Women and Ruby and Rails, Oh My!

Code. /kōd/ verb: to write a set of instructions for a computer program

Almost everything we use in our happy little 21st century lives can be linked to coding. Computer programmers, often called “coders,” use different computer languages to build websites, apps, software, gadgets, etc.

But to the average Joe like you and me, coding is a mystery. We see it as an occupation reserved for “smart people” like the cast of the Big Bang Theory. We would never picture ourselves as part of that world (heck, we can barely upgrade our iPhones half the time).

36°N member and Rails Bridge Instructor  Wassim Metallaoui teaching his new students

36°N member and Rails Bridge Instructor  Wassim Metallaoui teaching his new students

But maybe we should picture ourselves in the coding world. Right now, there are over a million tech jobs available in the United States, with salaries starting at $80,000/year (now we have your attention, right?). But the big problem is breaking into the industry without a background in computer science. Up until this point, we’ve been disconnected. We’ve all been like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, being told to “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.”

Well now, one organization is working to push back that curtain and make coding careers more accessible- especially for those who are under-represented in the tech world.

The group is called RailsBridge, and it’s designed for people with zero coding experience. Here’s how they explain themselves:

“RailsBridge workshops are a free and fun way to get started or level up with Rails, Ruby, and other web technologies. Our events focus on increasing diversity in tech, so that people of all backgrounds can feel welcome and comfortable in our industry.”

If words like “Rails” (a computer framework) and “Ruby” (a computer language) confuse you, you’re not alone. The people who go through the Rails Bridge program don’t really understand them initially either.

When 36°N member Wassim Metallaoui heard about RailsBridge, he knew he had to bring it to Tulsa. So he recruited some help, and last month, they hosted their first weekend workshop for ten women who knew little to nothing about coding before they began. With the help of five volunteers, these ladies took their first step towards a potential new career.

Tulsa RailsBridge plans to hold a workshop once a quarter for anyone and everyone interested in getting their feet wet in the coding world. The next one will be in January 27-28, 2017.

Tulsa's first Rails Bridge class meeting at 36 Degrees North

Tulsa's first Rails Bridge class meeting at 36 Degrees North

Till then, check out these different monthly meetups to meet coders of all skill levels and get a little exposure to the growing industry: