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Personal interview with Linda Liukas, the founder of Rails Girls
22/04/12 10:20 PM
Linda Liukas

Photo: Linda Liukas Studio

Irene:  Linda, next to your name we only put Rails Girls, no country, so as to illustrate that in spite of your young age (26 years old) you are global already! When did you first feel that the international arena will be your place of work, tell us about Rails Girls and some of your other projects.

 

Linda: I think it's much easier to think global from the start than to do something only at home, so doing things internationally was an easy decision. Coming from Finland, with 5 million people, we don't have a home-market for anything niche & cool and it's much easier to find people excited about your project if you look at the whole world.  And internationalizing is easy: for our workshop in Shanghai to teach coding to girls, we just made an account on Weibo (their twitter), started following developers and finding the communities where they hang out. Google translate goes far!

   Rails Girls was an event we did in 2010 in Finland and it was never intended to be global. However, since news travels fasts in the technology world, we got a lot of requests from other cities outside of Finland and just started organizing things. We always work with local developers and just recently included all of the materials and information on how to throw your own event in Rails Girls Guides - we are kind of open sourcing the whole concept! These guides provide the tools and a community for women to understand technology,  organize their own events, submit new guides or just to learn about Rails.

 

 

Irene: You were one of the favourites of the audience at the e-Skills Week final event in Copenhagen 30 March 2012. You conveyed the feeling that ICT is easy and fun and seemed so excited about technology. Tell us what attracts you to technology?

 

Linda: Technology is the fastest way to change the world. For me, coding is about building great products that affect millions of peoples lives and disrupt whole industries. Spotify is changing music and Facebook friendships, as well as Amazon books, Google information and so much more. It's all about making change. The programming world has a culture, a community as well as compassion. It is not dull or boring. It's a similar craft as is architecture or industrial design. You create things that people love. Technology is the future, a part of the big revolution of the years to come and my concern is that this change or transformation is driven only by young boys from California in their early twenties, with a very narrow world-view. I want to see more diversity. I want to see diverse people being able to use these tools to solve their own problems and change the world. Technology for me is a magical, radiant, perspective, an alterning lens of the world. 

 

Irene: What would you say to young girls, in the age range of 5-7, to get them interested in technology? What advice would you give them to get them to choose a profession in IT and technology?

 

Linda: I would just encourage them to tinker around with things, to explore, to be curious and not to worry too much about future professions, since even at 26 I still don't know what I'm going to be doing in a few years! Coding could be taught in arts or English classes instead of computer classes. There are tons of great resources on the Internet too. Check out:

 

Sylvia shows

http://sylviashow.com/episodes/s1/e3/full/arduino

 

HacketyHack

http://hackety.com/

http://blog.hackety-hack.com/post/1313406925/why-teach-with-ruby

 

Kids Ruby

http://kidsruby.com/

 

Mozilla Hackasaurus

http://hackasaurus.org/

 

CoderDojo

http://coderdojo.com/about-us/

 

Scratch

http://scratch.mit.edu/

 

Happy Nerds

http://www.happynerds.net/view/mac

 

 

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