Rails Girls Summer of Code has been over for a month already, but Shelly and Pilar aka Team Tessie, our RGSoC guests at sektor5, have really grown on us. So, we’ve checked in with them to get caught up on how Summer of Code has gone for them.
Here are the 7 questions we threw at them:
Shelly: For me, the best thing was getting to know so many new people and having the freedom to spend my time learning. When I was working full time in the kindergarten, it was so hard to allow myself time to sit down and focus on learning—I was always exhausted after work.
Pilar: I feel like I made a second family in Germany. I don’t just mean the Hoodies, I mean all the wonderful people I met at eurucamp, and again at OTSconf, and again at Euruko. I think, after this summer, I won’t be able to go to a conference and not know someone there.
Shelly: This was an entirely new way of working for me. With pretty much all of my previous jobs, my schedule was somewhat laid out for me. When doing summer of code, we had to work together to plan out the best schedule for us, and stick to it.
I like to think that I have gotten a good grasp of this by now though! The loss of the previous timetabled structure has forced me to evaluate and recognise when I am at my best for working, and when I’m probably better off going for a cup of tea rather than reading (and rereading) a tricky lump of code.
Pilar: I think it may be organisation! I like to think of myself as a fairly organised person. I’ve figured out how to organise my work and myself, and I never thought that working in a team would take my organisational system and throw it all in the air. I really struggled to learn how to deal with others’ schedules, needs, plans, demands, and make it all work for me. In the end though, I’m very happy about this challenge because I feel like it made me a better team member by the end of the summer.
Shelly: Even the seasoned software developers have the same difficulties as I do sometimes. There are so many languages and technologies out there that nobody is an expert in everything. Our supervisor Markus gave a talk at the last vienna.rb here in sektor5 and he made the point that two of the most important skills as a programmer are communication, and the openness to learn (including learning to look up what you need). This was an eye opening thing that I learned over the summer. Actual code-writing took far less time than I expected.
Pilar: Non-relational databases, say whaaaaaaaaaaat? No, wait, is it too late to say Object Oriented CSS?
Shelly: There was a point towards the end of the summer where the jigsaw pieces of what I had been learning suddenly started to all click together, forming a bigger picture. I can’t pinpoint an exact thing for you, but I definitely came in one day feeling like the training wheels were soon coming off and I was ready to fly the nest!
Pilar: Funnily enough, this wasn’t strictly RGSoC work but when I went to coach at a Rails Girls workshop for the fourth time—my first time since starting Summer of Code. I was unstoppable! I taught the material well, fixed all technical problems the students came across with ease, understood everything I was supposed to teach and more. This was the first time I felt worthy of the name “coach” and I’m certain it was thanks to the Summer of Code.
Shelly: Creative, generous, and wonderful!
Pilar: Supportive, engaging, amazing.
Shelly: I have been working on some Open Source projects (meetthepeople.in — watch out for it!), as well as doing some freelancing work. I’m also working on organising a conference here in Vienna next year May/June. All the things! 😀
Pilar: I’ve returned to uni and to the various odd jobs I did before the summer, with the addition of a very exciting freelance front end job. All the great experiences and wonderful wisdoms I learned from Rails Girls Summer of Code have really helped me in so many aspects—I’m proud of my code, but I’m also very willing to take criticism and advice. This in particular has made university courses so much easier for me, because everything clicks now!
Shelly: Without RGSoC, I would not have been able to completely change careers. I have learned so much and gotten so much valuable experience over the summer. I would recommend it to other women who have been learning to code, who want to make a career change, but need some more structured support in order to get there.
Pilar: WITHOUT A DOUBT. In a heartbeat! You learn so many things and grow in ways that you wouldn’t expect. It’s life changing, and I wish everyone would have the chance to take part in the program.
We’re happy that RGSoC was such a huge success for Team Tessie. We also really enjoyed having Shelly and Pilar around at sektor5. And I, personally, can say that their kindness, their cheerful company, as well as tea-making-skills are sorely missed. We’re always glad to have them back for the variety of Ruby meetups happening regularly at sektor5.