Author Archives: Mark Walker

Learning Ruby-On-Rails at General Assembly: One Year Later



It was mid-November last year that I graduated from General Assembly’s Ruby-on-Rails backend course.  Since then, I’ve built and launched my first startup, a marketplace for conference videos, called Xavy.

Before joining the course, I had massive reservations about whether I would actually be able to code.  I’d tried and failed to learn independently at least three times before.  I have always studied humanities subjects and avoided logic or maths wherever possible. My family and friends thought I was joking when I told them what I planned on doing, the response generally being “but you’re not remotely technical!”

Well, I took the course and succeeded in learning to code, so thank you GA for helping me learn the technical skills I needed to start executing on the vision I had for Xavy.

However, you can’t learn everything in 8 weeks, so here are some of the technical lessons I’ve learned since graduating, which could prove useful to anyone else taking the course:

There’s no substitute for hard work.

If you expect to turn up to class, do the 2 x 2 hour lessons each week and be a decent programmer 8 weeks later, you will probably not get the results you want.  I put in a lot of additional hours between classes, and particularly in the early days, it’s important to build your ‘muscle memory’ for the key concepts until they become second nature. Continue reading