After The Event: How To Continue With Programming
Created and edited for general use by Daniel Puglisi, @danielpuglisi.
Unfortunately (!) the event is already over and I’ve written this blog post to help you find the best way to keep going with learning on how to program!
There are 4 steps which I’ve come up with and I encourage you to really take them to your heart and do them.
Originally this article was planned as a talk for the end of the Rails Girls Basel event but the girls were so focused on coding that we just didn’t wanted to interrupt them. :)
So here it goes:
1. Keep on Coding
Mastering a craft requires constant repeating and perseverance. This also applies to programming. I encourage you to repeat the Rails Girls tutorial which we did at the event and try to play around with it some more.
After that here are some free and paid resources which will help you to take things to the next level:
- Rails for Zombies - A Rails Screencast which was created by Codeschool. Its free and Codeschool provides also a series of paid Ruby and Rails courses which are awesome. You should really try them!
- Rails Tutorial - A awesome book which has a free HTML version and a paid print version. The book provides you with a lot of great material which we couldn’t cover at the Rails Girls workshop.
Screencasts & Videos
- Railscasts - Short and simple screencasts about Rails by Ryan Bates. Note: Ryan is giving away 3 month RailsCasts pro subscription coupons to all Rails Girls attendees for free. If you haven’t received one at the Rails Girls event you attended, ask your event organizer to send an email to Ed Drain. He will send the coupons to your event organizer.
- Confreaks - Talks from conferences all over the world.
- Peepcode - Paid Screencasts by Geoffrey Grosenbach.
- Richard Schneems Screencast
- Thoughtbot Trail-Map - Guides to different topics.
- Ruby on Rails Tutorial: Learn From Scratch - Explanations and definitions to different parts of Rails.
If you have any other good resources, hit me so I can put them into the list.
2. Build something real
Build something real means you should try to create something which is actually needed in the end. The hardest part will be to find a real project. If you have no idea, try to think of something that really upsets you. Do you have to use something in your daily life that pisses you off? Write an application for it and try to solve that pain. This way you will be more motivated than by just following tutorials.
And don’t forget to show your application to your friends and the world. Ask for feedback and keep on learning.
If you still have trouble finding something you can work on I have an idea for you: Build a Rails Girls website for your country or city. In Switzerland we encourage the girls to work on our swiss wide Rails Girls website: railsgirls.ch.
3. Get in touch
Its always easier when you have someone you can ask. With this in mind, go out and find someone who you can talk to. Now is the best time for it, because you just got to know a lot of like minded people which have more or less the same level as you. There are a lot of ways to communicate nowadays, e.g. host a local meetup group, use Google Talk, create Facebook Groups or write a good ol’ letter :)
From my experience, knowing some people who have the same interests as you is one of the most important parts. Try to convince people, that programming is fun. If you have a brother or a sister, show them what you’ve learned. Or show it to your parents, children or friends. Just try to build a circle of people with the same interest in programming and technology.
Also try to find something like a mentor. Programming can be really intimidating sometimes, so it can help to know someone which has more experience and can help you with your problems. For example: ask someone of the Coaches who attended at the Event.
If you don’t have the time to host your own meetup group, thats ok. There are already a few groups which you can join:
- Ruvetia - Ruvetia is a meetup (or drinkup) where we will come together every now and then and just socialize. This meetup is not about content, its about getting to know the people in the community. Every meetup is in a different city so check out the Ruvetia website from time to time where the next meetup will take place.
- Railshöck - A Rails meetup in Zurich
- Geneva Ruby Brigade - Ruby group based in Geneva
- RoRganize.it - Ruby groups app to find existing groups, especially in Germany
This list is Switzerland related and only used as an example, ask the organizers and coaches of your event for a list of local groups and meetups.
One of the girls at the Rails Girls Basel event (thanks Helena!) had the great idea that we could put up a list with all the attendees, coaches and organizers of the event. We created this list and its on Github now, check it out here. Feel free to fork the repository and adjust it to the needs of your Rails Girls event.
Try to setup such a list for your event too, this way its a lot easier to stay in contact with everyone than just with the people who sat around the same table as you did. If you don’t know how, ask someone of the organizers of the event if she or he could do it.
4. Have fun
Last but not least, have fun. If you don’t enjoy programming it is probably not the right thing for you. But thats the same story for every profession or hobby. Not only for technology related topics. But if you just read this I think you are perfectly made for programming, otherwise you wouldn’t be here in the first place ;)
So, if you liked the workshop and the event - you’re in the right spot.
If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to ask. You can do this via Twitter or email. Ask the organizers and coaches of your event for their email addresses and if they would like to help you.
Thats it, keep on coding and let’s build the future!