So in case you haven’t read any of my other posts on the topic, I’ve spent the last two months completing a work experience program with a Brisbane-based software development company Two Red Kites. I started the program not having any idea what to expect, and being really worried I didn’t know enough, but all my worries were completely unfounded. It has been the most supportive, challenging and motivating learning experience I can remember.  I thought I’d share some of my favourite aspects – coding related  and otherwise – of this recent chapter of my coding journey.

Starting with the Basics

Rails is an absolutely wonderful framework, and it does so much for you – as if by magic! The problem with this is it makes it much harder for beginners to understand what’s going on, and then to be able to change or fix things themselves. We spent the first half of our work experience getting a solid understanding of Ruby before we ventured into frameworks. Another great tip is to get comfortable with Sinatra before jumping into Rails – this helps with understanding routes and views before adding a lot of the added complexity that Rails brings.

Keen to have a look at Sinatra? Check out my tutorial on getting started here.

Co-Coding!

I was one of three women taking part in this work experience program, and we all had different backgrounds, areas of expertise and levels of experience with coding. This was my first time coding with other people, and having Lilly and Sarah around was amazing. We were able to support and challenge each other, and it was a huge help to have two other people going through the experience with me.

Getting Involved in the Community

The Ruby/Rails community is so wonderfully welcoming, but having those few extra connections from working at Two Red Kites really helped me feel at home. Since the start of the year I’ve attended a bunch of meet-ups (both with BrisRuby and in other areas of tech), given my first meet-up talk, spent a weekend in Darwin at RailsCamp and joined the RubyAU committee. I’m also planning to mentor at the Rails Girls workshop in a few months, and will be branching out by volunteering in the Global Operations Team for GovHack.

An Unbeatable Workplace

By far the best part of this whole experience was the team I got to be part of at Two Red Kites. Though the team is relatively small, they’ve got more personality, expertise and enthusiasm than can fit in the office – come to think of it maybe that’s why they work from home so often! They were never too busy to help with any problems we came across, or to help us fix any error messages we encountered. A huge thank you especially to Nigel who worked with us every day and always came up with a new challenge for us to work on.

And the highlight of highlights is that in less than two weeks I’ll be back, but this time I’ll be a full time intern! Can’t wait to see how much more I can learn over the next three months!