The Rails for Girls initiative was originally launched by Linda Liukas and Karri Saarinen from Finland. In 2010, they organized the first event with the goal of explaining technology to women and girls. In the workshop, which usually lasts just one day, a presentation of the programming language Ruby-on-Rails is provided. With Ruby-on-Rails and the energetic support of the instructors, a web application is then developed, from the concept through to the specific code. At the same time, no age limits are set and no advance knowledge is required. The relaxed atmosphere and helpful instructors helped to alleviate the initial misgivings and encouraged the participants to “get stuck in”. It was in this setting that some of the participants discovered a hitherto unknown interest or even awakened a dormant talent.
inet at the Digital Girls Vorarlberg
In Vorarlberg, the AWS (Austria business service organization) and the Digital Initiatives for Vorarlberg hosted a Digital Girls Workshop that took its inspiration from the world-wide Rails for Girls events. The first event of this kind took place in Dornbirn at the Design-Forum Vorarlberg. Several beginners from the inet team (some of whom absolute beginners), responded to the invitation to design, prototype and program something: four inet colleagues from project management, support service, product management and human resources participated in the workshop.
IT knowledge is a must at inet
All of the employees at inet ideally have a skill set that covers the following three fields: Logistics, IT and specialist professional knowledge for example, in marketing, project management or hardware components. On joining us, however, most applicants only have expertise in two of the three fields at the most. At inet, depending on the post in question, we aim to ensure our employees develop at least a basic understanding for all three dimensions. In this way they are better placed to understand the requirements, contexts, customers and also their colleagues. “As a rule, men tend to have a better knowledge of IT when they join us, so we want to make special use of this offer for women. We not only hoped to create a certain level of basic understanding, we also hoped that it would fire up some curiosity… and maybe even the will to gain in-depth knowledge,” explains HR Manager Linda Moosbrugger.
Getting fired up for technology
A good example of someone whose interest has been fired up is our colleague Cornelia Winter, who is also now a member of the Digital Initiatives Vorarlberg. “Ruby is a good choice for a workshop of this kind because it is an easily readable programming language, which means it’s more fun for beginners. I come from the world of logistics and I’ve learned CSS, HTML and more on the basis of personal effort, and I’ve have been warmly welcomed as someone without programming knowledge. We will certainly be organizing more events for women next year. The meetings are great and it's always motivating to see that there are other people like me out there who are crazy about technology!”