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Hello RailsBridge

Let's Do This Thing

"A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for. Sail out to sea and do new things." Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, programming pioneer

Here at RailsBridge Chicago, we believe that every gosh darn woman deserves a place to safely throw herself into a new endeavor and discover the potential she holds inside herself. We are here to be one of those places! Hi! We’re RailsBridge Chicago, we have a new blog, and we’d like to help you learn.

Some of you might be reading this wondering just what it is we do. We are a chapter of an organization called RailsBridge, which provides free Ruby on Rails workshops for women and their allies. RailsBridge had regular workshops in Chicago a few years back, but hadn’t thrown one since 2011. So in fall 2014, a few gals from the Ruby community launched a RailsBridge Chi reboot! We threw our first workshop in December at Brad’s Deals, and had around 85 women and allies come from all around the area (even the surrounding states!) to get their Rails on.

Since we’re getting to know each other, how about we answer some questions you might have!

What’s a RailsBridge workshop like?

Our workshops are two-day affairs. Friday evening, we wine and dine you (well, we give you pizza and soda and beer!) at our Installfest, where we help you get your laptops set up with all of the stuff you’ll need to get codin’. Saturday it’s time to make some Rails apps! We’ll break up into groups and go through both Ruby and Rails, and you’ll make you very own web applications. You also get breakfast and lunch on us! And at the end of the day, we celebrate our awesome new skills with an after party.

Expect to have fun! Programming doesn’t have to be all serious—we’re strong believers in bringing joy into what you do, and celebrating the diversity that we can bring to the programming community. We literally have a “Head of Pizzazz” for each workshop to ensure that we bring the day a little special somethin’.

So wait, do I need to already know how to code?

Nope! We accept ladies of all skill levels, from “I’ve never touched code in my life!” to “I just want to brush up on my Rails”. We’ll put you in groups with others who have similar experience so that you can all move at the right pace for you.

How often are you going to do these?

Right now, we’re aiming for three to four workshops a year. But we’ll definitely adjust it after we get a better feel for 1) how much of a demand there is, and 2) how much our organizers can handle!

How do I stay in the loop about your next events?

The easiest thing you can do is to join Bridge Troll as a part of the Chicago chapter. Bridge Troll is where we handle all of our RSVPs for our workshops, and you can choose to get notifications when new workshops are added. You can also join our Meetup group, which will also notify you when there are new workshops! However, please note that RSVPs are still only handled through Bridge Troll. We’ll also post all of our news on our Twitter!

We hope that we’ll see you at one of our next events, whether as a student or a volunteer! Until then, enjoy our RailsBridge blog—written with Jekyll, a Ruby gem that makes it really easy to build your own blogs and static sites, and hosted for free on GitHub! We used a customizable theme to get things lookin’ good without taking too much time away from the Very Important Task of putting together our next workshop. If you want to try Jekyll yourself, there are plenty of tutorials out there worth trying—here’s one to get you started!

Code on, ladies! See you soon!