NetEngine girls talk RailsGirls | NetEngine

NetEngine girls talk RailsGirls

Hi I’m Mariel and … I’m Ruth!

Together we number two out of thirteen people here. What is that as a percentage? 15.38% of our company employee base are female. Not terrible, but not exactly 50%.

Production, Master, Branches and Envelopes
Coding in real life

Why is that?

We could suggest it is because working in the technology space is not as attractive to women for a number of reasons.

  1. It isn’t fashion, lifestyle or luxury, traditional ‘sexier’ industries for women.

  2. Perhaps it title: Tech may cause women to shy away from it.

  3. The ability to work within a developers world is not of interest for the majority of women - plain and simple.

This is changing of course.

As the digital landscape, once foreign, becomes the ever increasing norm, girls are being faced with a pressurised choice. Either attempt to enter the code universe; adopt a mission of learn and conquer or… don’t. We have found ourselves working at NetEngine from different backgrounds, but we’re both galvanised to achieve things in this space.

Our objectives

We are curious, motivated and incentivised to understand the world our male cohort inhabit.


Because yes, at the core of our business is Ruby on rails but more than that, it’s the future and anyone with half a brain knows better than to turn their back on the future. Right?

Our greatest fear about working at a rails shop?

In one statement: not wanting to appear dumb.

In order to be the best advocates for the NetEngine brand and associated products, we have to operate within its landscape. When you are two girls who sit either side of the developer divide working with arguably some of the most analytical minds the dev world, trying to understand how they work - that’s no easy feat.

How have we overcome said fear?

Being immersed in this type of environment has taught us many skills. For Ruth, she learned in a less than agile manner, how to ‘google’ the answer to all and any query. Mariel’s approach, has taken this one step further and now she refers to Google in the third person. “Excuse me, Google. What is Unicorn?”

What do we find the most challenging about our exposure to the dev environment?

It’s a double-edged sword. On one hand we came in cold. Forced to wrestle with any number of applications such as Terminal, Markdown, and even asked to set up our own Github account. We have to frequently analyse the difference between Production and Master staging branches. Even during the writing of this we were schooled in exactly what that difference is. In typical boy fashion, Dan Sowter, drew us an artistic and articulate description of how coding works, his canvas a discarded envelope.

On the other hand though, this sort of boot camp for beginners has bred resilience, inner strength and perserverence, but not only that, we have become sponges to our surroundings. Alert to all new concepts including this one, leapmotion which we are still waiting to arrive, but that’s another story!

How have the guys grown and adapted to us? Well…

We like to think they have learned a lot. But tbh, it’s probably just this: they wear clothes regularly.

In all seriousness though, even just the exposure to their world has had perhaps the greatest impact of both of us, that is, we want to be like them and know how to code. Guiding our steep learning curve has come the realisation that coders quite clearly can hold the world in the palm of their hand.

If it is within US President Obama’s agenda to have children as young as primary school understand the fundamentals of code, and apply this knowledge throughout their secondary school years then it feels like the right time for us to attempt to build our own knowledge.

Rails Girls in Brisbane

That is why we are joining with over 50 other girls this Friday evening and Saturday to participate in Brisbane’s very first ‘girl specific’ RailsGirls hosted event.

NetEngine are proud to foster the learning of Ruby on Rails via our code school. Underway recently, the current syllabus is focused on those with knowledge of Rails and building a real world app to support our friends at TEDx. While we concede we’re probably a long way from being able to denote what gem would best suit solving this lesson: Write integration specs for batch-actions on active-admin (editor: Capybara), fear not, it’s all about baby steps. Once we’ve done RailsGirls we’re hoping for at least one outcome.

To be infected with contagious bugs like ‘can’ttalkmustcode’. They’re the new boy-germs.