When we at Udacity decided to begin teaching Ruby, we knew we had to connect two things: the amazing energy of the Ruby community, and the power of industry. So what did we do? We partnered with GitHub and we went to RubyConf!
At RubyConf this past November in San Antonio, TX, I had the opportunity to sit down with industry thought leaders like Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, the creator of Ruby, and Sandi Metz, author of Practical Object-Oriented Design in Ruby. Among the topics of conversation were just what makes the Ruby community so vibrant, the importance of open source software, and common challenges new developers face. Many of these discussions helped shape the direction of our curriculum to make sure we truly captured the spirit of this community.
This spirit is probably best exemplified by Ruby Central’s Opportunity Scholars program, which sends new developers, primarily from underrepresented communities, to RubyConf and RailsConf for no cost and pairs them with a more experienced developer to act as their guide, recommending talks and making introductions. I previously participated in this program as a RailsConf scholar, and I cannot stress enough just how formative this experience was due to the connections and friendships I made and the perspective I gained on my own career.
At this most recent RubyConf, I knew I wanted to pay it forward by participating as a guide in the Opportunity Scholars program. I was paired with an awesome scholar, Loraine (who has since become a Udacity project reviewer!), and have kept in touch with many of the individuals I met over the last month. It’s often said that Ruby is a language optimized for developer happiness, and I for one can happily testify to the fact that it’s working!
With this incredible community experience firmly etched into our Nanodegree program plans, all that remained was to secure the ideal industry partnership. There was never any doubt that GitHub was the only choice. Not only do they maintain one of the largest Ruby on Rails applications in the world, but they facilitate the largest known open source community there is.
GitHub has a large-scale reach and massive impact on the Ruby community. But sometimes, it’s actually the little things that can have the biggest effects. To give you an example, I’d like to tell you a quick story about one of our students. Her name is Sheryl Lun, and she’s a Front-End Nanodegree program graduate. She’s an amazing story of courage and independence, and by empowering herself through learning, she made some incredible changes in her life. She used to be an event planner, and now? She’s a professional web developer! She parlayed her Nanodegree credential into a great new job with Homesnap, a real-estate company based in Washington, D.C. What’s really amazing are the specific details of how she won the role. It turns out that the hiring manager was particularly impressed with her coding skills as demonstrated in her neighborhood deals map on GitHub — which she created as one of her Nanodegree projects!
I could go on and on about Sheryl, and so many other student stories as well, but the truth is, when a great community like the Ruby community, and a great company like GitHub, come together, people’s lives really do change for the better. This is why we’re so thrilled to announce three new Nanodegree programs built in partnership with GitHub and the Ruby community: Beginning Ruby, which is available right now, Ruby on Rails Developer, and Senior Ruby on Rails Developer, which will both be available within the next year.
If you’re brand-new to programming, we encourage you to enroll in our Beginning Ruby Nanodegree program today, so you can begin experiencing firsthand all this amazing learning from community and industry! And if you’re already familiar with Ruby on Rails, then please sign up to be notified when we launch the next two programs. We’ve made sure to offer entry points to the Ruby community for any skill level, and we look forward to seeing everyone in the classroom soon!