Do you remember your first steps in Ruby on Rails? Can you recall your first line of code? For a while, let's go back to the good old days.
My Rails path.
My first blog post. I should be nervous and wonder how to write it, but in fact, I’m not. I got used to the state where everything is new to me, and every new task seems like astrophysics, so I will cut right to the meat and tell you what this post is going to be about. If you are looking for advanced code, and some enlightening Rails advice that’s not a post for you. This is one of these “me” posts where I write about myself and my Rails path and what led me to this point. If I didn’t discourage you enough yet and you've decided to stay with me maybe you will get some new interesting perspective on RoR.
This is a post on how I started my Rails way (or the way of the warrior as I sometimes call it).
To make a long story short, I graduated from the University of Physical Education majoring in Tourism and Recreation and worked in this field for quite some time. It was fun for a while, but then I had a serious sport injury (ultimate frisbee, yay!), where I broke both of my hands and it prevented me from doing my job for a few months so I lost it. I was wondering what to do next with my life when my friend (props to Wojtek Ogrodowczyk!) who is an experienced RoR programmer asked me:
Why don’t you try web developing? Ruby on Rails is great and you can handle it.
My first thought was that I’ve never programmed in my life (except two classes of Turbo Pascal in high school), and I won't be able to do this magic, but Wojtek convinced me that he could teach me. So, while he was working, (he was a freelancer at that time) I was undergoing some tutorials and many things were explained to me. In this way, my adventurous nature prevailed and I've decided to jump right in. It was a shocking moment, especially when I found out I had to change my OS cause like most people I was using Windows. First, Wojtek showed me some basics of HTML. I was amazed when I made a “website” where the only element was a picture of a beaver, and when one clicked it, was transferred to a comic page about weirdo beaver. Yeah...
I felt like a wizard of some kind.
Some more challenging tasks emerged (beside learning why this hellish Linux thing isn’t just click on stuff, but you have to use this console thing). I started Rails lessons and at the beginning I was doing fine: I have proudly made my first 'Hello World' page.
But then, a lot of confusion came, mostly because of TDD. In that tutorial the author was doing TDD so he wanted me to write tests first and then actual code. I couldn’t understand all of this and the hardest part was that I was a beginner without any programming background, so I didn’t know how my code would actually work. I had to experiment with it first and - eventually then - write this confusing test part. It took me a while and three attempts to understand the role of those tests and separate them from the rest of the code in my mind.
After half year of learning, explaining and actually having a lot of fun in Rails (it’s really exciting to create something from scratch and be able to see it working) I got hooked and realized that I really enjoy doing this, so I’ve decided to look for a job. I applied to Prograils and I was given my first project as a trial, especially that I didn’t have any proper education. Luckily, Maciej has decided to give me a chance. He said that task was easy and it should have been done in a week. Of course, it wasn’t that easy and I haven't done it in a week, but what I have actually done was good enough for Maciej, so I stayed and finished this app (nice part - it was a real project, some of you might have used it to get ticket invoices for Wroclove.rb 2014 conference). Later on I got new projects and kept growing as a programmer, learning new things everyday.
Something that I used to think as a pure magic became a logical process.
My friends ask me a lot: “How did you do it? How did you become a wizard without university training?”. My response is always the same - by learning and putting some effort. I always encourage them to learn it, because it’s fun, and it might be a job that gives one a lot of satisfaction. So, for everyone who is for some reason hesitating or afraid of trying Ruby and Rails, my advice is - go for it! If you won’t like it, then you don’t have to proceed, but it’s worth giving a shot.
I did, and I got hooked.