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September 21, 2009 / TildeWill

Step Two: Volunteer

This Friday and Saturday I’m going to teach people (women specifically) how to set up their laptops as a development environment and then how to write a simple web application.

It’s what I do every day, and yet I’m nervous as hell that I’ll somehow fail. That someone will ask a question that I don’t know the answer to and suddenly it’ll all come crashing down that I don’t really know anything. It isn’t true, but that’s what I’m afraid of, that’s what I’m most nervous about.

Tomorrow, I’m also skipping lunch to spend time with a coworker, Adam, patching Rails. Rails is the platform on which we develop our applications. Rails isn’t something we make in house, this is a big deal that is used by developers world-wide. I’ve never worked on an open source project, let alone something of this magnitude. My participation is two-fold. First, I get to learn about contributing to an open source project. Second, this is something work is making a push for, the higher ups have a vested interest in seeing Rails become a respected platform, and Pivotal getting its name attached to it – but when they pitched free lunch and swag, and no one bit, I decided that while I may feel under-qualified to write code, I wasn’t under qualified to set an example for those more able to follow.

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