Yesterday, we had our second Rails Girls workshop, the second one here in Manila.
During the first one, held last 2012, I helped out by giving the introduction talk, a primer for understanding Rails using the Bento box model. Yesterday, I just rehashed that talk and carried on with the workshop as well.
There were around 57 registrants wherein only ~30 came. We usually require an installfest session where all concerns for installing and setting up your machine for running Ruby on Rails will be addressed. Unfortunately, only less than 10 attended.
Last year, since I didn't do the coaching, I only noted some feedback from the attendees wherein everyone unanimously agreed that it was difficult to learn a new language alone, and that group learning and workshops like this really help them out a lot to jumpstart their knowledge. While the last one was successful, I didn't see enough questions asked, so this time, I vowed to make them feel comfortable enough to ask even the inane questions in their head.
Being a coach on stage, talking about these things that we do everyday and minced to the finest details is one of the most difficult things to do. To explain the every last drop of knowledge you have already tucked away at the new goal of pushing in more new knowledge as Ruby on Rails technology kept evolving. "Now, where to begin" was always my thought. "How can this idea be explained with ease and simplicity?"
Albeit the Rails Girls Guide was easy to follow, the biggest hurdle to surpass was the machine differences. Each one unique with its set of quirks. Oh, and I especially felt incapable of helping those running on Windows! And, my goodness, they were a lot of them! I believe this was the most challenging part for me. I did however, get by, with the help of some mentors who stayed for a bit (for free wifi and just for some hanging out with friends). That too was one big difference from the last Rails Girls (2012), where we had more mentors for the session.
It was really encouraging that much women are now becoming aware and wanting more involvement in the RoR community in Manila. Some were still students, while the others are mostly learning a new technology apart from what they use during their day jobs.
I hope that these women will start making their way slowly into RoR development and become more visible in the community. They make me feel really proud, and I'm congratulating them this early for taking the initiative to attend the workshop and really put some hardwork into learning Rails.
Thank you to those who helped with mentoring: Bryan, Ace, Terrence, Ed, and Dean; and the other volunteers for the event! Thank you to Devcon for making the best learning opportunities happen!