The first Rails Girls event in Tampere was organized last Friday and Saturday in the roof top sauna of Technopolis, Kanslerinrinne. The number of applicants exceeded all expectations of our organizing team as 420 women applied for their first step into the wonderful world of programming.
The Rails Girls concept was developed in Finland in 2010, but eversince these workshops have been organized all over the world – 223 times and counting! The original idea has been to inspire and support women to learn programming as they have been a minority in IT. In addition, I think that this concept was a great way to show how the old stereotype of a programmer eating pizza and sipping cola in a dirty basement should be long gone. And what could have been a better way to welcome a new view than with 36 participants and 12 coaches, who worked voluntarily the two days as groups of 4 in the penthouse looking at the magnificent views over Tampere.
The Department of Pervasive Computing was unofficially but number-wise largely represented in the event as our newcomers Nora, Nyyti, and Sampo were coaching and helping out the participants in their efforts for programming their very first web applications. It seemed we did our job rather well as so many of the participants asked more and more instructions for developing their applications even when the open bar and sauna opened in the evening.
In addition to developing their first web applications with Ruby on Rails, the participants had the opportunity to listen to a few inspiring stories from women who have made their careers in IT. All in all, the event was a real success and hopefully this attitude of open-mindedness, enthusiasm, and working together is only increasing in IT.
PS. Aamulehti published a story about the event too (in Finnish).