blog article

7 Tips to Jumpstart Your Career as a Rails Developer

Kristin Hoppe

Written By Kristin Hoppe

Last updated on December 18, 2015

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So, you think becoming a web developer is the right path for you?

You’ve got great instincts, because Ruby is a great place to start. Ruby on Rails is a popular full-stack framework for good reason. This nimble language is easy to use and beautiful, but most of all — powerful. Companies like AirBnB, and Basecamp power their websites through it, and it’s renowned for its accessibility to beginners.

Ready to dive in? Here are seven tips on how to launch into your new career as a full stack developer.

1. Give it a test drive first

If you’re interested in becoming a developer, maybe you’ve dabbled in some programming languages already. It’s pretty common for people to test drive front-end languages like HTML and CSS, but have you experimented with a back-end language yet? There are plenty of resources out there to try, like Learn’s free intro track.

The bottom line: It never hurts to give it a try and see if this type of programming makes you tick. Not to mention, building your own app will probably be a whole lot of fun.

2. Find the right program for you

Once you’ve committed some time to programming, it’s important to research which program will fit your needs. Since you’re already on CourseReport, it looks like you’ve taken that first step — congrats! Now for the tough questions: Are you looking for an in-person immersive, or would online learning work well for you? What are your time and budget constrictions? Course Report will help you figure the facts. There are also some posts on Quora that stack up the differences objectively as well.

3. Get cozy with Ruby

Once you’ve decided which program is right, be prepared to really give this your all. You should be living, drinking, breathing, and thinking Ruby. Cozy up to it and make it your best friend. Pass your nights hanging out together. The best part is, this will be a very reciprocal relationship — what you get out of it will be proportionate to your effort and passion. The first time you build out a fully functioning app and deploy it, it will be a high you’ll never be able to recover from until you do it again. Embrace this, and keep finding the fun in it!

4. Learn your frameworks

This is important — but it’s also important not to get too ahead of yourself. Consider frameworks as an integral part of the Ruby on Rails pyramid, but one that is near the middle/top. You need to build a rock solid foundation first, and that foundation comes from learning Ruby itself. Once you’ve gotten to a solid level, you’ll be able to leverage frameworks in a much more powerful and meaningful way.

5. Build up your portfolio

Think of it this way — if you started applying for photography work, do you think new clients would believe in your skill and experience if you only had a few photos to show them? Much like an art portfolio, having a record of all the work you’ve done in programming is pivotal to acing that interview. So, how do you go about that? Enter the magic of GitHub. Commit all of your work as you learn, and not only will you have a robust portfolio, but you’ll have proof that you can use industry standard tools like a champ.

Make sure the program you choose to go through integrates this throughout the lessons, or you’ll be regretting all that lost work you could have showcased later on.

6. Make connections in the community

Crafting your skills is a highly valuable use of your time. So is networking, just in a different way. Making connections in the tech community can benefit you in myriad ways — from finding a mentor who will help you, to meeting future employers. By attending meetups in your area, you’ll have a VIP pass to the tech world. You’ll also learn new ways people are using technology, which may inspire you to innovate on your own.

7. Keep honing your skills

Code is not designed for people who don’t enjoy continually learning. The languages and frameworks will always be changing, and there will always be other languages to learn on top of the ones you already know. Embrace this, and you’ll find untold joy in your work for years to come.

When it comes down to it, you’ll have to work hard and show passion to become a rails developer. It won’t be easy, but it certainly will be rewarding.


Are you interested in becoming a developer?

Take a free intro track to Ruby here, or check out Learn’s Full Stack Web Development Program.


About The Author

Kristin Hoppe

Kristin Hoppe

Kristin is a writer, traveler, and Flatiron School enthusiast. You can follow her on Twitter @KristinHoppe .

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