1. Aftermaths and Statistics from Galway, Ireland

    Aftermaths and Statistics from Galway, IrelandA Rails Girls workshop took place in Galway, Ireland, again, on June 20-21st 2014. We applied some changes this time and we are happy to share the results with the rest of the community.

    Rails Girls Galway 2014 Goodies

    The first change regarded the tutorial. Last year we started with the basic app tutorial (the one for creating ideas) and then we let the attendees decide which other tutorial to continue with. However, the majority were either just leaving or only focusing on CSS improvements for the web page appearence. This time then, we decided to give more structure to the tutorial and to present it as an actually useful application for the society. This resulted in a tutorial to describe, comment and rate touristic places in Galway as autism-friendly or not. The application had even been requested by the Galway Autism Partnership! You can find the final code and screenshots on GitHub.

    The second change consisted in splitting the Lightning Talks in 2 sessions at lunch time and in the middle of the afternoon. Also, we tried our best to host highly ranked speakers with interesting insights and experiences to share.

    The third change was to explicitly asked for feedback to the attendees after the event via questionnaire. We got 22 replies out of 70 attendees and we draw statistics on them in addition to statistics on the applicants’ background and age (Fig. 1).

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    Fig. 1 - Age groups of the Rails Girls Galway 2014 applicants

    Their overall feedback was positive for a large majority (Fig. 2). Finally, another change was introducing explanations on GitHub and having everyone publishing their code on their own GitHub account since the very beginning.

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    Fig. 2 - Overall enjoyment scale of the Rails Girls Galway 2014 participants

    As we can see from Fig. 1, the majority of the applicants were between 20 and 40. In this age group women are probably more interested in learning and in evaluating their career options. Also, they mostly did not have any programming experience, as in Fig. 3.

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    Fig. 3 - Knowledge background of the Rails Girls Galway 2014 applicants with respect to programming

    Even in case of positive feedback, we asked what they would have improved. The replies are shown in Fig. 4 and focused on 3 main points: the tutorial, the coach per participants ratio and the schedule.

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    Fig. 4 - What the Rails Girls Galway 2014 participants would like to improve

    The amount of participants. We hosted 70 effective participants out of 97 applications which came from all over Ireland (some from Dublin and Limerick). All of the 97 applications were accepted because we planned for a ratio of 5 attendees per coach which worked well last year. Also, while in 2013 we tried to create pre-defined groups of participants balancing their knowledge background and preparation, we found very hard to move the attendees to their seat within their group, during the workshop. This time then, we decided to just let them choose their seat randomly. However, by the feedback gathered, the mixture of newbies and programmers was perceived as an issue. Some people needed more explanations and others needed less; some needed more focus without being distracted by the talks (despite enjoying the talks a lot) while others were perfectly happy to interrupt the coding and enjoy the talks and the breaks (maybe because more confident already with the coding itself). This explains. Finally, it is critically important to meet face to face with all the coaches at least once (even via telco if necessary) in order to make absolutely sure that everyone knows what is behind each step of the tutorial.

    Rails Girls Galway 2014 workshop activities

    Tutorial and Schedule. I aggregate these two subjects together because they are tightly related with each other. The first problem with the tutorial was not properly presenting the web application that we were going to develop as a whole. The tutorial content was presented by voice but more explanations would have been necessary, with the aid of diagrams and screenshots. Maybe even a live demo. Some also suggested to graphically explain what each step of the tutorial was aimed at. People often realized what they were learning and doing only after a while or towards the end. The second problem with the tutorial was that the instructions were perceived as not suited for beginners. Some also found the command line as an obstacle for beginners and consequently Ruby on Rails as too complicated. The third and general issue with the tutorial and the schedule itself was fitting too much to do in only 1 day, since Friday, as usual, had been dedicated only to the Installation Party. Many were willing to commit more days if necessary for the learning process (although I do not know how much the volunteers would be available to dedicate more days..especially those who came from abroad like Dublin and Waterford).

    Rails Girls Galway 2014 lunch break in the museum

    As a personal additional remark, the networking experience sometimes does not happen on its own by just splitting participants in groups, but needs some encouragement. Last year, the afterparty which is the main networking occasion, couldn’t happen close to the workshop and as a consequence very few participants attended while the majority were coaches. This time it happened close to the workshop and more participants attended. However, gathering peiple who do not know each other around some pints does not work straight away. Some activities need to be planned in advance and discussed among all the coaches (maybe during the face to face meeting mentioned earlier) to facilitate the interactions. Also, having the afterparty right after the workshop is not a good idea because the participants are too tired at the end.

    Another personal remark is about troubleshooting of errors. There were unexpected errors experienced by some attendees’ machines which took time off the coaches to be solved and slowed down the overall schedule speed besides descouraging the participants. A solution for this may be to create a virtual machine where we make sure the web app works perfectly fine by following the tutorial step by step. Then, we could ask the attendees to use this virtual machine.

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    Fig. 5 - What the Rails Girls Galway 2014 participants particularly enjoyed

    On a positive note, Fig. 5 shows that everyone enjoyed the lightning talks, the learning experience and the networking. As in Fig. 6, so many people felt empowered by the experience, inspired by the generosity of the volunteers and by seeing women innovators. The majority perceived a change of perspective about programming which becomes more accessible as the IT area feels more welcoming. One comment explicitly mentioned how coding felt scaring before and possible now and how Rails Girls Galway had a direct effect on her decision to subscribe to a Computer Science course in University after having been out of the job market because of her pregrancies.

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    Fig. 6 - What the Rails Girls Galway 2014 participants brought home from the workshop experience

    Fig. 7 shows how the Rails Girls format has the particular merit of making learning a fun and social experience rather than a boring, solitary work. The even is generally received as important to develop one’s self, feeling empowered and inspired to dig more into coding. These comments are the best reward for all the effort put into the event by our volunteers and encouraging for the whole Rails Girls movement.

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    Fig. 7 - Why should others attend the workshop according to the Rails Girls Galway 2014 participants

    The talks were appreciated by absolutely everyone :) They were centered around the topics of women in entrepreneuship by Dorothy Creaven, the IT gender gap by Catherine Cronin (both listed among the 100 women in STEM by Silicon Republic), contributing to open source by Darío Javier Cravero (core contributor of the Padrino Framework), electronic crafting with MaKey MaKey by Bianca Ní Ghrógáin. The attendees particularly enjoyed discovering the fun and easy ways of crafting with electronics using MaKey MaKey. Bianca even performed a live demo using a device and Scratch program that made a cat meowing whenever people were holding their hands in a circle and stopped whenever a pair of them let go of their hands.

    General remarks for the next Rails Girls Galway and suggestions for those happening around the world:

    • give a lot of details and explanations on what the plan is for the workshop day/s and what the attendees will accomplish at the end
    • have a plan B. make sure that even if running out of time, there will be small achievements accomplished by everyone at the end
    • whatever is the schedule, make sure to take at least 30minutes or even 1hour before the end of the workshop, to explain and show and award the accomplishments
    • if possible, run the workshop over 2 full days rather than 1 (and a half) reducing the installation time to only 1 hour while sending installation instructions by email in advance
    • have the afterparty on a different day then the day of the workshop
    • plan networking activities as part of the afterparty and/or the breaks
    • if possible split completely the attendees between newbies and advanced. in this case, make sure the talks are scheduled in a way that does not distract the attendees focus (maybe scheduling them only on one dedicated day or before starting or after finishing)
    • reduce the participant per coach ratio to even 2 attendees per coach
    • have all the coaches participate to a meeting (even if via telco) and make sure everyone has a deep knowledge of the tutorial to follow
    • try to host talks that show creative and fun sides of programming, possibly performing live demo

    This year the sponsors were more keen to help us. We must thank both GitHub and Cisco who sponsored us for the second time, RedHat who printed T-shirt for all the coaches and all the attendees, too! Microsoft who covered awards for the best attendees together with GitHub, Ericsson who spontaneously offered both monetary support and volunteers, ContentKingdom who sponsored us and whose CTO awesomely offered to give a talk and volunteer as a coach. Special thanks to the Insight Centre for Data Analytics at NUIG (National University of Ireland Galway) who gave us the space, electricity and internet coverage to run the event for free as part of the Outreach Program led by Brendan Smith. Brendan is also responsible for the National Technology and Communication museum located in the Insight building and offered the space in the museum to host our lunch and breaks for the delight of everyone (see photo below). He helped us promoting the event via his contacts with journalists, too: thanks a million, Brendan!! Thank you so much to all the volunteers whose effort and ability to create a welcoming and relaxed while helpful atmosphere was amazing!

    Rails Girls Galway 2014 lunch break in the museum

    Thanks to Stefania, Kevin, Keith, Darío, Gerry and Myriam for the slides presentations they also gave. Thanks to Narumol and Deirdre for the photos (check them out on our Flickr account!) and to Hugo who recorded videos and interviews which are going to be published soon (stay tuned! we’ll announce it on our Twitter acocunt)

    Thank you to the amazing Rails Girls community, happy coding and a big hug from Ireland!! ;)



    Myriam Leggieri (@iammyr)
    (on behalf of Rails Girls Galway)

  2. Rails Girls Amsterdam Recap!

    After attending Rails Girls Groningen as a participant last November and coaching at Rails Girls Leiden in February,  it was time to start organizing myself! In Leiden I told Floor about my idea of organizing a Rails Girls event in Amsterdam. Well, I didn’t have to tell her twice! Two days later she emailed me all the info I needed and I was ready to get things going! The enthusiasm I encountered ever since has been overwhelming and amazing.

    Rails Girls Amsterdam took place on 6-7th June and we had 51 participants (out of the 75 people that subscribed). It was unfortunate to decline some applications, but it was great to see the enthusiasm and interest of the Dutch girls in programming and web development. Not only Dutch girls came over to join us :-) Girls came from all over Europe:  from  England, Spain, Italy, Germany & Belgium. It was amazing to notice the popularity of Rails Girls is all over the world!

    The day started with a Bentobox exercise to get to know some of the terminology of web development, followed by a crash course in Ruby. After that, groups were divided and it was time to start building your own web app.

    After lunch, we arranged a google hangout session with RailsGirls Lodz in Poland. Unfortunately, the connection was quite bad, but we managed to wave at each other and to say hi! It was great moment. We also saved some time for lighting talks and they were excellent.  Martina told us something on ‘ How to get in..?’. Hester shared her RailsGirls Summer of Code experiences with us and even did a victory dance. Daan introduced the girls to the ongoing war between editors like emacs and vim and Peter spoke about open source contributing with Spree.

    After the lightning talks everyone started to work on their application again. It was great to see everyone working on their app with full energy! In the afternoon we called it quits and thanked all the attendees and coaches with some ice cream and a goodie bag.

    According to comments we received during and after the event, participants truly enjoyed the Rails Girls experience. The goal of this event was to give all the participants a great and fun (first) experience in web development and I think we can say we (sponsors and coaches!) managed pretty good!


    With the unlimited support of Erik, the awesome coaches and great sponsors we pulled of an very successful workshop. I’m very happy with the enthusiasm and energy of the coaches. 24 coaches volunteered to teach some Ruby on Rails on a Saturday. I know a couple of them can’t wait to do this again..so maybe we should organise this event again in 6 months.. ;)

    I want to spend these last few words to thank some people. Rails Girls Amsterdam couldn’t have happened without the financial support of our sponsors, to which I’m more than grateful. Thanks to your we we’re able to offer the participants goodie bags, drinks, ice creams, proper ‘programmer food’ and some delicious mini cupcakes.

    Also, I want to thank Publitas for trusting me (and 74 girls/coaches) with their venue and all of their stuff. Thank you so much. Everything went super smooth because of this :)

    And last but not least: a special thanks to our coaches: Anouk, Erik,  Sheila, Besma, David, Nathan, Daan, Sytse, Luca, Karen, Hester, Peter, Oana, Maarten, Martina, Sjoerd, Daniël Z., Daniël v H., Ariejan, Sander, Melanie, Annebeth en Yorick for all their support, enthusiasm and motivation.

    Check out the pictures here.

    To keep in touch with news about Rails Girls Amsterdam, you can follow us on Twitter @railsgirls_AMS or keep an eye on railsgirls.com/amsterdam2.

    You can also check out this short storify of RG Amsterdam.

  3. 1st Rails Girls Luxembourg was successful! | The Impactory →

  4. 9 Surprises of Rails Girls Youth Krakow

    In January we had a small WebMuses/RailsGirlsKrakow team meeting, talked about organizing RG workshop in Krakow for the 3rd time and we run into a small problem. The thing is, the whole team is still crazy in love with RG, but thinking about doing it for the 3rd time made us a little less excited than planning the first and the second edition.

    Rails Girls Krakow by W.Dalach

    So, inspired by Rails Girls  Ljubljana, we decided to try something different this time and add „Youth” to the workshop’s name. We wanted to invite as many teenage girls as possible, hoping to inspire them before the big decisions. We fit the RG formula to one-day only, translated basic guide to Polish and asked girls for parents’ permission. My personal motivation was to create a workshop that 15-year-old me would have killed for.

    Because we thought 48 geeky teenagers would be to much to ask for, we kept promoting Rails Girls Youth as “a coding workshop for female teenagers”, but also added a message on the registration page: anyone can apply, but 13-19-year-old girls (that’s middle- and high-school in Poland) have the priority. Our plan was to accept all teenagers (hopefully  25-30) and fill the rest of the spots with first-year students.

    Rails Girls Krakow by W.Dalach

    1. We ended up with 317 applications (aaaaaa!!!), in which 80 were from teenagers. Happy and heart-broken at the same time, we had to turn many applications down :(. We tried to select those who seemed really motivated, passionate about IT and most likely to study something CS-related (and those who applied themselves, since couple of applications were submitted by parents).

    2. Three attendees turned out to be a primary-school pupils (10, 11, 12 years old), not middle-school, like they claimed in the application’s form.

      Rails Girls Krakow by W.Dalach
    3. Taught from the WebMuses’ experience - people are usually just on time or 10 minutes late, so girls were told to come between 8 (breakfast) and 9 (workshop’s start). As a result, 90% of them showed up before 8 am (what IMO should be illegal)

    4. We expected most of attendees to be from Krakow - less than half was. Girls came from all over Poland - from Poznan (442 km), Warsaw (298 km) and Tarnów (92,9 km). Dad who drove with his daughter from Szczecin (656 km) and back (656 km) just for the workshop deserves a really big “dad of the year” prize, but that really stressed us out (those expectations!).

    5. Not surprisingly, girls were more shy than adults.

    6. We prepared some extra ideas how to keep the energy level high after launch, since at every standard Rails Girls workshop we had been (i.e. a lot) it always dropped a little in the second part of the day. Well, it didn’t happen. Instead, we used those ideas (like taking the groups for a guided tour through the office) to spare extra free-time for coaches, so they could relax for a moment and drink their 12th coffee.

      Rails Girls Krakow by W.Dalach
    7. We had to politely kick the last group out, ‘cause they just didn’t want to leave! Even when we were already done with cleaning and had to close up :)

    8. Speaking about cleaning, our team ended up doing a lot of this. We gonna be nice about it and just assume some girls were too much into coding to clean after themselves and that’s a good thing, right?

    9. And the biggest surprise: we had the best coaches, sponsors, partners, attendees and team members one can dream of. Just like the last year and the year before. How is that even possible???

    Here’s the video proof:

    http://vimeo.com/92850907

    Hugs from Krakow,

    Basia M. with Wiktoria D.

  5. Rails Girls Salt Lake City first workshop!

    By Anna Brozek
    Take a look at the awesome video from the event and location! 

    We recently had the pleasure of gathering with over 120 enthusiastic women and 50 coaches for the first ever Rails Girls SLC. This event was very close to our hearts: Big Cartel is a Ruby app, built from scratch out of a drive to make something awesome with no expectations of what it would become (to read more on that, give this article from the founder of Bigcartel a good read. It’s exciting for us to expose more people to a coding language that can open up so much possibility. If attendees decide to pursue a career in tech and start to even out the gender gap, even better.
    Because this was such a special project, we needed the perfect venue. The Ladies Literary Club headquarters was constructed in 1877 to provide a home for the Ladies Literary Club, an organisation created by women in Utah to provide opportunities to meet, share ideas, educate one another and inspire cultured debates. With a history like that, we knew we’d found the perfect spot for Rails Girls.

    In addition to some solid one-on-one time with coaches learning the basics, attendees heard the incredibly likeable Hannah Bottalla yell f*#k from the podium. They got a pep-talk from Susan Petersen, the mastermind behind Freshly Picked, and much-needed encouragement from Big Cartel developers Lee Jensen and Andy Borsz.
    With such an overwhelming response to our first Rails Girls, we’re already cooking up some ideas for the next workshop. If you weren’t able to attend, we hope you’ll join us in the future.

    If you were one of the attendees or coaches, make sure and stay connected with your pals from the RG front lines by joining the Rails Girls SLC Google group!

  6. MY FIRST RAILS GIRLS WORKSHOP

    (First appeared on Boundless Journey)

    Somewhere around the mid of November 2013, I first read about Rails Girls (link here). This organization mainly works to encourage women and girls to become better programmers. There was a workshop happening in Munich, Germany around that time. Thinking that there would be sponsors, I applied. And yo, I got selected! It was then I learnt that Rails Girls workshops are individual local chapters, usually attended by people close to the area. I was a bit dejected that I could not make for it. Just then, one of the core organizers of Rails Girls, Sara, encouraged me to begin a Rails Girls Mumbai Chapter. She was a source of support and encouragement all through the workshop. I soon shifted my base and moved on to Kerala, to join the University I studied in (Read more here).

    My college has a FOSS Club (link here), where students are encouraged to make contributions to open source, and essentially learn stuffs the fun way! One of my Professor, Vipin Sir, who heads the FOSS club, encouraged me to conduct the workshop for the students. Then began the journey of my first Rails Girls workshop.

    DSC_0225

    I began hunting for coaches. I found just one, who had sound knowledge in RoR, and I had at least the basics. The road was set. There were 2 more (very dedicated, helpful and sincere) students, Anu and Archana, who co-organized this event. We met often after our work hours and brainstormed about the event. We were determined!

    DSC_0217

    April 4th and 6th, 2014 – the days finalized for the event. We soon had our event page up, got the online registration form and the posters ready. The next day posters were put up, and we tried to spread maximum by word of mouth. On the 28th of March, we received our first registration. We were excited! Yipee!!! It’s happening, finally!!!

    We received almost 60 registrations. However, we constrained to only girls and women, due to lack of space and sufficient coaches. We wanted every participant to get maximum attention and enjoy the workshop thoroughly.

    4th April, 2014 – The first day of the workshop. We began at around 5.45pm. It started off with the lighting of lamp and a prayer. We then had Br. Biju Ji introducing the workshop to the participants. His speech was indeed enthralling! The girls were geared up!

    DSC_0108

    Following it, we had an Introduction to Web Development. Since the participants were mostly ones who had very little/no programming knowledge, the basics were taught, touching only the cream of the web.

    DSC_0305

    The students were then put in groups of 7, and they had to brainstorm among themselves and come up with a dream web application. They were given sketches and chart papers to illustrate their ideas. The students were very creative and energetic. We could see the spark of ideas already lighting up the evening! :)

    DSC_0192

     

    DSC_0256

    We then had the Rails installation done, headed for dinner, and was done for the day!

    DSC_0195

    6th April, 2014 - It was an early Sunday. Soon after breakfast, the seats started getting filled up.

    We first had a a technical talk by Soumajit Pal, Research Associate at Amrita Center for Cyber Security. He spoke some interesting web practices and covered some core topics, viz MVC architecture, server client communication. He also spoke about his programming experiences. He then showed a demo of some cool stuffs that he was working on. The students were amazed and excited to begin their learning! We had some questions popping up, which Soumajit very gracefully answered.

    Then was a small introduction to the Ruby language. We headed for a short break. Small talks, Pepsi and Miranda filled time and appetite ;)

    Then was the TryRuby session. This was amazing! It was an interactive session. The participants were very curious and did not restrict themselves to only TryRuby. They went ahead, had some trial and errors in the irb terminal ! With lot of dicussions on why and how this and that happens, we ended our Ruby session. We quickly headed to the dining area, and was soon caught up relishing the some tasty delicacies.

    Following lunch, was the Bento Box exercise. Want to know what’s a Bento Box?

    untitled

    It is a Japanese food tradition. It holds rice, fish or meat, and some rice and cooked vegetables, neatly packed in a box-shaped container called a ‘bento’. In our case, our bento consisted of some cool web technologies and the participants had to figure out where which technology fits in.

    bento

    The participants were paired and were allowed to Google, in case they fell into some unknown web specie.

    IMG_20140406_134046

    The winner team scored a whooping 9/10! Super exciting!

    Then, we quickly began to build the rails application. We built the Idea Application given in the RG website. The Rails Girls Guides very neatly put the guidelines, which helped us all throughout. We began by explaining some core Rails concepts as and when we progressed with the application. Scaffolding, routes, CRUD, Convention over Configuration – we saw it all come alive while building the app. As quarter to 5 approached, we had a short tea break. Returning soon, we continued with the app coding.

    Soon, we had the site up (on the local server) ! We wanted the participants to have their first Rails project with them, and on the web ;) . Since many were unfamiliar with the Git process, we quickly had a Git session, and soon their application was on cloud, and so were they! ;)

    As the day ended, we had a cake party, and could see lots of happiness and joy in the faces! The girls walked back, with a sense of accomplishment! Yea, we did it!

    Thanks Vipin Sir, Anu, Archana, Soumjit, Sara, Linda, FOSS, Rails Girls Team, Participants and all those who made this event a huge success!

    Cheers,

    Aishwarya :)

     

  7. Summer of Code Final Spurt! Help us reach our goal!

    It’s the FINAL COUNTDOWN! As the end of the application process for Rails Girls Summer of Code is just around the corner (May 2nd), we thought we might update you on the status of the crowdfunding campaign. A wopping total of 65266 USD has been donated so far!

    … and as you can see we are about ⅔ on the road to support 20 students (10 teams) to work on a Open Source project of their choosing this Summer.

    Last week we received so much support and kind words from our community - we’re still blushing! The wonderful Ruby Rogues mentioned us in their podcast, and so did Scotty and John from ideveloper.co. Jen Myers (also one of our Trust Comittee members) talked about Rails Girls Summer of Code to Mike from UGTASTIC at RailsConf. Then we were mentioned as the ‘web tip’ of the week on fm4 (awesome radio station you should check out nevertheless) and… guess who was featured (twice!) in The Ruby Weekly?! Spoiler alert: it’s us! Plus, we love every single support tweet, especially when there’s a lot of hearts in them.

    tl;dr:

    So Join our supporters today and help us reach our goal!!!1!!1

    Reach out via Twitter, retweet tweets, ask your company to sponsor us and/or empty out your pockets ;)

    Thank you for helping out!

  8. Rails Girls Barranquilla →

    caribetic:

    Rails Girls llega a Barranquilla por primera vez!. Participa de un taller gratuito donde aprenderas a desarrollar aplicaciones web con Ruby on Rails. Inscripciones abiertas hasta el 1 de junio.

  9. The Welly community (at least the bit with whom I hang out) is wonderfully inclusive and welcoming and just generally excellent people. I’ve been keen to dabble in coding for years, but until moving to Wellington and stumbling across its open source community, I never took the plunge because I found the industry and many of the people in it cold and somewhat unwelcoming. I’m particularly impressed with the extent and genuineness of Wellington’s ‘social enterprise’ attitude - that something like RailsGirls can attract the coaches and sponsors it does speaks very highly of this town and everyone in it.

    — 

    Jess Ducey

    thejduce@thejduce

    (via railsgirlsnz)

  10. soundcloud:

Interview | Rails Grrls Summer of Code 
“Two women. One summer. Big-time coding dreams.“  Nicole and Laura are spending this summer as interns at SoundCloud, mentored by SoundCloud engineers. They’re here as participants in Rails Girls Summer of Code: an initiative focused on bringing more women into the world of open source.
We took a few minutes to chat about what inspired them to get into programming, what they’re working on with their SoundCloud mentors, and how being part of Rails Girls is helping them to gain access to new career opportunities.

    soundcloud:

    Interview | Rails Grrls Summer of Code 

    Two women. One summer. Big-time coding dreams.“  Nicole and Laura are spending this summer as interns at SoundCloud, mentored by SoundCloud engineers. They’re here as participants in Rails Girls Summer of Code: an initiative focused on bringing more women into the world of open source.

    We took a few minutes to chat about what inspired them to get into programming, what they’re working on with their SoundCloud mentors, and how being part of Rails Girls is helping them to gain access to new career opportunities.