Now the fun begins

I’ve completed 3 months of self-directed web development training with the intent on being hired as a Junior Ruby on Rails developer. Up to this point I’ve been following the tutorials on the always fabulous Team Treehouse, and also the Rails tutorial written by Michael Hartl.

I’m REALLY tired of following tutorials. I’m ready to build my own stuff without following along.

My first app, which I started tonight, is going to be a blog. Sounds simple, but it’s only as simple as you make it. I was brainstorming and I want to add:

  • WYSIWYG editor
  • Geotagging
  • Multi-column format
  • Twitter integration
  • Searchable archives
  • Ability to upload and store photos
  • Header image that changes on page refresh

THIS blog, the one you’re reading, is a WordPress blog and has a ton of options. I want to integrate many of the options offered in the WP blog in my Rails blog.

Back to work…

Completed Team Treehouse Rails App

  • Finally, oh finally I have completed the intro app that is taught on teamtreehouse.com.
  • Did a tiny bit of work on the Hartl tutorial. Last week I screwed up a database migration. I was able to fix the problem locally, but Heroku was freaking out about multiple databases with the same name. Fixed the problem with a good ol’ Google search.
  • Watched some super old (6 YEARS!) Railscasts videos. Railscasts hasn’t been updated in 7 months, so I’m not sure if I’m just wasting my time watching these videos.

Learning Style

When I first started learning web development 3 months I didn’t know what I needed to know; I also didn’t know HOW to learn what I needed to know.

3 months in I think I’ve figured out both.

In terms of the “How”…I’ve got handle on the basics and now I’m solely concentrating on building Rails apps. I’m still making my way through the Hartl tutorial and Team Treehouse learning track. One thing that has bothered me about the way most tutorials are presented is that they throw a bunch of information at you and don’t bother to tell you what is essential and what you can disregard until you reach a higher level of proficiency.

For example, TDD, good ol’ Test Driven Development. Nowadays it’s critical and I’m not going to get hired without knowledge of the process. BUT if you’re teaching a web dev newbie how to build a Rails app I think it’s counterproductive to stop smack dab in the middle and teach TDD. I think a better solution, at least for me, is to build the app from start to finish and skip the TDD portion. THEN go back after you’ve gained the experience (and psychological boost) of completing an app and THEN try to gain a deeper understanding of Rails apps.

Still here…of course

  • 80% done with Team Treehouse’s Ruby Developer course
  • Decided to restart the Hartl Tutorial. I’ve completed about 10 apps in between now and the time I last touched the tutorial (30 days ago!) and a lot of the stuff that was gibberish to me now makes complete sense. I’m also skipping the rspec testing this first time around to get the app complete, THEN I’ll go back through and build the sample app again with rspec testing.