Attending the Ruby Conference in Portugal

Posted on by Thea Amanda Kupler, Marie-Luise Kochsiek, Mayar Alaa and Nada Ashraf

Chasing the Sun

During the Rails Girls Summer of Code we obviously spent most of the time, when the sun was shining, inside and in front of the screen. We tried to have as many meetings as possible outside in the sun, but often rescued ourselves again into the cool and shady office to actually see something on the screen or to not melt away. To still be filled up with enough Vitamin D, having the hard Berlin Winter ahead of us, it was great news when we got the approval to join the Ruby Conference in Portugal. Having had all the Rails Girls Summer of Code Support the last weeks and months we already experienced to grow into challenges. Having the “Why Not?”-Mindset additional to this, it was no surprise that not only our team, but also the other Rails Girls Summer of Code Team from Egypt, Ruby’s Secret, wanted to take the challenge of talking on stage on the conference. We got the possibility to have together 40 minutes on stage!

RubyConfPt Schedule: LoadtoCode & Ruby's Secret Ruby Conference Portugal Schedule: LoadtoCode & Ruby's Secret! (Image: Screenshot of RubyConfPt Schedule )

Rails Girls Summer of Code: Falling into Rabbit Holes

Rabbit Hole Tweet Wise words about falling into Rabbit Holes as a Coding-Newbie! (Image: Screenshot of Tweet by @iam_preethi )

The topic we chose for our talk was “Falling into Rabbit Holes”, because this seemed the quintessence of the whole Rails Girls Summer of Code experience. Thea, being a part of LoadtoCode and Mayar, being a part of Ruby’s Secret shared their individual Rails Girls Summer of Code experience with the audience. For a wrap up the other team members had their personal shoutouts: Marie from LoadtoCode, made clear that, now being in the process of changing careers and becoming a programmer, she is not automatically a person with superpowers and remembering everyone of the fact that everybody can learn it and this message should be spread instead. Nada from Ruby’s Secret was presenting really big goals, for example to have 100 female coders in Cairo within 1 year - support this mission with mentioning #1year100women! As this goal wouldn’t have been big enough already she also invited everyone to a Ruby Conference happening in Egypt in 2017. One goal the team from Egypt already achieved though and this is to have the travel expenses to Portugal funded by the crowd - check out the awesome video they made to ask for support!

RGSoC On Stage The Rails Girls Summer of Code Women on Stage at the Ruby Conference in Portugal (Image: Picture taken by RubyConf Portugal )

The People behind the Conference, mainly being part of subvisual, were very welcoming and caring - we were even invited to a super delicious dinner for the speakers, where we were lucky enough to share the table with awesome people like Martin Fowler, Hiro Asari, Pat Allan and Tobias Pfeiffer. The Ruby’s Secret Team even got a Selfie with Aaron Patterson.

The most interesting thing about the conference that we strongly felt is “Diversity”. We met so many people from different countries, with different cultures as well as backgrounds and speaking different languages but having one thing in common which is programming.

Thank you!

We are super grateful for this opportunity and experience. It was awesome to realize how big the Rails Girls Summer of Code community really is, because a lot of people at the Ruby Conference in Portugal participated in some way in the past, and to also have had the support and patience by the rest of the audience.

RGSoC generation-wide Four generations of Rails Girls Summer of Code in one photo! (Image: Tweet by RailsGirlsSoC)

What more to say? Stay tuned, since the LoadtoCode Team will be hitting to the GoTo Conference in Berlin and also write about that experience as well.

Team MitPal - Connect Tech 2016

Posted on by Sherri

Summing up Rails Girls Summer of Code (RGSOC) is not a simple task. True. RGSOC was an opportunity to work on an open source project, but the experience was so much more than that. After 3 months of working together on our project, Open Source Event Management System (OSEM), we had developed our own team vibe. We had our routine down pat. We spent our mornings working through our latest issue. We ate our lunches together outside followed by a walk around the block. These times became as important as our time coding. That was our time to talk about our lives, our interests, experiences, and sometimes fears. We learned a lot about working with Ruby, but we learned even more about ourselves as we worked on our project. Ups, downs, joy, laughter (lots of laughter), learning, frustration, and accomplishment. We went through it all. Together. That was one of the best parts.

Anitha and I (Sherri) are Team MitPal. We are two geeky women who decided to change careers. We had the support of two awesome coaches, Pamela Vickers and Pete Holiday. Their help was invaluable. They guided us when we needed to be guided, nudged us when appropriate, and pushed us when necessary.

Our project mentor, Henne Vogelsang, helped us navigate our project and plan our work. We appreciate his patience, insight, and imput.

Shelly Coen, our supervisor. We hit the supervisor jackpot! Whether it was our weekly calls, Slack conversations, or emails, Shelly was there guiding us and checking in on us. Shelly is a rockstar!

So What Did We Do This Summer, You Ask…

We worked on OSEM, an An event management tool tailored to Free and Open Source Software conferences. The OSEM codebase is pretty large, so we had to spend some time ramping up. We worked to set up our environment (Vagrant, Virtual Box, We spent time learning about the application, the technologies used, and looking at the open issues. Our mentor and coaches helped us a lot with this part. Once we figured out which issues we would work on, our coaches helped us break down each issue and decide how to approach it.

We did quite a bit of TDD using RSPEC, which was great experience for us. Some of the work we did summer included integrating a Twitter feed into the app, updating views, and meta tags.

We Attended Connect.Tech

Team MitPal attended the Connect.Tech conference here in Atlanta. A few weeks have passed since the end of RGSOC, and Anitha and I have been having a bit of separation anxiety. So it was great to see each other again. When we arrived, the venue was already busy with folks from all over. We stopped by the registration desk to pick up our I.D. and t-shirt, and then we were off. As we moved through our days, we often talked about how conferences can be a little overwhelming. We put together a few tips that we think may help those that are new to the world of technical conferences.

Plan ahead

Team MitpalConnect.Tech Conference Check In (Image: Team MitPal 2016)

Check out the conference schedule ahead of time and decide which sessions you want to attend. If you are attending with another person, discuss which sessions you have chosen and if you are not going to all of the same talks plan where you will meet afterwards.

Plan for Swag.

Companies come to conferences with lots of stuff to give, and before you know it your bag will be full. So a good rule of thumb is to pack lightly. Don’t bring a lot of extra stuff with you. It’s just more to carry at the end of the day.

Team MitpalConnect.Tech Conference Sponsors (Image: Team MitPal 2016)

Don’t Miss the Keynote

Team MitpalConnect.Tech Conference Keynote (Image: Team MitPal 2016)

Although you may be tempted to sleep in, resist the urge and attend the keynote talks. YOu’ll find some really interesting speakers and divers subjects are covered during the keynotes. It’s also a good time to meet some new people.

Speaking of new people…

Talk to people. Make some new friends.

If you’re like me, you hate the word “Network”. Trying to “Network” just makes me feel awkward. Focus on talking to new people and connecting. Two of the speakers at this Connect.Tech this year were people that I had met at previous conferences. They are really smart and amazing people, and their talks were very imformative.

Team MitpalErica Stanely Speaking about Web-Based Virtual Reality (Image: Team MitPal 2016)

Team MitpalConnect.Tech Conference Web VR (Image: Team MitPal 2106)

Team MitpalDelicia Brummet Speaking on How to Pick a Tech Stack (Image: Team MitPal 2016)

The last tip I have is to take care of yourself. Conferences make for long days. Drink plenty of water. Pace yourself. You don’t have to attend every session. The slides and/or video will be available after the conference. Have fun and enjoy yourself. We sure did!

Where Did the Time Go?

Rails Girls Summer of Code flew by so quickly. Too quickly. When we started, there seemed to be so much for us to do and learn. How would we get it all done? We felt a little wobbly. Unsteady. Not confident in ourselves or our abilities. As the summer moved along we discovered so much about who we are and what we are capable of. We got to know ourselves and each other so well. We had a community of people who cared about us and looked out for us, and we had our team. Team MitPal. We came. We saw. We killed it!

We are so thankful to RGSOC and the whole community of people who made this experience possible. We are stronger and more confident today because of this experience and we are forever greatful.

B'More Stunners: Over and Out!

Posted on by Oreoluwa Akinsanmi and Ashley Jean

Pair Programming Session with coach Beverly.
(Image Credit: Oreoluwa Akinsanmi)

It’s with heavy hearts we bid Rails Girls Summer of Code a farewell. We feel very humble to have been apart of this fellowship. RGSOC has given us the opportunity to not only sharpen our programming skills, but to also connect with an amazing community and form long-lasting friendships. This summer we had the opportunity to work on the Bundler project alongside supervisor André Arko. We were tasked with the project of making modification to Bundlers’ metrics dashboard so that it can accurately reflect its current metrics.

Here’s a little short summary of what we’ve accomplished:

  • A better understanding of how Bundler and works
  • Submitted a Pull Request to server
  • Built a class that focuses on capturing system information and the options run with Bundler upon installation
  • Refactoring our code…followed by a little more refactoring
  • Attending Strange Loop Conference and meeting team Team JaM.

Ore and Nicola Hughes at the Strange Loop Conference
(Image Credit: Oreoluwa Akinsanmi)

Team JaM and Ore at the Strange Loop Conference.
(Image Credit: Team JaM)

Setting the bar high with Strange Loop

Ore - Yes, it is true. Conferences can be diverse and inclusive while being absolutely phenomenal! Now, I hope every tech conference I go to will be just as progressive.

There was never a dull moment or boring talk at STL. Every workshop room or auditorium was consistently packed. I started my experience off with the ally skills workshop hosted by Valerie Aurora where I was reminded that even I (a marginalized person) have biases that can be damaging if left unchecked; there’s always room for personal growth. Nicola Hughes talk, Is it a Bug or a Story, proved that tech can change the way we interact with information and produce justfying results. It affirimed alot about how I believe information should be represented. I won’t forget how sore my legs were the next day from all the fun I had at City Museum. It was a literal adult playground with a 10-story slide!. The entire audience including myself was captivated by the talk Ashley Nelson-Hornstein gave on the intersection of technology and hummanities. She really hit home when she introduced how gaming has been used to cope with cancer and depression. Not only were the speakers diverse, the topics of the talks were as well. Talks ranged from deconstructing and systematising music from central Africa by Chris Ford to “the future of web development” with Paul Kinlan. I even got to see my mentor Andrei Arko give a talk, LIES, DAMN LIES, AND METRICS, on the very project I was working on. Lastly, I was fortunate enough to meet Crystal Martin CoderGirl Program Director at launch-code and Ashe Dryden from Alter conf! I want to give a special shout out to Team JaM for letting me join their crew on this amazing adventure. I will definitely be going next year. Thanks you so much Rails Girls Summer of Code for sending me there.

Future plans:

Ashley - I fully attend to continue working on Bundler/ There is still a lot of work that needs to be completed within the metrics project! Additionally, I will be starting my new job as a Junior Developer at a local tech company located in Baltimore. :D

Ore - I’m more motivated than ever to finish the project. I got a lot further on the project than I ever thought, which has been a huge boost of confidence.


Ashley - My biggest advice would be to continue to remind yourself that you CAN and you WILL do it! You were chosen to be apart of this fellowship for a reason, so don’t doubt your awesomeness. It’s okay to have bad days. Just remind yourself that no one was born a developer. Every great developer had to go through this learning process at one point to succeed :)

Ore - My advice to next year’s participants is to keep on going no matter what. Also, be sure to get lost in the Rails Girls Summer Of Code slack channels; you never know what you’ll find in there.

Special Thanks:

Our sincere thank you goes out to our amazing coaches and mentors ( Benedikt André , Lynn, Jamie, Mira and Beverly) who dedicated their time this summer to help us on this journey. We could not have done it without your ongoing support, mentorship and pep talks!

Lastly, We would like to thank the wonderful organizers of Rails Girls Summer Of Code. Thank you for making this fellowship possible and giving us the opportunity to be a part of it! Because of this program we have grown as developers and individuals.

And for that we are eternally grateful <3

(Image Credit:

Our end of RGSoC,:( !

Posted on by Naggita Keziah and Nanjekye Joannah

Team Echo: Our RGSoC Landing

Like a flight we just landed our RGSoC plane. It has been three awesome months of learning, connecting, coding and changing lives. We pushed, pulled, squashed, force pushed, gave talks, revived Rails Girls Kampala, interviewed, toured, travelled and became official contributors to qutebrowser.

The unforgettable memories of updating teams app, responding to emails and slack messages, having our PRs merged, attending conferences, renewing Rails Girls Kampala and so much more made Rails Girls Summer of Code an amazing experience. The summer is over and we are back to putting what we learnt and our experience to work in our communities.

team picture
Team Echo photo (put together by Keziah Naggita)

Our summer Achievements

The biggest highlight was the fact that RGSoC introduced us to open source software development. We all made our first PRs during RGSoC and have also contributed to other FOSS projects during our summer and intend to continue doing so after such inspired mentorship from Florian Bruhin and Kasia jarmołkowicz not forgetting our coaches Wilson Kiggundu and Augustine Kisitu.

RGSoC has taught us so many things, ranging from writing clean and clear code to soft skills. We have come to appreciate the need to impact our communities as well. We have become better speakers, mentors and coaches because we know exactly how it feels to be on the other side of life. Life is a learning experience and we’re glad on our way we met RGSoC to also teach us.

On qutebrowser

We all made our first PRs during RGSoC. We will never forget this feeling 🙂. We have made a total of ten contributions. Below are our contributions to qutebrowser:

  • We wrote a debug command to change the Ram Handler capacity.
  • We wrote end to end tests for Navigating multiline links.
  • We suggested and also solved this bug in qutebrowser code issue 1867 for validating logger names passed to logfilter.
  • We made the completion font configurable in qutebrowser.
  • We wrote two more commands. One is :debug-log-level, it changes the log levels for the logs in the console. The other is debug-log-filter that changes the filters for the console logs.
  • Worked on Purging UTM data when yanking url Added a new setting and improved the yank command so that it strips away UTM parameters from the URL for convinience when sharing the URL.
  • We also removed –qt arguments in qutebrowser and replaced them with –qt-flag and –qt-arg.
  • Made command keys (:/?) configurable.
  • We made zero a usable count for commands in the browser.
  • We were still working on creating a Global blacklist for URL completion model.

General FOSS involvement

We have made other contributions to other projects during our summer. We have opened three PRs and opened one issue on taskcluster from Mozilla and PyConZA16, a PyCon South Africa website. The future holds many possibilities for us. We have started our FOSS involvement during RGSoC and hope to continue contributing.

Community involvement

Revived Rails Girls Kampala

During summer, we revived the Rails Girls Kampala chapter. A community that had been started by Thoughtworks and died after Thoughtworks closing their Kampala offices. We started an eight-week Ruby on Rails training attended by 25 participants with support of our coaching company the The Innovation Village Kampala. We are still running the sessions and they will end at the end of October 2016. The goal of the training is to impart Ruby on Rails skills to the participants and ensure that they are in position to build something in form of a project at the end of the eight weeks. The participants shall write blogs on the projects they have developed, which we shall tweet about.

team picture Team Echo photo taken by simoen at the innovation village kampala

team picture Team Echo photo taken by simoen at the innovation village kampala

team picture Team Echo photo taken by simoen at the innovation village kampala

team picture Team Echo photo taken by simoen at the innovation village kampala



We received diversity tickets much thanks to PyConZA through RGSoC to attend and speak at PyConZA that took place between 6th and 7th october in Capetown, South Africa. We had a great time networking and listening from other speakers from the python community.

We gave a talk on contributing to Python open source infrastructure and projects. The Talk and Presentation were published.

team picture Team Echo photo taken by Humphrey batua during pyconza 2016, capetown

team picture Team Echo photo taken by the media team during pyconza 2016, capetown

African Women in Technology Conference

We were invited to speak about RGSoC and a give a talk on how drones, sensors and apps are rewriting the rules in agriculture at the African Women in Technology conference that took place in Nairobi 21st–22nd of July 2016. We had good feedback and were also inspired by great talks from different women in technology fron the African tech space.

Day 1 Team Echo photo taken by Ian Yatich at the African Women in Tech conference (East Africa), Nairobi, Kenya

Smart Automation

After speaking at the African Women in Tech conference, we got another invite to speak about drones, sensors and apps at the first smart Automation conference that took place 2nd–3rd September in Nairobi, Kenya. We got another chance to network with automation engineers and got to learn about what technology can do in industry automation.

team picture Team Echo photo taken by Ian Yatich during smart Automation conference in Nairobi

team picture Team Echo photo taken by Ian Yatich during smart Automation conference in Nairobi

team picture Team Echo photo taken by Ian Yatich during smart Automation conference in Nairobi

What we have learnt

We learnt alot during RGSoC , some of the skills which got include the following;

  • We learnt the open source workflow, community engagement and handling code reviews for our own and other people’s code.
  • Lots of problem solving and working with big code bases.
  • We learnt debugging skills as the rescue to finding problems in big codebases.
  • We also improved our python programming skills.
  • Learn about the browser architecture and its development.
  • Team work, this included sharing of tasks and complementing one another and we also learnt how to do pair programming to learn new skills.
  • Building self-confidence.
  • Last but not least, we learnt how to accept and learn from criticism. This helped us grow especially during code reviews.


We cannot say thank you enough to all the people that made RGSoC 2016 a success, for Team Echo at least. You made it possible for us to learn and be better people. We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the following people:

Our mentor: Florian Bruhin, it has been a real pleasure working with you! Thank you for being liberal and welcoming to newbies like us but now gurus. I would recommend newcomers to start with qutebrowser because of the welcoming community. You were the best mentor and you made RGSoC a great summer for us; thank you so much. Also before we forget thanks for the stickers.

Our coaches: Wilson Kiggundu and Kisitu Augustine, you are the best coaches we could have! We are immensely grateful for all your help and most importantly for taking your busy time off your full-time jobs. For staying up for calls with the unfavourable time zones. A big shout out to you.

Our supervisor: Kasia jarmołkowicz, thanks for all your support, for attending all the meetings, for listening to us and for always encouraging us, we are forever grateful.

RGSoC 2016 Teams: Cheers to all the 2016 teams. You helped us, guided us, made us your friends and shared your experiences with us. You made RGSoC a loving community to belong to.

RGSoC Organizers: Thank you so much for selecting us from the many to be a part of this incredible journey. We are so thankful for helping us everytime we needed you, for encouraging us and for making RGSoC a great community.

RGSoC Sponsors: Thank you for making it possible for us to ditch everything else for three months and dive full-time into learning! For the swag… you really made these months worth it.

Our friends and community: Thank you for bearing with us and supporting us while we were engaged in our RGSoC. You encouraged and pushed us to continue and pursue our dreams. We shall forever be thankful. Innovation Village, we value all your support, your encouragement, the space you gave us to host Rails Girls Kampala and for giving us a chance to speak at your events.

What are our plans after RGSoC?

We have been started off to FOSS contribution and are not looking back. We are already contributing to other FOSS projects. We shall therefore continue contributing to qutebrowser and other open source projects. We shall also take it upon ourselves to mentor others to begin contributing to open source projects.

We shall ensure Rails girls kampala is sustained and all its activities. This shall act as a mentoring platform for even future scholars. We shall finish Rails Girls Kampala 2016 cohort and prepare for the next cohorts.

Keziah will go back to university to finish her final year in software engineering at Makerere University, but she will continue writing code and mentoring others.

Joannah will continue with her studies in Aeronautical Engineering at the East African School of Aviation in Nairobi, Kenya. Trying to marry code and aviation. She shall continue contributing to FOSS and mentoring others, too.

The RGSoC community we shall still keep in touch because you are an amazing community. Looking forward to future work with you: be it mentoring, coaching, you name it. Always available!!!!

Emotional goodbye from RubyCats

Posted on by Kinga Kalinowska-Materniak and Izabela Komorek

RubyCats goodbyeGoodbye from RubyCats
(Image Credit: Izabela Komorek @izuroxx)

It has been an amazing journey!

We are still shocked how emotional and draining the whole experience was. But mostly it was a dream come true.

We haven’t accomplished what we set out to do. But we are happy of the things we did and what we’ve learned.

We don’t know what the future will bring. We will try our best to learn more and hope for the best. We will continue our path, even if it’s rocky.

Few words from each of us:

Iza: The end of RGSoC was very hard for me. RGSoC was a time I felt I was living the life the way I want to live it. Now I’m trying to pick myself up and collect the pieces of my life’s puzzle. Not sure what the picture looks like, but I’m determined to put the pieces together.

Kinga: The end of RGSoC was like waking up from a beautiful dream into life as usual. I’d like this dream to last forever.

It’s like in Fort Minor song Where did you go:

Where’d you go? I miss you so, Seems like it’s been forever, That you’ve been gone. Please come back home…

I hope I’ll become a professional developer one day (soon!) and then this dream will be back. For now I got back to teaching kids about programming, which I really like. But without being a programmer I won’t be fulfilled.

And now like in a song Oxalá by my beloved Madredeus:

Oxalá meu futuro aconteça (I hope my future will happen)

I still have a lot to learn and do. Mission not accomplished and not aborted. Mission in progress. Some Teams App code still needs to be completed / included into a PR.

RGSoC where did you go?Where did you go RGSoC?
(Image Credit: Kinga Kalinowska-Materniak @Kalinowska_K)

RGSoC is overRGSoC is over
(Image Credit: Kinga Kalinowska-Materniak @Kalinowska_K)


We would like to thank our Coaches, Supervisor and Mentors for giving us so much. Giving us their precious time and hearts, words of comfort and wisdom, sometimes sharing some of their strength in moments of weakness. They gave us emotional support, tools and knowledge that is priceless. They are the real Heroes and we shall name them all:

Coaches: Monika Burdzy, Basia Kłosowska, Magdalena Malinowska, Tomasz Warkocki, Piotr Zientara.

Mentors: Carsten Zimmermann and Ramón Huidobro.

Last but not least the best Supervisor - Rafał Cieślak.

Thank you Code Quest for giving us a warm and comfortable environment and amazing coaching support. We have to acknowledge your company has a strong, smart and cool team. It was a pleasure to meet all of you. We wish you all the best and let coding stay your passion.

Thank you Team Joda for a chance to meet you (Dayana, you are the master of humor and positive energy). Hopefully we will meet again soon.

Thank you RGSoC for this wonderful and unique experience, love, support and a chance to take part in Euruko 2016 in Sofia & first Codemotion Conference in Warsaw. BTW you can watch our Euruko Lightning Talk here.

Team RubyCats signing off.

Live, learn, code!

RubyCat says: live, learn, code! Live, learn, code!
(Image Credit: Izabela Komorek @izuroxx)