This past weekend, I had the chance to spend two days helping people build their first web application. There are few things as exciting as seeing someone interact with an application that they built and they control. Unfortunately, a lot of people haven’t been exposed to programming, or think it is too difficult. But thanks to programs like RailsBridge, and supporters like VitalSource®, more people are being given the chance to learn what they are capable of.
RailsBridge was started in San Francisco in 2009 by two women who sought to provide access to programming resources for underrepresented groups in technology. What started as an email list and a couple of informal get-togethers has turned into a international nonprofit offering free programming classes across the globe.
I was invited to help assist at my first RailsBridge as a new employee at VitalSource a few years back. I was nervous because I had just started my programming job, and someone was expecting me to help others learn? I hardly knew anything myself! I quickly discovered that at RailsBridge, everyone had something to teach and everyone had something to learn—and I immediately felt at home. I’ve volunteered regularly over the past three years and VitalSource has continued to be a regular supporter, encouraging engineers to help teach classes and making sure there is always a delicious breakfast and lunch provided.
Over the years, I’ve seen students come back and help teach classes, and even heard stories of students who have gone on to learn more about programming and ended up changing careers.
Programming has been disproportionately heterogeneous for a long time. RailsBridge is working to level the playing field, and I’m thankful to be part of a company that supports that mission. VitalSource’s commitment to programs like RailsBridge reminds me that their dedication to education extends beyond eTextbooks.
If you would like to learn more about RailsBridge, check them out at http://www.railsbridge.org/.
Maybe there is a class near you that you could attend or help teach!