Tag Archives: ruby on rails

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

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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

True Coding Stories: Nicky Hughes

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Nicky Hughes, WDI Alumni

Meet Nicky Hughes, graduate of General Assembly’s 12-week Web Development Immersive (WDI) program who recently landed a job as a Rails developer at a startup. It is now a family affair — Nicky’s husband was so inspired, that he just enrolled in WDI too. – Mercedes Bent, General Assembly

Eight months ago, I was an architect in Sydney, Australia. After a three-month crash course in web development from General Assembly’s Web Development Immersive (WDI) program in New York City, I’m now proud to call myself a Rails developer, with a full-time job back in my hometown at a tech startup called Tapestry.

Coding and web development weren’t new to me. In high school, I studied coding in Visual Basic, but those skills got tucked away in a corner of my memory as I concentrated my energies on a career in architecture.

Originally viewing it solely as a resource that could come in handy at my current job, I started teaching myself Ruby. However, as I got into it, I quickly began to recall the love for coding I developed in high school, and made the decision to leave architecture in pursuit of a career in web development. In order to do this, I’d need a more comprehensive and structured curriculum than simply learning on my own, so I applied for WDI, traveled across the globe to New York City, and set out to write a blog about the experience called, Nicky on Rails.

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Where Are They Now? Brooks Swinnerton

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Brooks Swinnerton headshot

Meet Brooks Swinnerton, graduate (and now Teaching Assistant) of General Assembly’s 10-week Back-End Web Development course. We sat down with Brooks to find out what inspired him to learn to code, what he’s done with his new skills, and why he returned to GA to pay it forward. Emily Lu, General Assembly

Name: Brooks Swinnerton (@bswinnerton)
Occupation: Systems Administrator, New York University; Teaching Assistant, General Assembly

1. What inspired you to learn back-end web development?

Whenever I ran into a problem or inefficiency, I found myself thinking, “There should be an easier way to do X.” When I couldn’t find a solution, my next thought would be, “I wish I could just create it”. That’s why I decided to learn Ruby on Rails — I wanted the knowledge and power to simplify my life.

Now with these skills, I no longer have to “wish” for a solution; I can create it. I have the freedom to drive the product to exactly where I want it to go, right down to the buttons.

2. What’s something exciting you’ve done with your new Ruby on Rails skills?

Back in March I participated in a five-day event called The Startup Bus. The goal was to build a startup on a bus and launch it 1,800 miles later at SXSW. I applied completely on a whim, and a week later found myself boarding a bus in Union Square with 30 strangers. I took this time to work on my startup idea, Readin.gs. We worked on the bus for 13 hours a day, slept very little and fueled up at Walmarts along the way. It was an insane experience, but made some incredible like-minded friends by the end of the trip.

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5 Steps for Getting Started Coding a Web App

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Keep your goals in sight. You’ve made your resolutions — we want to help you keep them (at least the ones that aren’t food related). That’s why we’ve put together five simple things you can do to get started in Back-End Web Development using Ruby on Rails.

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What Is: Back-End Web Development

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matt-jording

Matt Jording is a software developer and an Instructor at General Assembly (with a great mustache).

Name: Matt Jording (@mjording)
Occupation: Software Developer

1. In 140 characters or less, what is back-end web development?

It’s the structure that allows information to be shared across accounts or people. It’s the glue that binds the internet together.

2. If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be ______?

If a website were a plant, back-end web development would be the root system. It’s the component that provides the energy (food and water, in this instance) that powers the plant and enables it to grow.

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Technically Speaking: Ruby on Rails

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Whether you’re a rapper who’s become too rich and powerful, or a web framework that’s become popular beyond anyone’s expectations, one thing is true: haters gonna hate. This is the case with Ruby on Rails, perhaps more so than any other topic in the developer community in recent years. It’s the code messiah, or it’s worthless – everyone has their opinion. In any event, Ruby on Rails powers many of the web’s most popular services – Airbnb, Groupon, and Hulu to name a few – and is at the heart of at least 250,000 other sites on the internet. Let’s dive in and take a closer look at what it is.

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On Learning to Code, pt. 3: Resources to Teach You Rails in a Month

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Since I find the process of memorizing by looking at the same material over and over again extremely tedious, I’ve developed my own method, which involves finding a handful of introductory classes online and speeding through them really quickly. When I was in college, I used to download podcasts of the same courses I was taking but at different universities, like Berkeley or Stanford. Then I’d listen to the podcasts while I was on the subway or walking around. It turned out that my approach eliminated hours of studying I would have had to do otherwise, and teachers love it when you’re able to bring in a unique perspective that wasn’t covered in class.

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