May 27th, 2010

I’ve been working with ror since late 2006 and only recently did I attend my first hackfest.  To be fair, I had two babies and took a few Harvard Extension School classes during that time.  But those aren’t the only reasons I stayed away.

Honestly, the term ‘Hackfest’ is intimidating.  I imagined a bunch of hipster boys in a room typing away in their VIM editors, flipping from view code to Cucumber tests to Lighthouse tickets to IM chats and then deploying to Heroku between sips of beer as I slowly dissolved into the corner feeling horribly out of place.

But after meeting a bunch of really great guys at the October workshop I organized and having had past positive experiences at the monthly bostonrb meetings, I realized that I was merely afraid of a stereotype.  The individuals I’ve met have all been really great and it was high time to get over my fears and just TRY IT.

And I’ve been meaning to go for the longest time, but it wasn’t until Yifei Zhang approached the list with a Rails Study Group for Beginners that I really got motivated.  Sure I’m not a beginner, but at least I was ensured that there would be other new people there.  And likely they wouldn’t laugh at me for using NetBeans as my editor.  (I’ve since signed up for the VIM class at Thoughtbot next month, but I digress.)

When I arrived at BackChannel Media, I was greeted tentatively by a few folks who weren’t sure if I actually meant to be at the Hackfest or if I was simply some random marketing executive who just stopped in to use the restroom.  I didn’t take offense.  It’s the typical reaction I get whenever I walk into a room of coders.  And while it’s very awkward to have to assure folks that this girlie girl isn’t there by accident, I think I also get a little thrill out of it.  Yeah, okay so *you* can bust out a kickass website in a day but *I* can do it in heels!  Bam!

Anyway, I was led to the newbie table where I met up with Yifei and a few folks I knew from the workshop.  And shortly we ventured to a conference room where Greg Sterndale led a talk on the basics of test-driven development.  It was great!  There were all kinds of folks around the table with varying expertise in ruby and other languages, all there to meet and greet and learn something.  I’m really looking forward to the next one.  Not so much because of whatever the subject matter may be, but more because this feels like an easier way to be involved in the community.

Was it a little awkward at first stepping into a room of new people?  Yes.  But it was really helpful knowing that there would be other folks there in the same boat.  I think Boston is in need of a “Newbie Group” if only to have a place to welcome newcomers to the fold.

Entry Filed under: Personal,Professional,Ruby on Rails

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