I now write on Medium here. You can find some of my old essays below.

A Few Notes on Learning Rails

In the spirit of eating your own dog food, I took General Assembly's Intro to Rails this past fall. The whole process of learning Rails by trying out pretty much every online tool available led me to a few thoughts: 0) Prior knowledge is rarely clear-cut. I've done some combination of front-end development, game development and transactional SQL in the past. Most of which didn't help and possibly hurt my efforts to learn Rails. Many people I meet have similar quasi-technical backgrounds and are never sure where to start learning. It's important not to skip things just because you think you've seen it before.

1) You have to be passionate about what you're building. I don't think anyone can learn to code in the abstract, bouncing from one generic example to another. But...

2) You can be too passionate. Your first, second, third and twentieth attempt to build something will all suck. It may be easier to get started if you're not building the end-all-be-all personal project to end all projects. Instead, build something to solve a really simple personal problem without any (obvious) commercial potential.

3) Embrace de-leveraging. You can't walk in with a mindset that you're just going to learn enough to know how to hire someone to do the hard work. While you may end up doing that, for the moment, you're de-leveraging and writing the code yourself.