Malwine – with the help of Rails Girls I found the passion for coding again

Rails Girls Berlin “Wall of Fame”

This a series of interviews with women, that have successfully made their way into coding.
Check out their stories, get inspired!


 

Meet Malwine who found her passion for programming again and now studies computer science at HTW Berlin.

 

However, if we want to reflect our diverse world it’s extremely important for women to be present in developer teams and in communities where technical and political decisions are made. Building a strong, trusted and solidary network can help a lot.

Hi Malwine , can you tell us a bit about yourself and your educational background.
During high school I chose the computer science advanced course.
Afterwards I started studying computer science. But I got frustrated with the situation at university, the teaching methods, hostile culture and the high requirements.

After a while I was close to dropping out. But with the help of Rails Girls I found the passion for coding again. Digging deeper into Ruby and Ruby on Rails I found a job as a developer and finally changed university. Now I am studying computer science again but with great success.

How did you get to know about Rails Girls Berlin?
I heard about Rails Girls just in the right moment when I was studying computer science in my first university and thinking about dropping out. During the Turkish radio show by Funkhaus Europa they suddenly switched to German for a while to talk about a programming workshop for women in Istanbul. Organized by the Rails Girls in Cologne. The main attraction to me was Istanbul. However, I searched for Rails Girls and saw that the Berlin chapter would have a workshop soon.

Why did you join the workshop and what was your impression of it afterwards?
For me joining the workshop was the last attempt to figure out if I wanted drop out or continue studying computer science.

The workshop venue was very far away. I nearly did not go because I did not feel like it in the morning. But my mummy convinced me to take the chance. And I am happy that she did. I had no idea how the workshop would be and went there very curious. The workshop took place in a nice venue with awesome food. My coach Til was really patient and relaxed. He used a completely different teaching method than the ones I knew from university. One attendee in my group was a bit more advanced so we build an app to collect vegan recipes. It was great fun and it meant a lot to me that we could see results of what we build that day.

Afterwards I stayed some time and attended the keynote for the Ruby conference eurucamp. This evening I met many people that influenced me a lot. I believe this was a key day in my career. First of all there was a female professor of computer science who told me that she studied 18 semester. Which took the stress away from me to graduate in time. Second I met Tobi who told me about a 1 semester course he would give in my university about Ruby on Rails. Finally I also met a lot more people e.g. Jan, Benedikt and Arne who encouraged me to join the Ruby community and continue learning programming.

Had you any previous programming experiences before?
In school I learned Pascal and in university they tried to teach Java. Though I have to say that I only really learned Java in an online course and on my own after the Rails Girls workshop.

How did you continue learning?
As the direct outcome of the workshop I got really motivated and signed up for an online course to learn Java. What my professors failed to explain the people in course explained in a brilliant way. A few weeks later I also joined a course that I call the „Tobi bootcamp“. One semester he taught Ruby on Rails and HTML/CSS every Wednesday 6 hours plus homework. I learned a lot and it was great fun. Moreover, Tobi introduced me to many open tech initiatives e.g. the Open Tech School, the Ruby User Group Berlin and the Rubycorns learning group.

What was the biggest obstacle during your learning process?
In the first month of learning by myself my biggest obstacle was to stay focused. There are many tutorials in the web for all kinds of development. But the web can distract you a lot too. Nowadays I struggle with wanting to learn all the things at the same time (Ruby, Rails, Clojure, Java, Javascript, jQuery, SCSS, SQL… )

When and how did you decide to change your profession?
Since high school I knew I would either study illustration or computer science. But I had no idea of all the possibilities in the tech field. I think it is important to share these possibilities to as many women as possible.

After the course with Tobi I decided to take a vacation semester. I joined the developer team of DaWanda and tried to find my own approach on learning and becoming a developer.

Where you afraid of that step? If so, how do you think about it in retrospective? Was there a reason to be afraid?
I was afraid as hell when I started to work for DaWanda. Especially for the first interview (which worked out fine btw). After joining the team I was very shy. I was afraid I would break something. It took me a while to get confident sending a pull request, merging to master or deploying production.
My awesome colleagues Jalyna and Felix did a great onboarding and took a lot of fear away from me. Also on the first day our former teamlead told me: „Malwine, one thing you should never forget is: This company was build by students. So, don’t worry.“

What is your advice to women who want to learn coding?
Learning about technology and coding means independence. It means that you are able to express your needs and problems and solve them yourself or support others solving their issues. It enables you to take part in political discussions on technical topics. Moreover, it can enable you to create beautiful art and music projects with the help of computers. It’s really worth diving into coding and the tech world.

Unfortunately the tech world is not an easy place for women to be. However, if we want to reflect our diverse world it’s extremely important for women to be present in developer teams and in communities where technical and political decisions are made. Building a strong, trusted and solidary network can help a lot. As well as that the community agrees on a certain code of conduct.

 

We thank Malwine for helping us to inspire more women to get into coding and wish her happy coding. If you want to tell your own story, please get in touch with us.