DevOps Girls – the inaugural event

In February 2017 some dedicated people gave up their precious Saturday to attend DevOps Girls to either mentor or learn… It was a bit of a gamble in some people’s eyes as this was an inaugural event, not to mention the only one of its kind.

In the beginning

I can still remember when John Contad told me he wanted to run a “DevOps Girls.”

“Do you want to mentor at DevOps Girls?” he asked me. I didn’t feel qualified enough to mentor such a thing but I offered my help in anyway I could; what a brilliant idea!

My mentor Theresa Neate had just learnt hands-on DevOps herself and told me in one of our catch up sessions that she was planning to teach at the DevOps Girls event. Being able to teach someone DevOps in such a small amount of time, let alone to the point where she is able to teach it herself, was not only a testament to her brilliance but also to the notion that “DevOps Girls” was a great idea, although more importantly… completely viable.

On the day

The day started with an intro on women in tech, what DevOps actually is, why DevOps Girls is important to the tech community, and the historic battle between developers and operations (Ohhhh that’s what DevOps stands for…). The speakers were Christie Metson, Mei Brough-Smyth, John Contad and myself.

This was followed by a quick run-through to get people started and more familiar with the AWS (Amazon Web Services) stack.

And then we got down to business with AWS EC2, ELB and ASG. For some it was the first time they used a command line interface (CLI), and some others were already CLI veterans—but we made it safe for all to learn.

Over the course of the day, attendees learned how to serve up a website on a highly available, load-balanced platform.

Here we have Milly demonstrating with such pride that her website "Matt's face.com" now has high availability thanks to the load balancer she just learnt to set up.

Here we have Milly demonstrating with such pride that her website “Matt’s face.com” now has high availability thanks to the load balancer she just set up.

The whole time, the attendees were made comfortable by the presence of some fabulous mentors (if I do say so myself) who were there to help every step of the way. Not to mention the soothing voice of experience at the front of the room guiding the exercises along.

But wait! That’s not all…

Even after having learned so much, eaten so much and networked so much (for free!!!), the support DevOps Girls provided didn’t end there. Links to DevOps communities, and even free credit for Amazon Web services, were provided to take home at the end of the day.

It’s only natural for someone beginning something new to feel a touch out of place. DevOps Girls provided a friendly environment where no one felt uncomfortable to ask questions, there were people pairing, and support being given. It was such a lovely environment that naturally evolved from the attendees’ will to learn and the mentors willingness to teach.


Conclusion

At the end of the day, we were “just trying to teach some DevOps to some ladies”, and that’s exactly what we achieved… as evidenced by the flurry of compliments we received on social media:

I couldn’t have been more proud to work with a team of conscientious, caring, friendly people, on such a worthwhile project!