eurucamp 2015 from a newcomers point of view

Hi!

My name is @kaeptnjules. I’m a mother of two wonderful children and working as a music therapist in a home for elderly people.

In March 2015 I attended the Rails Girls beginners workshop in Berlin and got excited about programming in Ruby on Rails, a web application framework written in Ruby. After I build my first web app in just one day by following a tutorial, I decided to keep on learning in a study group that the coaches recommended to me several times.

I went to the homepage rorganize.it and became a member of the RubyMonstas study group, which meet up every Monday at 7pm here. There you can work through a curriculum with explanations and exercises, called “the book”. The coaches and other students are happy to answer your questions and discuss all aspects of the course content. It’s really nice to have a chat with the others during the breaks as well as to enjoy some snacks that everybody brought to share.

Now it’s been almost half a year since I joined the group and already I, together with a small group of fellow students, have started to build a web app named “diversity ticketing”. This app is designed to connect organizers of events that offer discount tickets for people from underprivileged groups and the applicants for these tickets.

In this very short time I have learned to deal with programming issues and also have become part of the Ruby community. In the beginning of August I attended the first ever tech conference of my life, called eurucamp, it was a great experience!

The atmosphere at the camp was very welcoming, easy going and mindful. Everybody was super friendly, especially the organizing team. They were helpful and caring. In order to be inclusive and diverse they put much effort into various strategies like: Code of Conduct, Childcare or speech to text, which means that every talk has been live transcribed to make the content more accessible for everyone. For details about the suggestions and learnings on accessibility and diversity have a look here.

In addition, the conference guides made sure the group of newcomers felt as welcome and comfortable as possible, ensuring everyone had a great first-time conference experience at eurucamp.

I guess there could have been more technically orientated talks for people with a lot of programming experience however it was a great beginner friendly course with a mixture of personal experiences, reflections about social attitudes and works of art, e. g. in the form of music.

The schedule of the conference offered many diverse topics and the highly motivated speakers got their point across in a way that was both easy and humorous.

Getting input about tech related subjects, cultural issues like ask vs. guess culture communication, how to cultivate empathy or being a programming parent was very inspiring and interesting to me. If you are keen on diving in the various subjects as well you can re-watch the presentations).

Apropos speakers, I don’t want to hide away the above-average number of female speakers who gave talks at eurucamp. To be accurate 55 % of the speakers were women. Yay! That's awesome and I appreciate their contributions very much.

Also the siesta break with many various activities was a great idea. These activities such as canoeing, stitching, pair programming, campfire and lots more helped people to connect and by doing something together the conversations flowed in a natural and relaxed way.

I thought the overview about the events on rubyweek.org was a wonderful way to find out where to go to and to sign up for the activities I most wanted to attend.

There were so many extra events in the free time at different venues around the conference, e. g. in the largest cinema of the Filmuniversität Babelsberg which was located in walking distance to the eurucamp venue. The movie “CODE: Debugging the Gender Gap”, a brand new documentary about the lack of diversity in tech jobs was very impressing. Being able to watch this movie was great because it won’t be distributed to the general public for quite some time, also the fact that we could discuss and talk about it with each other afterwards.

But back to the conference, there was so much fun.

Rubycorns in onesies rocking a lightning talk plus RubyMonstas running around giving out buttons.

There was also an “official” eurucamp dog providing some entertainment.

Feeling comfortable as we enjoyed delicious coffee delights from @thebarnberlin, cold drinks as well as good food including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices.

All in all I loved being part of such an open-minded and easily approachable community. People were always friendly and smiling. This made me feel welcome and included and also helped me to lose my inhibitions, enabling me to have the courage to get involved in this exciting and open-minded community developing something new and ground-breaking.

Sharing the knowledge and giving women tools to build their ideas in the web is a really cool thing. Many thanks to everyone who facilitated this and made it happen. I’m really looking forward to when the organizers are able to host another eurucamp. I hope that will be soon!