I’ve been meaning to get back to blogging for awhile. Now I will finally do it – over 3 months since my last entry… So a quick update: a few weeks after Coding Dojo ended, I ended up back at the educational research company I was at before Coding Dojo, but in a split role half in my old job and half in their web development group. It worked out very nicely, and I’m so excited to actually be working as a web developer. I continue to devote a lot of my free time to learning more, and that’s where I want the focus of the blog to mostly be. My “coding road” continues…
Overall, I feel like there’s just so so so much out there. So many different topics, so many great materials available, it’s just a matter of picking what to work on and finding the time to work on it. I have an incredibly long list of things I want to do, and I’m just trying to take them one step at a time without getting too overwhelmed by all of the zillions of things I want to learn. For now my focus has largely been on Rails since that’s what my job mostly is and is what I would want to focus on anyway for now. Which is somewhat notable in and of itself. People had always asked me where specifically I wanted to focus before and during Coding Dojo, and I never had an answer because at that point I was interested in learning some about a bunch of different topics and then seeing what most drew me in. At Coding Dojo we spent so much time early on on PHP that I started building confidence there and getting used to that, and then starting Rails back then was a weird, new thing. But little by little I’ve gotten really into Rails and understanding “The Rails Way” and also the Ruby language itself, and now I kind of don’t want to touch PHP anymore (which generally is a fairly popular sentiment). :-) Though I still am very grateful to have learned PHP first because I think if I went straight to Rails, I wouldn’t understand a lot of what Rails makes happen for you.
So the first big thing I did after Coding Dojo was to go through Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails tutorial. Everyone had told me it was a great resource, and it definitely was. It’s pretty long, and it walks you all the way through creating a Twitter-ish web app. It was the right level for me – it may be a bit too much for someone brand new to Rails – but it solidified my knowledge in certain areas and taught me lots of new things, or at least made me familiar with new Rails topics that I didn’t know much about before. The best part for me was that it creates the entire app using test-driven-development writing tests in Rspec and goes over the general philosophy and workflow of testing first, which was new to me but is very important. And a highlight for me was that in the middle of my working my way through the tutorial, I got to see Michael Hartl speak at a Learn2Code conference, so that was pretty neat – to actually see in real life the person who I’d been listening to for hours on end.
Then the next thing I’ve been doing is working my way through some of the Ruby/Rails classes on Code School, and yet again, I’m pretty blown away by the quality. Code School is more game-like than say Udacity, and each course has around 6 levels with a video per level and then challenges after the video to test what you’ve learned. The courses have themes to them like a whole sequence of Rails for Zombies courses that are zombie themed and Ruby Bits which is old-school video game themed. And each course has a little jingle that starts off each video in the course, which is pretty fun. Again the level of the material is pretty right on for me, and some of the content in the later courses looks maybe a little advanced for me but it’s good to gain familiarity with those complex topics, even if I don’t fully understand them the first time through. I’ve been through a few courses up til now and have a whole bunch more I want to do, and I’ve learned a lot of new things or again solidified existing knowledge, and it’s been fun doing it. I’m definitely pretty impressed with Code School.
So that’s all for now. I’ll try to get back in the habit of blogging semi-frequently. Definitely not as much as when I was at Coding Dojo, but hopefully more often than every 3 months… :-)