Yes I know that this is the only second update since my last one when I said I’d do it weekly. I’m horrible when it comes to my writing habit, but I’m getting better 🙂 With this blog post you a 2 for 1 – my review on One Month Rails and my Learning update.
The last month was a bit weird. What I thought were roadblocks were simply the case where I didn’t dig deep enough or search a bit longer to find an answer – specifically on Google. I had a deadline that I’d put out a project by the end of December and was really close but didn’t get to it because I thought there was a limitation of Nitrous.io where I couldn’t install ImageMagick as they didn’t allow sudo privileges, which wasn’t the case at all because it was already available on the platform! My lack of knowledge and competency of the command line shouldn’t have been an excuse and the frustrations I’ve experienced in not understanding what’s going on is toughening my resolve to be more resourceful. Since then I’ve gotten a bit better by checking out Command Line the Hard Way and following along with the tutorials on Treehouse.
Focus on one project at a time
I was also fiddling around with my Learn Rails app which I was trying out how to push to Heroku, but faced some other limitations because I was using the free version. The big lesson here is to focus on one project at a time, rather than spreading yourself over a few projects, even though they might overlap a bit. That focus on a project would be a difference of a few weeks, espcially if you’re learning part time and you get discouraged in the process of learning this stuff. I got into trouble by googling something and thinking it was a good idea to do a git rebase, which also hammers home the point of have a solid understanding of Git.
One Month Rails
The project that I did end up “shipping” was the One Month Rails project. You can check it out at will-pinteresting.herokuapp.com. I’d highly recommend it, if you consider yourself a beginner. Much like other learning to code platforms, the lessons are delivered in bite sized chunks no more than 15 minutes per session and Mattan Griffel (co-founder of One Month Rails) explains things in a way that’s understandable and easy to follow.
While the Pinterest clone is a great primer on shipping a Rails based project, I think One Month Rails would be better served by having different kinds of projects to help a student build up experience and the exposure to different gems and kinds of products they’d eventually like to ship like in ecommerce project, a todo app or having API integrations, which I think is on their roadmap. While I learned to ship the Pinterest-clone project from One Month Rails in a month (in terms of cumulative time spent), I don’t really think anyone who’s finished the course can start shipping their own products from scratch. To get somewhat competent you need to draw experience from shipping multiple projects to build up before you can start hacking on your own stuff from scratch.
Building a Board of Advisors
An idea that popped up that is in its nascent stages is assembling something similar to a board of advisors when you’re learning to code. The idea was crystallized when the ever awesome Zach Aysan offered to help me out a bit at a cafe while he was working on a bit of his own stuff. Essentially having an advisor could span anywhere light mentorship from simply talking to you about what you’re learning and guiding you along the way. Conversely, it can go so far as rolling up their sleeves and teaching you or even pair programming with you if they feel so inclined to. The encouragement and tough love they provide can go a long way to keep up your motivation and momentum, because to be honest, this shit is really hard. So far I have my co-founder from my previous startup who’s offered to help out here and there, and my buddy Gabe who signed up for it even though he doesn’t know it. 🙂