What I took out of RubyConf AU

Gabriel Gizotti
February 26, 2014

Last week our team were lucky enough to attend the second Ruby Conference held in Australia. As a new comer to the Community over the last year and as the Community Manager here at reInteractive, I thought I’d share my take on what I got out of last week’s talks and events.

Speakers and Talks that Resonated with Me

Teach Your Way to Better Code by Felix Clack

Felix talked about how helping others learn will actually help you improve your own code. You don’t truly understand something until you can explain it simply and clearly to others. This is very true and something I think all professional developers and new developers alike can take from this. Go out and pair with others, your knowledge will grow exponentially just from talking about concepts with others.

Becoming a Software Engineer: Inspiring a New Generation of Developers by Kinsey Ann Durham

Kinsey Ann was truly inspiring, not only to a new developer like me, but to many proud passionate professional developers in the room. Like Kinsey Ann, I did an Advertising Major and had no development experience until I joined the team at reInteractive. I got introduced to Ruby and Rails by testing out the Installfest tutorials as they were being written. From there I have continued to learn and grow as I spend more and more time in the Community and our awesome team of Developers.

The Golden Age of the Internet by Pat Allan

While this was not the focus of Pat’s talk, what stuck with me was giving each and every person the opportunity and privilege to learn what so many of the developers at RubyConf already know. He talked about how the Community needs to truly diversify by looking outside the Ruby bubble, something many of us forget about in our very close and passionate Community.

Rescuing Ruby by Greg Brockman

Greg too spoke of the need to grow the Ruby Community. He spoke of the need to produce more tools to keep Ruby up to date and ahead of other languages to keep it alive. So, we need more developers to keep the language relevant and moving forward.

Why These Talks?

It seems a common theme in a lot of talks was community, keeping Ruby alive and giving new developers the opportunity to discover this awesome language.

While many speakers mentioned RailsBridge, Black Women Who Code and other awesome overseas programs, I think we need to do more to share and get involved in programs that are being run locally here in Australia, and get excited about how much value we are already adding to our Community.

I know that since I came into the Sydney Community almost a year ago, I was one of few females in the room at the Sydney Ruby meetup. It is awesome to see that there are many, many more females in the room now. This is thanks to programs like Rails Girls and the first ever Rails Girls Next, the accessibility of the RoRo Sydney meetup group, programs by General Assembly, our InstallFest, Development Hub and most importantly the welcoming Community.

I think it is important to look at how we can do things better and make this a more diverse and accessible Community, but we should also be excited about everything we have already done, and continue to do to grow this Community.

All of the events run by us here at reInteractive are absolutely free, making it accessible to absolutely anyone! I would know this because I speak to each and every person involved. We’ve had people in wheelchairs, single mothers, people traveling internationally, even children with their mothers come along to our events. We’ve even had an attendee bring along a desktop computer. We don’t make judgements on what technology you have available to you, in fact many of our helpful mentors have been happy to lend out their own personal laptops to give others the opportunity to learn.

It is clear that we are making a difference when I see how appreciative new comers to our Community are, we’ve received amazing feedback, and I am proud of all that we’ve done! I know we have changed many lives.

We’ve given developers the opportunity to mentor and learn more about their own code by teaching others and we’ve given new developers the opportunity to be exposed to some awesome educational material and more importantly to some amazing people who give their time to help.

Get move involved in your local Ruby Community and find out how you can make a difference!