The software engineering team at Simply Business collaborated with Rails Girls to provide a free coding workshop for aspiring women in tech to discover the exciting world of web development in Ruby on Rails.
The Simply Business Rails Girls event saw our software engineers join up with 120 Rails Girls coaches to collaborate on a one-day workshop to introduce students to programming in Ruby on Rails. Over 200 Rails Girls students were guided through the basics of programming and how to create real web applications, in what was a relaxed and fun day of programming, sketching and prototyping.
The warm-up to the Rails Girls workshop began with the welcome and installation party, hosted by Simply Business. With so many students attempting to install Ruby on Rails at the same time, our WiFi was definitely working overtime, but with much patience - all students were prepped and ready for the following day of coding, and to enjoy a fun evening.
The evening party was an occasion nobody wanted to miss - filled with pizza, drinks and our very own Simply Business DJ! For everyone at the event, it was the perfect opportunity to network with other guests and get to know the students and coaches.
A bright and early Saturday morning marked the start of the one-day workshop for the team at Simply Business, the Rails Girls organisers and students. We kicked off the day with a light breakfast and coffee; with all those students learning to code, our coaches needed an endless supply of croissants to fuel those brain cells!
The aim was to give students a good introduction to programming in Ruby on Rails. At Simply Business, we didn’t have any expectations from anyone; the workshop was all about the students and their learning.
Mid-morning began with presentations from the team at Rails Girls. Next up was the sponsors' talks as they gave their pitches about their companies. Our Head of Engineering, Angus Mark, introduced Simply Business, our technology and the importance of diversity in the workplace. Angus' presentation was clearly insightful to many of our guests, as we had many questions about Simply Business Tech throughout the day, with people wanting to understand more about what we're about.
Finally, it was time to get coding!
The Simply Business team split everyone into pairs and assigned coaches before the start of the hands-on workshop. The coaches began by introducing students to Ruby on Rails, using practical exercises to kick-start each student’s first-ever web application on Rails, all supported by expert guidance from Simply Business coaches.
During lunch, we had some insightful Lightning Talks from our coaches, who presented on their experience and involvement in software engineering. The Rails Girls team had worked hard to ensure that we had a great mix of people, with a variety of knowledge and expertise. Not only did we hear from experienced software engineers, but we also had some exciting talks from junior engineers.
In the afternoon, students built on the foundations of what they’d created in the morning and built additional features to extend their websites. The organisers of Rails Girls and Simply Business Tech felt that the time should be dedicated to allow students to learn how to code, and to build their app in the way they wanted it to be. This was the most rewarding part of the day - watching students build what they'd learnt and to see their knowledge come together to create something really exciting.
By early evening it was time to start wrapping up after a long day of coding. Simply Business Tech spent the rest of the day networking with guests, getting to know everyone a bit more and celebrating a really successful day!
At Simply Business, we recognise that everybody has something amazing to contribute and want to support everyone who works with us, of all genders, to be themselves.
Gender equality is an integral part of our culture and our business strategy. We know that having a diverse workforce creates a more fulfilling and engaging working environment, allows us to relate to our customers more effectively, and makes us more successful as an organisation. We actively embrace this by reflecting different perspectives, thinking and values in everything we do. We have a number of gender-focused initiatives that aim to promote equality across the organisation. In our tech department, this is no exception.
I felt very privileged to organise and experience this all-women tech event. It was the perfect introduction to coding and other tech opportunities. As a business, we hope that everyone who attended the Simply Business Rails Girls event now has a new outlook on computer science and that it's opened up a wide range of opportunities that the tech industry can provide.
Want to know more about our story of Rails Girls at Simply Business? Head to our Facebook page to view images from the event and watch the story unfold. See what our women in tech at Simply Business have to say: https://sbtech.simplybusiness.co.uk/women-in-tech/.
Simply Business hosts regular technology events and MeetUps for the tech community. Find out more at SB Tech.
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