It’s July, summer has begun – it’s even hot as hell outside –, and it’s time to welcome Team Tessie to sektor5. Team Tessie is our resident Rails Girls Summer of Code team and consists of Pilar Huidobro and Shelly Coen (whom sektor5 regulars might know from the front desk team). The two teammates, who were introduced by our very own Floor Drees, have both showed interest in coding when they were younger but never really felt encouraged enough to venture into the field. This has obviously changed by now.
“I was always technical when I was younger,” says Shelly, who hails from Ireland, “I liked to fix things and was good with computers, but never really pursued it because I was bad at math. But then, last year, I started to learn Python. I was learning on my own off online tutorials for a few months until I attended a Ruby on Rails workshop. I understood very quickly that it is a lot easier to learn if you have support from a community.”
Pilar, who is of Chilean descent and grew up all over the world, started coding young. As a kid she was into virtual pet games and taught herself HTML in order to make websites for her virtual pets. Eventually, she even helped others in that community set up websites for their own pets. But despite being good at computers at school, where she created her own games in Java, she was discouraged by her teachers.
“I caught flak from professors,” Pilar says, ”they’d say to me, ‘why can’t you just do what you’re told, why do you always have to go beyond?’” She was also into genetics, so, after she graduated, she started studying Biology.
“Then my brother ruined my life by taking me to DevFest – to this magical cupcake of people sharing and teaching and encouraging each other. Everyone was so open that I fell in love with it all over again.” A short time later Pilar switched over to Media Informatics, after she saw Floor give a lightning talk about Summer of Code at a conference. It seems to have been quite the deciding factor for Pilar, who describes it like this: “There were mostly guys at the conference, and Floor was like this wonder woman swooping in.”
Though Shelly and Pilar were introduced to each other specifically to apply for SoC together, you can tell they’ve hit it off.
“We were talking about sea monsters”, says Shelly, “and it was a toss up between Team Tessie (a character from the video game Earthbound) or Team Kelpies. We decided against Kelpies because we didn’t want to be associated with liver eating monsters, and Tessie would look much better in a hoodie – which is our project.”
The two are going to spend the next three months working on Hood.ie, an open source tool for frontend developers. They will start off by making a showcase app to show people what Hood.ie does and then continue to work on database migration and other open issues.
Their mentors will be Jan Lenhardt and Ola Gasidlo from Hood.ie. Team Tessie’s coaching team consist of six people who’ve all volunteered to teach them and help them with the project.
Both Pilar and Shelly say they’re hoping that Summer of Code will help them find their place in programming and let them gain the confidence to feel like they can do this. So, for the next three months you can find Team Tessie at their very own desk at sektor5 – of course, you can also follow their progress on Twitter and keep up with the general RGSoC happenings. And we’ll definitely check back in with Team Tessie down the road to see how they’re doing.