Team ifPairElseUnknown

Posted on by ifPairElseUnknown

Categories: blog and student posts

Hello World!

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Update on our project

We are in our final month of RGSoC! We can’t believe RGSoC is nearing the end. We have learnt so much since we started and are feeling more confident in pursuing a career in Development.

Working out of the office at our host company Zendesk, has been a great experience. We have met many wonderful and supportive peers. We spent our first two months hanging out with Adel Smee and her team. For a few weeks we have moved to another floor to sit amongst Zendesk’s Data Scientists and Data Engineers. During our time here we have participated in a regular Monday morning meditation session, enjoyed many Tech Talks, attended a communication workshop and participated in an ice cream day.

We have been contributing towards, an open source project founded by Julia Nguyen. We have been inspired by Julia’s passion towards building a community for sharing mental health experiences and providing support.

We have managed the project using Trello, Github and hosting a global meeting with our team each week. With the support and guidance of Julia and our coaches we have completed a number of issues assigned to us on Github.

By the end of RGSoC, we will have done:

IfPairElse Achivements

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What we have learnt

Pair Programming - Two brains are better than one and four eyes are better than two! We set up our environment with; 2 monitors, 2 keyboards and 2 mice/trackpads which has helped us write efficiently and keep us engaged while pair programming.

IfPairElse Pair Programming Setup

Photo taken by Jenny and Sophie

Git - The world of Git is never ending. Branches and branches and branches are unlimited and then remembering to merge and rebase and reconnect to the main branch. The Git journey has taken us to many places with a rebase back to home.

Ruby - There are more than one way to solve a problem. Ruby has helped us to do it in a way that is readable!

Rails - Rails is a framework which has provided structure and simplified repetitive tasks. It’s also pretty magical.


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Javascript - Javascript likes its semi-colons ‘;’ and ‘;’! And don’t forget the commas!

TDD - We regularly wrote tests within our code base. When it comes to building an application, we can’t live without TDD. As we have now a better understanding of TDD, our lives will never be the same.

There is an endless number of applications and developer tools available to us and the more we learn, the more we realise we don’t know enough and learning never stops.

Challenges we faced

This has been our first contribution to an open source project. It wasn’t easy diving into an established project. There was a lot to learn and discover. We had to navigate through all the files of existing code.

Getting the hang of Git was a bit of a challenge. We discovered that we could cause a conflict in Git when both working together on the same branch.

Pair programming can be challenging when working remotely. We worked remotely for 9 days and found it challenging because we were both working in different timezones and often had issues with internet connection.

Passion Led Us Here

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What we have achieved

  • Experienced Pair Programming on an open source project
  • Worked on a new key feature (Secret Share).
  • Learnt the fundamentals of Git, working from our team fork, on the project together.
  • Developed our skills in programming; Ruby, Rails and Javascript.
  • Gained confidence in our ability to write clean and readable code.
  • Gained an understanding of TDD by writing lots of tests.
  • Networked with wonderful and supportive developers.
  • Connected with the amazing RGSoC Community and Ruby Australia.
  • Shared our experiences on our Twitter and through our Daily logs.
  • Learnt about many wonderful Developer Tools.
  • Ate lots of chocolate.


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What’s next?

Our plans/goals for after RGSoC:

We plan to develop on our existing programming skills, with the aim to become full time developers. We would like to share our experience participating in RGSoC with others, in the hope that this will encourage more diversity within the industry. We look forward to attending the Ruby Australia Conference in 2018.

Thank You!

Our summer (winter) of code is coming to an end, but it has been a great pleasure working with our amazing team of coaches. They have all provided us with a wealth of knowledge, which we can take away and implement as we continue to learn. Thank You to our wonderful coaches; Adel Smee, Adam Rice, Simon Hildebrandt and Tim Moore

A Thank You to Luís Ferreira for providing awesome support remotely.

A Thank You to Zendesk for providing a welcoming and supportive environment for us to work on our project.

Thank You to our Project mentor Julia Nguyen it has been a pleasure working on your project and we look forward to continuing our work on We also want to thank Julia and Bee, for our personalised RGSoC stickers and the wonderful if-me community for their support.

ifme stickers

Photo taken by Jenny and Sophie

Thank You to our RGSoC Supervisor Vi Nguyen, it has been a pleasure getting to know you.

Lastly, we would like to say a BIG Thank You to the organisers of Rails Girls Summer of Code and all the sponsors for making this experience possible. This has been such a wonderful experience, we have enjoyed the opportunity to contribute back to the community in a positive way. This is an experience we will never forget!

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