Shortcut Foo

I was recently issued a MacBook Pro to develop on. The problem is that I haven’t touched a Mac since 2002. I was also given a directive to learn as many keyboard shortcuts in my text editor of choice, which currently is Sublime Text. The solution to this problem seems to be Shortcut Foo.

shortcut-foo

I spent a few hours drilling keyboard shortcuts on my laptop and I’m getting the muscle memory down. Most importantly I’ve been able to use the shortcuts in Sublime Text.

Advice from a mentor

One of the things I felt I’ve been missing is a mentor.  Codeschool, Treehouse, and internet tutorials are great, but making an actual human connection with someone and receiving personalized advice is more valuable IMO.

I met a guy named Steve, and I’ll explain who he is at a later date. Steve, like me, didn’t come from a computer science background; he’s a self-taught dev also. Steve and I have chatted in-person and also via email and I feel he has a good idea of my skill level and goals.

As far as personalized advice he has suggested the following:

1) Ditch Windows and learn Linux
I’ve been a Windows and DOS (haha) guy since I got my first computer in 1992. There’s nothing really “wrong” with Windows, except that most dev shops are using Macs and Linux. Therefore if I want to start acting like a professional dev then I need to start using Linux or a Mac.

2) Start learning another programming language
I had ideas about learning Python, but my mentor advises Java. I never even thought about learning Java at this point. This would actually benefit me because at some point in the future I’d like to start developing apps for mobile devices, and Android development is done with Java. Two birds, one stone.

3) Get familiar with SQL beyond what Rails and Active Record
Learn SQL the hard way

 

Surviving a whiteboard interview

It’s been a week of “firsts” for me. I’d like to discuss a significant “first” and that would be my first whiteboard interview.

I was contacted by a potential employer last week, passed the first part of their interview process and was invited for an on-site whiteboard interview. This was VERY exciting news! Immediately I began worry about what I should wear, how early I should leave, bringing extra copies of my resume, etc. All those things are important, but I missed a critical step that I want to help anyone else avoid:

EAT A WELL-BALANCED HEALTHY MEAL BEFORE YOUR WHITEBOARD INTERVIEW.

It wasn’t until I was halfway to their office that I realized I had only had a Starbucks coffee and a protein shake that day. I think I performed well, but during the latter stages of the interview I started to get light-headed, had trouble concentrating and my stomach was making very funny noises. Not only was the interview mentally challenging, but physically challenging since I was standing at the whiteboard for an extended period of time.

TL;DR version: If you have a whiteboard interview coming up make sure you get a good night’s sleep, that you’re well hydrated, and have a healthy, filling breakfast/lunch. The experience is mentally and physically challenging.

Great AngularJS/Rails tutorial

Thank the Lord for people on the internet that make tutorials free of charge. I hope I’m in a position one day to help newbies like I have been helped.

I was looking for a tutorial on how to build a simple CRUD app using Rails for the back-end and AngularJS as the front-end. I found this tutorial here by Adam Anderson.

It’s a simple blog app. Actually no, it’s not simple at all if you’re an Angular newb. The Rails parts are completely easy and understandable (wow, did I just say that?), but it’s taking awhile for the “flow” of an Angular app to sink in.

Many blessings upon Adam’s household 🙂

Backbone? Uhh, nevermind. Hello Angular!

About 2 months ago I attended the LA Ruby meetup and saw a live demo of AngularJS. I was very impressed. So impressed that I immediately wanted to dive into Javascript front-ends, but my skill level was not high enough to dive in yet.

If you look at my Github repository you’ll notice that for an entire month there were no submissions. I was using this time to brush up on Ruby and Javascript programming and BOY OH BOY did it help.

About 2 weeks ago I felt ready to tackle a JavaScript front-end, and since I have a subscription to CodeSchool I figured I would learn there…….except CodeSchool doesn’t HAVE an Angular tutorial. But they DO have a Backbone tutorial.

I got through about 3/4 of the course and was ready to build something, but alas, finding up-to-date Backbone-Rails tutorials online is not the easiest thing. But what I COULD find were plenty of Angular-Rails tutorials.

So in a roundabout way I’m ending up where I wanted to be all along.