Non-technical entrepreneurs learning to code at InstallFest

Australian web app development firm reInteractive is getting non-technical entrepreneurs setup and started with the modern web application development framework, Ruby on Rails (RoR). The Sydney InstallFest initiative, sponsored by Fairfax Media and General Assembly, has been going full speed for the past six months, teaching over 150 participants how to leverage RoR. 

Chloe Fisher, reInteractive Community Manager, says the reason they focus on RoR-based web development is because of its speed and ease of use.

“Ruby is the only programming language that is optimised for Developer happiness. This means that everyday RoR Developers go to work and do something that makes them happy,” she says.

reInteractive developers are volunteering their time, along with others in the RoR community to help newbies get setup at the free monthly InstallFest event.

“For many RoR developers, the monthly Ruby meetup is a ritual not to be missed. In recent months this meetup has grown from not just those well acquainted with Ruby and the Community, but has expanded each month, with fresh faces coming along to meet more of the Community and learn from those doing interesting talks. The now packed room is an indication of the increasing interest in RoR and our great community,” says Fisher.

InstallFest participants will be able to set-up their personal laptops with a Rails development environment, build their very own RoR blog and get it live on the internet within a few short hours.

This is a great starting point for non-technical entrepreneurs who want to get their idea to market as quickly as possible without having to outsource development.

“Your idea is worth exactly nothing until it is implemented and successfully sold itself at least once. The key point here is implementation,” says Fisher.

“Getting your idea to market quickly is critical in this day and age and the magic of Ruby on Rails is that it enables you to get something up and running in a very short amount of time.”

InstallFest is not only for aspiring entrepreneurs; the program has been designed for anyone with an appetite for learning RoR. Fisher explains that Ruby developers are in high demand and are offered lucrative salary packages, as well as lifestyle benefits – so there’s no better time to learn.

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Through the InstallFest initiative, reInteractive expects to see more developers working on RoR, and subsequently more Sydney-based businesses choosing RoR as their development framework due to increased accessibility and affordability.

But the impact of these initiatives extend beyond their origins in Sydney, “with over one thousand people from around the world [at any given time] viewing our tutorial guides.”

InstallFest has also been introduced into interstate and international markets – Melbourne and Singapore – last month.

“Many new developers outside of Sydney have already been or are about to be introduced to RoR from these resources, and we are excited to see even more growth to come!”

Solal Fitoussi, an attendee of the first Sydney InstallFest made a public comment saying, “It was great! I loved that you guys could mentor us, walk us through the steps and help us troubleshoot. I made enough to get excited and want to pick it up.”

Another participant, who’s a pharmaceutical officer with no prior technical experience, wanted to learn RoR so that he could gather statistics. He started building an app about basketball and NBA and plans to use the same set of code for more useful data once he’s got RoR down to pat.

“Many people believe that learning to program is not easy, that it’s out of reach for ”non programmers” to understand. We wanted to show anyone who is interested that you CAN build a web application fast and get it online,” says Fisher.

InstallFest is accessible to anyone in Sydney and Melbourne, from those who have absolutely no coding experience, to developers who want to switch over from another back-end language.

“Attendees from all walks of life come along – from baggage handlers, real estate agents to primary school teachers, who see the value in understanding how to code. They may want to work on other projects on the side, or understand the technical side of their business, or prepare for a career change,” says Fisher.

The InstallFest is a set of self-paced guides, so everyone can work at their own speed. Mentors are around to answer any questions, no matter how basic or detailed.

If you’re interested in attending InstallFest, visit www.railsinstallfest.org for more information. The event takes place every month and is free or charge.