My experience with the Ruby Community

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Photo by Joshua Fuller on Unsplash

This year I’ve had the opportunity to attend two major Ruby events: Ruby for Good, and Ruby Conf, and as someone who recently transitioned to tech, I must say that I am extremely grateful to have started my tech career with the Ruby community. Ruby events are inclusive, friendly, and just have a positive vibe:). In this article, I’ll share my experience attending these events and why you should consider attending next year.

Ruby for Good

Ruby for Good is “an annual event based out of the DC-metro area where Ruby programmers from all over the globe get together for a long weekend to build projects that help our communities.” This year, the event was online and spanned over two weekends. I attended the event having just graduated a coding bootcamp and I must admit I was terrified because I didn’t know what to expect and I had never contributed to open source nor participated in a hackathon.

On the first Saturday, attendees had to choose a project to join, and I chose to work on the Diaperbase team. Diaperbase is an inventory management system for diaper banks. I joined the Zoom room and introduced myself, and was immediately relieved by the friendly conversations happening in the Zoom room.

All participants were divided into rotating pairs to pair program for the weekend. They matched junior developers with senior developers who were more than happy to teach us, newbies, the ropes of open source. I paired with three different developers over the event. They were all welcoming, understanding, and happy to share their knowledge. I even managed to get my first open source contribution and I will forever be grateful to the Ruby for Good community for helping me take the leap into open source.

For any new developers out there, I highly recommend you attend because you’ll realize how friendly the Ruby community is, and how much you can learn while contributing to an awesome project that will make a difference.

RubyConf

Fast forward two months and we’re at RubyConf, “the world’s largest and longest-running gathering of Ruby enthusiasts, practitioners, and companies.” RubyConf usually takes place at different locations every year but this year it was completely remote.

Since RubyConf is a conference and not a hackathon weekend like Ruby for Good, there isn’t any coding at RubyConf. Unless you count a game where over 80 of us tried to write a hello world method by silently typing at the same time. We failed miserably 😅. RubyConf is full of sessions for learning new concepts.

In between sessions, there were games and opportunities to meet Rubyists from all over the world. Yes, they’re all friendly, inclusive, and awesome. I had the pleasure of connecting with people from Europe, Canada, and Mexico. Conversations even spanned topics outside of code, for example in one of the conversations, we had a lengthy discussion about work culture differences between the US and Europe.

One of my most memorable moments from RubyConf was getting to virtually learn from Matz, Yukihiro Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby himself. He shared some news and future plans for Ruby. The news that excited most of us the most was his confirmation that Santa will be delivering Ruby 3.0 this year 💎 🎆.

Budget Tips

If you’re in the middle of transitioning careers like myself, budgeting is important. The good news is that both events have scholarships. You just need to plan ahead and apply early. This year, Ruby for Good took place in September and Ruby Conf in November. The best advice I can give you is to periodically visit the Ruby for Good and Ruby Conf websites to see when the scholarship applications open and apply as early as possible.

I paid $60 to attend Ruby for Good and given the learning and support I received throughout the event, It was definitely worth it.

I applied for a scholarship for Ruby Conf and I was fortunate enough to be awarded one. Scholarship recipients are matched with guides, experienced developers who’ve attended the conference before. Guides serve as a resource to help you plan and make the best of your experience at the conference. My guide was extremely helpful and we even pair programmed outside conference hours.

To recap, I don’t have much experience attending tech conferences and events but I am grateful to have started my tech career with the Ruby community and these two events in particular. The Ruby community is inclusive, friendly, and always willing to help. I hope you have the opportunity to attend one of these events in the future and experience it yourself 😃

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