How to be a Ruby Mentor

How to be a Ruby Mentor

Presented at Ruby Nation 2013

We all know and love Ruby, but there is a large target audience of new programers who haven't discovered it yet. As experts in Ruby, we need to be able to mentor a new thriving generation of Ruby programmers. Most of us are familiar with the push the past few years for everyone to learn programming (even Mayor Bloomberg got in on the action!)

In this talk, Rachel will discuss how experienced developers can better approach newcomers and create a better community. The talk will cover the different motivations that novices come into her classroom with and how to best approach questions from rookies. With a better understanding of how people learn and how to teach, we have better tools to equip ourselves and as a side-effect, improve our own understanding of a programming concept through the fresh eyes of someone new to Ruby. The goal is to create a welcoming and thus more effective learning environment, be it in a classroom, the office, a meet up, or online.


Rachel Ober

June 14, 2013


  1. 7.
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    Benefits for Students • Shorter time to “ramp up” •

    Learn best practices • Resource to bounce questions • Real world advice
  4. 30.

    Benefits for Mentors • Discover gaps in knowledge • Reexamine

    tools you use every day • Bringing new people in to the community • Paying it forward
  5. 31.

    Benefits for Companies • Helps recruitment • Overcome learning curves

    • Rejuvenates employees • Encourages personal growth
  6. 39.
  7. 42.

    Soon they won't have to rely on you and will

    know how to search for things by themselves.
  8. 45.

    “Assume that anyone you're teaching to has zero knowledge but

    infinite intelligence.” - Railsbridge Teacher Training
  9. 46.

    “I tried to make people enjoy programming and concentrate on

    the fun and creative part of programming when they use Ruby.” - Yukihiro Matsumoto
  10. 48.
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  12. 65.

    “I’m a parent who wants to keep track of my

    kids’ activities but I don’t like the software available.”
  13. 66.

    “I have a business. I want to make a prototype

    so I can hire someone else to complete it.”
  14. 67.

    “I am a product manager and I want to have

    better conversations with developers.”