I recently returned from RailsConf 2012 in Austin. I had a terrific time, learned a ton, and most importantly: I was inspired. I was inspired to return to making more contributions to Open Source and to help introduce others (kids and adults) to the computer world.
RailsConf had three double-sided whiteboards that (as far as I could tell) with nothing but “We’re hiring” ads on them. I also stopped by a job fair where there were more companies hiring than applicants. And finally, when all the attendees were asked if they worked for a company that was hiring Rails developers, at least two-thirds raised their hands!
So my first idea to get wings is a new mentorship program I’m starting in my town. This is specifically a locally-oriented program. I’m currently searching for 1-3 high school or college students who are interested in learning how to be the kind of well-rounded & highly-knowledgeable developers that these businesses are looking for.
Over about the next four months, we’ll cover the types of topics not typically covered at university, such as: git, TDD, setting up your own servers, and a complete understanding of the Rails stack. This isn’t an internship (they’re doing their own work, not work for some other company), and it’s not a class (I’m not getting paid). It’s just a chance to get some young new developers off on the right foot. There will be a ton of material to cover, and there definitely will not be a speed limit! Along the way, I hope to have each student come up with their own web app idea and fully implement it, start to finish. In the end, I hope they’ll wind up with something even more impressive than a portfolio to be able to show potential employers.
I’m pretty excited and hope to find some equally excited students. I’ll be periodically offering updates on how the program is going. I also hope to open source my lesson plan as well for use by others, so check back for more!