Rails Girls, Pune, 2014

Rails Girls, Pune was conducted on December 13,  2014 at ThoughtWorks, Pune. The event kicked of at 8:00 am which was too early on a chilly winter day. The introductions/ keynote by Gautam Rege, Rajshree and Pooja covered a brief introduction to Ruby, Ruby on Rails and of course the event ‘Rails Girls’. After that there was a video where the ThoughtWorkers had taken an extra effort to enact and let the attendees decide their track- Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced . Though the video was enacted well by TW folks but IMO, it did not serve the purpose rather confused some attendees whereas last year, there were random groups being formed while I was an attendee then and this time a volunteer. Volunteers helped the attendees to decide groups, installations and setup to get started as it was going to be a hands on workshop the whole day. Though there were arrangements for breakfast but only few girls could take it because of the early schedule and they walking in late. So, the agenda of the day was to introduce the participants to Ruby, Ruby on Rails and help them build a small web application by the end of day, so that they see something substantial and feel proud about what they did throughout the day.

We were all set to start, the attendees have grabbed their round tables. Each group of 4-6 girls(mostly) was accompanied by a pair of coaches where a beginner coach was paired up with an advanced coach. After everyone settled in their groups, the coaches introduced ruby as a programming language to the group. Some of them asked the attendees to use tryruby.org while others used irb(Interactive Ruby Shell). It was good to know that people who have been using C, Java till now were happy to meet Ruby and found it magical. So there was a brief introduction to rails as going forward, the attendees were expected to make a rails application and show case at the end of the day. At 11:30 am there was a talk by a team from Team Vision where they spoke how they understand and code without being able to see. The talk was inspiring as well as motivational, people who cannot see are able to code then what is stopping others from doing that. After that, there was a small activity named Bentobox where attendees were given stickies and a list of technology name and asked to put them in the right section so that they can have a better understanding of Front end technologies, Storage, infrastructure and others. After this 15 minutes activity, the coaches briefly explained the Bentobox to their respective groups. IMG_20141213_114515The Bentobox activity was followed by lunch after which there was a stress busting Origami  session. It was taken by a retired lady teacher with a passion for Origami. To split the girls into groups of six, everyone was asked to stand in a circle and then pick up chits which had some keyword written on it. Now, each one was supposed to find others with the same chit and form groups of 6. Here we were checking in reality how much noise could the girls make while yelling out for theirs partners. Being a volunteer, I stood beside and enjoyed the view 😀  After everyone was successfully in groups of 6, now we started with some paper folding and each piece was to be added to make a colorful cube, which was again an encouraging group activity.
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After this stress busting activity, everyone was back to work and started working on their apps. Now there was more focus on Rails and building the apps. All the coaches discussed with their groups regarding which web application they would like to make. All the web applications were basically a CRUD(Create, Read, Update, Delete) but with a different wrapper to it. Those who could complete their apps on time, deployed on heroku while there were some who faced problems in deploying to Heroku. Later, was the showcase time where people came down to demo their application and share their experiences. Some of the attendees looked very happy and proud of what they have done since morning. People had take away which was a proud moment for all the coaches who did the hard work the whole day imparting knowledge to a bunch of people. One of the interesting apps a participant made was Boyfriend Expense Management App. Next, there was cake cutting ceremony and a closing keynote. T-shirts were distributed at the end of the day, those who left early missed the yummy cake and t-shirt and hence another Rails Girls, Pune came to an end for the participants but not for volunteers/coaches/organizers. A meeting was scheduled for feedback which was very organised I felt but too time consuming. We looked at what went well through out the day, what we could improve and what was different from the last time. From being a participant last year to a volunteer this year, I could see that there were less interactions among girls this time, mainly the ice-breaker was missing. The event was a success in all. The day ended with a team dinner and a bit more interactions with people from the organizing team. You can check out the Rails Girls video here which summarizes the event well 😉 .

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Rails Girls + vodQA at ThoughtWorks, Pune

Knowledge should be for all, not just for the few. ThoughtWorks believes in sharing and invites you to events like Rails Girls, vodQA and more. If one finds an interesting upcoming event to be held at ThoughtWorks, Pune, I feel one should not miss the chance to be there for a day. The events conducted by them are fun-filled and knowledge-sharing, wouldn’t you like to have fun while sharing knowledge? The work area at ThoughtWorks adds to everything that happens throughout the day. Thought Workers call the place as their second home. The environment is simply awesome for events such as Rails Girls and vodQA, the two events which I attended till now.

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Rails Girls, Pune (on August 24, 2013) was my first time to ThoughtWorks and was an amazing day midst a number of girls at some tech event. This event invites a maximum number of female participants as the name itself calls. This was a one-day workshop where you could dive into the magical world of Ruby on Rails. Registrations, breakfast and the keynote went well. All the attendees were supposed to occupy their table(with seats around) according to the number card that was handed over at the time of registration. There were around 8-10 participants on one table and 2-3 mentors which made a good rails girl: mentor ratio. Then there was an introductory session by the mentor which included introduction and installations. Then arises a common question “How do I start learning ruby quickly?” and here we have the obvious answer “Try tryruby.org!”. And there you go learning ruby. This was followed by work sessions throughout the day where one had to create an application and showcase the same at the end of the day. The lightening talks were again a part of the day and interesting. Not to forget, the food at lunch and cup cakes at snack time were really good. Chicken Dance was the most entertaining and happy time of the day. Now arrives the time to showcase your application, I had a thought and made a rails application “Thoughts at Thought works” which was supposed to be a portal for putting up your thoughts along with your name and a relevant picture. One of the reasons that many liked my application was that I highlighted a message from one of the lightening talks which said:

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The pictorial representation of the thought left an impression and the session ended pretty well. It was an amazing day networking with many people and gaining knowledge about Ruby on Rails. As I mentioned earlier as well, a fun-filled knowledge-sharing weekend it was 😉

The second time I happened to visit ThoughtWorks was for vodQA(on October 19,2013) which was an event especially for QAs. The keynote synced well with the theme “Faster| Smarter| Reliable“. The event was well organized with three parallel tracks scheduled for 30-minute talks, lightning talks, workshops and Open Spaces. The icebreaker game was interesting which made each one interact with others. I really liked the vodQA t-shirts but they were for organizers and speakers less the participants 😦 . I attended a few talks which covered various aspects of testing  but was more busy socializing with people around. Nevertheless the talks(referring to the title of talk) were drawing more of attention. One of the interesting statement from a lightening talk was “There is nothing absolute in this world apart from Absolut Vodka”.

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One thing which I noticed was that Thought Workers along with doing a lot of pair programming at work, they paired up for their talks as well. Also, most of the speakers were fond of the Test Pyramid. The Open Spaces concept was another good idea which was open to all for an open discussion on the topic of their choice. And again, lightening talks were interesting. Ah, coming to the feedback part, ThoughtWorks really worked out well in keeping both the electronic as well as the paper mode feedback systems. The anchors did not miss a chance to ask all the attendees for feedback. Somewhere the credit goes to the anchors as well in conducting the event well. The day ended with some more networking.. 😉 and it was pleasing to know that people remembered me from Rails Girls event. I simply loved both the events at ThoughtWorks and looking forward to more 🙂