Rails Girls is global, non-profit volunteer community which hosts one-day workshops all over the world for women to learn Ruby on Rails, having the aim to “give tools and a community for women to understand technology and to build their ideas.” When we at STYLIGHT found out about the Rails Girls event taking place dahoam in Munich, we felt immediately compelled to get involved, as it goes perfectly hand in hand with STYLIGHT’s vision to support the millennial woman and our values as an engineering company focused on diversity; therefore, we became sponsors for this great event, and in addition to supplying customized STYLIGHT “Hallo World!” goodie bags and STYLIGHT cake pops, we supported as coaches and as attendees.
My fellow STYLIGHT techie María and I decided to be coaches at Rails Girls, and we had five ambitious STYLIGHTers from the HR, PR, and QA departments who joined as eager-to-learn participants! Additionally, after finding out about STYLIGHT’s focus on engineering and that we had quite a few women in our IT department, the organizer asked that one of us present at the workshop about our experiences as women in tech.
By 9am(!) Saturday morning, all the Rails Girls attendees, from high school girls to women in their thirties and forties, had arrived at the Wayra office in Munich, and with their STYLIGHT goodie bags in hand, munched on some Brezn and installed Ruby on Rails on their laptops. After introductions and some beginner exploratory exercises, the girls were split into groups and coaches were assigned. Later in the morning, the coaches helped guide the girls through the beginning of the Rails Girls App Tutorial and answered their many insightful questions along the way! By lunch many of the girls had already made good progress on the tutorial and were beginning to branch out with their own ideas.
During the lightning talks I was able to speak to the girls about my own late transition into computer science halfway through university and how my experiences had ultimately led me to STYLIGHT. I was also able to share with them what a day in the life of a STYLIGHT software developer is like and why at the end of the day, I can proudly say I love my job.
María and I held a short Q&A afterwards, and we were so happy to have had girls and other coaches coming up to us throughout the rest of the day to ask us more about our general experiences in engineering as women and also more specific questions about our jobs at STYLIGHT. It was awesome to help the girls finish up their apps: many of them even got their apps deployed online– amazing to think girls with no prior programming experience could make their own live website in one short day!
The conclusion of the workshop involved the presentations of the finished apps and an after party where the girls got to enjoy champagne and STYLIGHT cake pops!
We at STYLIGHT were so proud to be involved in the success of the Rails Girls Munich workshop. We feel so lucky as employees to have such supportive mentorship at STYLIGHT, and we were humbled to have had the opportunity to give back to the community. It was an inspiration to meet so many amazing and ambitious women and other female developers in companies based in Munich, and we are furthermore encouraged that events like these do so much to inspire women into pursuing careers often seen as inaccessible or traditionally male-dominated. Just think about the fact that in the US the percentage of computing jobs held by women has actually fallen over the past 23 years, according to a new study of the American Association of University Women: in 2013, in fact, just 26 percent of computing jobs were held by women.
That’s something we at STYLIGHT are definitely working on! And maybe we’ll even see some of the girls who joined the event as developers at STYLIGHT in the next few years!
In the meantime, we still have many open engineering positions. Know any ladies up for the challenge?