Saturday, March 23, 2013
Sunday, March 10, 2013
Another Rails Girls Ljubljana workshop also meant another lecture on how the internet works and the basics of programming. The goal was to ease in the participants, this time mostly high school girls, into the practical workshop that consisted of creating a web app for collecting ideas in Rails. I was pretty happy with the first version of the lecture I did for our very first workshop that used a cute story about GitHub's Octocat, who loves sushi, but doesn't eat fish.
However, there were two majors issues we discovered by using the first version of the lecture at the workshop:
- TryRuby.org, an otherwise super cute website, didn't behave well during our workshop. With about 75 laptops on the same network, the site was painfully slow at moments, making it difficult for girls to keep up. Also, the order in which concepts are introduced in the tutorial is difficult for beginners (arrays make a surprisingly early appearance, for instance).
- Beginners were a bit confused during the practical part of the workshop about switching from Terminal and local files with code. The meaning of all those directories and files in their Rails project wasn't very clear.
Friday, March 08, 2013
It can be surprisingly easy to not notice things because "that's just the way it is". I have to admit I used to feel that way about the lack of women in tech. Just as a lot of women in the industry, I quickly started to think of myself as on of the guys and not even notice that I'm consistently a part of a minority at most tech events. In some ways, I was lucky that my mom was a geek even before that was a fashionable word and that I grew up without ever knowing computers were boys’ toys. But once you do start paying attention, it's impossible to turn the other way.
|Self-driving cars will be on our roads soon, so why is it that seeing a large group of girls in front of a computer science faculty is still an exception reserved for Rails Girls events?|
Thursday, March 07, 2013
While I was looking forward to the trip, I didn't really have a clear idea on what to expect. There was some strange paperwork I had to fill in, some very formal documents sent around that say a lot and yet nothing at all at the same time. It started to look a bit better when they created a Twitter list of YAG members. I admit I also felt a bit intimidated by some pretty impressive CVs from my fellow group members. What do I possibly have to offer? I don't even pay as much attention to politics as I should, because I get frustrated about the endless talking and too little meaningful action. Discussing important issues is all well and good, but if you don't follow it up with concrete actions, it's just a nice hobby suitable for lazy Summer evening on a terrace, with a glass of fine wine in your hand. I know, I know, big political decisions are hard and should not be made lightly. But hard doesn't mean impossible.
I found myself in a bit of an awkward situation when I had to explain to my friends why I would be flying to Brussels this week. Sure, I knew the official answer. I have been selected as one of the 25 members of the "Young Advisors Expert Group on implementation of the Digital Agenda for Europe" (yeah, I had to copy-paste that). I suppose it looks nice on my CV. And I will be visiting the capital of the European Union for the first time.
My first YAG meetingMost doubts I had quickly disappeared once I actually met the other members of the YAG group, some members of DG Connect and (my new hero) Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda. We kicked off the meeting by touching upon some common concerns, such as obstacles faced by startups, the inefficiency of our school to prepare kids for a digital future (and present), the lack of a single digital market and so on. But, also encouraged by Paul André Baran, the Romanian Digital Champion, we quickly agreed that we shouldn't spend too much time complaining about things we all know to be wrong, but rather switch to proposing solutions. Of course, there's not much actual power you have as an external advisor. But we can bring a fresh perspective to the table, one not yet spoiled by the bubble of big institutions.
|Photo by Jordan Hatch|