Women's Web Development Workshop a Success

RailsBridge Tulsa Workshop Teaches 20 Women to Code

Techlahoma is proud to sponsor RailsBridge Tulsa's workshop, Intro to Web Development for Women. Wassim Metallaoui, organizer of RailsBridge Tulsa, chatted with Amanda Harlin, Techlahoma Co-Founder, about the event and its impact.

Attendees and Volunteers pose for a class photo

Attendees and Volunteers pose for a class photo

About RailsBridge Tulsa

20 women attended the free RailsBridge Tulsa workshop on Saturday, January 28, 2017, alongside 1 organizer and 10 volunteers. Attendees of all tech skill levels were welcomed to the event, as coding experience was not a prerequisite. "You don't have to have ever written a single line of code or even know about programming," said Wassim Metallaoui, RailsBridge Tulsa organizer, "you just need to be interested and driven to learn something new." 

 

In the one and half day workshop attendees learned beginning concepts of web application development using Ruby on Rails. Ruby on Rails is used by many companies such as Twitter, AirBnB, Hulu, KickStarter, and Groupon. "RailsBridge specifically started to help address inequality in STEM so the workshops are targeted towards an underrepresented group in technology." said Metallaoui. After the success of the first RailsBridge Tulsa in 2016, community leaders listened to Tulsans as they asked for more tech events for attendees who identify as women. "The first workshop we did had a lot of women signing up so I asked them if a women-only workshop would make them feel more comfortable about attending, and it was a unanimous yes." 

 

When asked about the cost of the workshop and additionally importance of free tech events, Wassim answered, "It’s absolutely important that we eliminate every single roadblock to attending."

Echoing Wassim's sentiment, Amanda Harlin added, "It's so important to have free tech events that allow people to explore computer programming without being financially penalized for wanting to learn. Techlahoma organizes and supports a lot of free events because it's the right thing to do for our community." 

"RailsBridge Tulsa, Nerdy Girls Code Club, scholarships to our national tech conferences, and 24 free events each month make a difference in the lives of students, moms, professional technologists and potential tech-workers. We've been doing this as volunteer organizers for over five years now, even before we started Techlahoma, because it was the right thing to do. Removing financial barriers, putting our content online for free, creating diverse and inclusive events, all of this work has changed people's lives."

Teaching at user groups, workshops, and conferences is a way to gain job skills and network while searching for jobs, but that isn't Techlahoma's only mission. Techlahoma advocated for 'Advancing Oklahoma's technology community', which to Amanda means helping people learn skills to thrive in a quick-paced technological world. "Attending these events and then mentoring newcomers can help folks land careers in Oklahoma's tech industry, but more importantly than that, these skills are empowering. Being tech-literate is a life-enriching skill."

 

Friday night students attended 'InstallFest', where they followed step-by-step instructions to download Ruby, Rails, and other important tools for programming on Mac, Windows, or Linux computers.

'InstallFest' was underway Friday Night

'InstallFest' was underway Friday Night

Saturday morning the attendees enjoyed healthy breakfast from local restaurants and began working on their web application. The class built a complete Ruby on Rails application that used tools software developers use every day. "It's a lot to accomplish in a single day and we're going to do it all together." said Metallaoui as he cheered on students in the workshops' introductory video.

 

Why do these Tulsans give their time to teach women how to code? "We want to help build our community of developers in the Tulsa market. Tulsa is a great place to live and we want the community to grow, to learn. We want it to diversify." said Wassim. "I mean, it sounds cheesy but your success is my success. When it comes to programming, the more we get together, the more we learn from each other, the more successful we all are. And that's really what this workshop is about, getting together and learning something new and having fun while we're doing it."

 

Feedback from the workshop attendees included that all would reccommend the workshop to someone else and other positive comments, listed below.

  • Wassim did a great job going through the curriculum in a way that was understandable and productive. The material was great too. Also A+ catering.
  • Class was well paced and thorough. I loved that there were female developers volunteering as well.
  • The instruction was terrific--better than some classes I've paid for. :-) Wassim is a great instructor. The "vibe" was also very positive, and I loved meeting so many other women interested in tech and hearing everyone's backgrounds and reasons for taking the class. 36 Degrees North is the perfect space for something like this, and the food (local!) was amazing. Seriously, I don't have enough superlatives for this experience.

  • Thank you for this class! It was a great intro to coding and I'm excited about learning more.

  • I love how fast it is to deploy an app!

 

The future of RailsBridge Tulsa is bright. Interested in helping make this event happen? Email Wassim to volunteer or find him in the Techlahoma Slack as @wassimk. Stay tuned to RailsBridgeTulsa.org and Techlahoma News for future workshop announcements.

RailsBridge wouldn’t be possible without the support of Techlahoma Foundation.
— Wassim Metallaoui

 

With the support of over 100 donors in 2016 Techlahoma was able cover 100% of RailsBridge Tulsa's workshop expenses at no cost to attendees. You can help Techlahoma continue to provide over 300 hours of free STEM training each year by making a charitable contribution at https://donate.techlahoma.org or by clicking the donate button below. 


Photos from the August 2016 RailsBridge Tulsa workshop below