted on by Johanna Lang and Dayana Mick

Categories: blog , student posts and conferences

It has been a summer full of some happy coincidences and one we have just discovered is that apart from having a Star Wars related name like the Coding Padawans, we, Team Joda are writing our blog exactly two years after they published it 😉 and are getting ready to end our coding journey as Rails Girls Summer of Code students.

Role Models

Amazing Role ModelsAmazing Role Models (Image: Team joda, Technique: Collage)

This has been a very cool journey indeed, through which we got to meet many inspiring women and learn about their coding journeys as well. We shared our stories and motivated each other: We had lunch several times at SoundCloud with team LoadtoCode and we also met team Kindr3d, when they came to Berlin for a couple of conferences. Then, we even got to meet the RubyCats during EuRuKo 2016. Furthermore, Ellen (one of our coaches), Duana and Tam (our mentors) and Nynne (a RGSoC alumna, who worked last year on the same project) have been incredible role models that continuously embolden us throughout our coding paths.

Our Project and Lessons Learned

As we mentioned in our first post, our project is SoundDrop. By working on this project closely together and having a great team of supporters, we acquired and improved both our technical, as well as our communication skills: We learned to ask more precise questions, to research better for solutions, to try things out from different perspectives and to talk about our problems and boundaries to be able to get along throughout the summer. Working on a project so closely can be very challenging: It is like having a travel companion with which you do everything together and with whom you have to talk often, to make sure you are not stepping on each others’ toes. So even if our communication is not always perfect, we put a lot of effort and achieved the goals we had for the summer:

  • We learned about APIs and could design and implement one for our project
  • We revamped the landing page with an embedded map in which you can see the drops that have been added
  • We added tags, so users can categorize their drops
  • Johanna made it possible for users to search drops according to tags
  • Dayana created a “My Drops” Page where users can see their drops on a map and a count of them.

Of course this is work in progress and there is still much work to be done, but we’re satisfied with the results and looking forward to code more. Throughout this process we learned a lot about programming languages, servers and memory allocation among other topics and also began using awesome debugging tools such as Pry and Chrome’s developer tools. We also had to understand, and sometimes even refactor legacy code.

Conference: EuRuKo 2016

euruko2016EuRuKo 2016 (Image: Team joda, Technique: Collage)

On September 23rd and 24th, we were able to attend our first international Ruby conference, EuRuKo, which was taking place this year in Sofia, Bulgaria (Thanks again to EuRuKo for providing free tickets!). Not only was EuRuKo our first big international conference, it was also the first one where we gave a lightning talk. We became quite nervous, when we realized in front of what a large audience we would speak and what famous and well known developers were attending. But the EuRuKo staff supported us very well and we quite enjoyed standing on stage, sharing our Rails Girls Summer of Code experience wrapped up in 5 minutes. We received a lot of positive feedback and people liked that we announced to be looking for jobs after Summer of Code ;)

Attending EuRuKo meant experiencing diversity in many different ways: The talks were both technical and non-technical. One talk that deeply impressed us was “Consequences of an Insightful Algorithm” by Carina C. Zona. She warned about negative impacts that errors in algorithms can have on people’s’ lives, e.g. when an automated tagging system categorizes a picture of a concentration camp as “playground” or when Facebook reminds you of a day you always wanted to forget. We were also impressed by José Valim talking about how and why he created Elixir and to hear about the accomplishments of the awesome Ruby Together community that maintains some of the most important Ruby Gems (in their free time! Thanks!). During the breaks and the after party on Friday we got to meet a lot of Ruby enthusiasts from many different countries and backgrounds, e.g. our fellow RGSoC Team from Warsaw: The Ruby Cats, some Rails Girls Sofia organizers with whom we could exchange experiences from putting together beginner workshops and - last but not least - we met Matz, the creator of the Ruby programming language!

In a nutshell, we had an amazing experience with many interesting people in a pulsating city and we are looking forward to EuRuKo 2017 in Budapest!

What Comes Next

Now the last week of RGSoC has started and of course we are sad that these three months of intensive learning are soon to be over. But we are also looking forward to new challenges: continue contributing to SoundDrop (updating it to Rails 5 \o/), working on our own projects and applying for developer jobs. Or, as Yoda would put it:

“If you end your training now — if you choose the quick and easy path as Vader did — you will become an agent of evil.”