Reinvigorated about learning

So now that I’m seriously starting to look at job opportunities to apply for I’m becoming familiar with the list of stated requirements a lot of employers want. Since the majority of postings are looking for experienced developers some of their stated requirements are beyond my current skill level. Instead of being frustrated, e.g., “OMG doesn’t anyone want to give a Junior developer a chance?!?!”, I look at it as a roadmap guiding me down the path to make me more employable.

I had a conversation with a recruiter on Tuesday and she was asking me a bunch of questions about my learning. The subject of code schools came up.

I don’t have $12,000 to pay the tuition, nor can I afford to quit my job to attend one of these (assuming I’d be accepted, but then again…why wouldn’t I? So I figured the next best thing would backwards engineer a code school type of education.

I found Dev Bootcamp’s very broad outline on their curriculum and I’m going to use that to fill the gaps in my current knowledge.

Problems implementing search

Adding a search feature to my blog app has been on the wish list for a while. Turns out that I’ve made it more complicated than I expected.

As I mentioned before I installed the sunspot gem and it was working beautifully in development mode but then when I uploaded it to Heroku I discovered that the functionality needed to make the gem work is only available for paying users 🙁

Late last night I came across a Railscasts episode about coding your own simple search feature. The problem is that in order to make it work I have to change my controller in such a way that breaks the pagination feature I installed (kaminari). I ran into the same problem when installing sunspot, and I found a solution after an hour of searching.

I would have installed it last night but it was too late to undertake something like that.

Hat. Tossed. Ring.

I’ve spent hundreds of hours in the past 4 months boning up on web development. I’m at the point where I feel my development is being hindered by not doing this full time.

I haven’t done a job search in a looooooong time. I had forgotten the horrors of trying to get my resume looking good. “OMG, SHOULD I PUT AN OBJECTIVE? OMG HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO I LIST? OMG ARE THEY GOING TO LOOK DOWN ON ME BECAUSE I’M SELF-TAUGHT AND DON’T HAVE A COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE?”

I’m looking for the right company and the right opportunity to grow as a developer and help that company achieve its goals in the most efficient manner.

Soooooooo… I posted my resume online to 2 very popular tech job sites… and I wasn’t disappointed by the response 🙂

Tried to add search to blog app

I have to laugh or else I’d be crying or raging…

One of the features I’ve wanted to add to the Shadow Blog is search capability. I came across a Railscasts episode in which Ryan Bates demonstrates the Sunspot gem.

I installed the gem and got everything working in development mode then I tried uploading to Heroku…except I found out that using solr search on Heroku is not free! $20 per month! OMG.

I spent about 1.5 hours troubleshooting and installing only to find out it was all for nothing and I couldn’t use the functionality on the free tier of Heroku. Well, at least I got my Rails coding in for the day…

Budgeting time

  • TDD (Test Driven Development)
  • Javascript & JQuery
  • Building Rails Apps

These are the topics I’m currently working on. I have a family, a full-time job and I don’t function well over the long term on less than 6 hours of sleep, so budgeting the proper time for each subject can become a challenge. On top of that I also keep an excel sheet full of goals not related to coding that I try to accomplish each day, and those items also take my time.

URL validation

So I learned the hard way about URL validation when submitting a URL as a text string.

I am doing round 2 of building the “Reddit on Rails” app and submitted a URL in the format of “” instead of “”. When I would type something like <%= link_to @link.title, @link.url %> it would return a link in the format of “http://mydomain/links/” instead of what I wanted which was “”.

I thought something might be wrong with my routes.rb file, or links controller. Turns out I created the problem by not submitting the URL with the “http://” at the beginning of the string.

Did some Google searching and came up with a nice thread on how to validate URLs in rails.

New Laptop

One of my goals for February was to purchase a laptop for 2 reasons:

  1. I code from a desktop computer and wanted to be able to display my work to others away from home
  2. I wanted to be able to code standing up, because sitting down all the time is bad for your health

Yesterday I received a refurbished Dell Laptop in the mail. It’s nothing special, but it accomplishes the two goals listed above and makes me feel more like a “real” developer. Don’t all “real” developers have laptops? The devs at my current job do…

Nowadays I’m doing my coding using, so performance specs aren’t that big of an issue.

Reddit on Rails

My current project is to build a Reddit type of site using Rails. In searching for ideas on how to build this I came across a “Reddit on Rails” tutorial. The tutorial was written with Rails 3 in mind, but the differences are minor and are easy fixes. The best part is that I know and understand what the differences are, how to avoid the errors and how to fix them if they occur.

I also plan this week to restart Codecademy’s Javascript course. I started it a few months ago, but I put it on ice for awhile. Time to get back to it…