MRS 018: Kinsey Ann Durham

Today's episode is a My Ruby Story with Kinsey Ann Durham. She is one of the speakers for the Ruby Dev Summit. Listen to learn more about Kinsey!

[01:15] – Introduction to Kinsey Ann Durham

Kinsey was on episode 180 of the Ruby Rogues podcast. They talked about Barriers to New Developers. It’s been 3 years. She is also one of the speakers for the Ruby Dev Summit, which is coming up in October.

[02:55] – How did you get into programming?

RailsBridge workshop

Kinsey got into programming, not through the traditional Computer Science route or boot camp / code school route. She actually did a RailsBridge workshop 4 or 5 years ago in Denver. RailsBridge is part of the larger organization called Bridge Foundry. It’s a weekend workshop where you have mentors and teachers who teach you how to build an app in whatever language or framework from scratch. Food is provided. It’s mainly for women but men are welcome as well as long as you accompany a female.


Kinsey’s step brother, Sean Griffin, is really big in the Rails community and Rasp community. She saw him and what he was doing.

Networking and building relationships

Kinsey was lucky enough to meet Desi McAdam at the RailsBridge event. Eventually, she was able to get a job as an apprentice in Denver that had just opened and where Desi was the managing director.

Kinsey did a lot of self-taught work using books. There are online tutorials, mentorship, and networking with people. She thinks it’s relevant for developers who are new in the industry given how saturated the market is. It’s important to network and build relationships, and not just applying blindly to Java applications that you see online.

[06:20] – What do you recommend to people?

Luckily, there are tons of online resources where you can learn and get the basics. Kinsey thinks that it’s a lot harder nowadays to do that because you will be competing for head to head with students who are coming out of these schools, or do have Computer Science backgrounds. But she also thinks that it’s doable to be self-taught as long as you are willing to put in the time. And then, not only use the free online resources but also find a mentor that is willing to work with you and guide you because there are times where you’ll hit a bug or problem or even when getting Rails setup on your machine. Sometimes, Stack Overflow and those online resources aren’t enough.

[08:20] – How did Ruby shaped your experience coming in as a new programmer?         

Kinsey started going to conferences right away and she fell in love with the community. Back then, there were a lot of stories going around in the industry on how hard it is for females, etc. But she found that the Ruby community was welcoming and receptive.

[10:00] – Sexism

Kinsey had experiences and has seen it firsthand. She thinks that it is still an issue but she also thinks that it’s getting better. She thinks that the programming communities are becoming more and more diverse with the influx of people coming out of code schools. They have different backgrounds. They also have stereotypical developers.


Kinsey Ann Durham

Charles Max Woods