Career change: becoming RoR dev

Hi all,
I’m 27 and worked in the sysadmin field for about five years now. I’ve
been using Ruby to help me for the past two-three years, and I started
with Ruby on Rails, albeit slowly, over a year ago.

I’d like to make the switch to becoming a full-time Rails dev, but I
can’t devote much free time to developing the skills and experience
required to comfortably say “Take me for a Senior position”. Most of my
free time is spent studying and teaching martial arts, something which I
would not trade for the world.

If location could be a concern, I live on Long Island, so I’m not too
far from NYC.

My question to you is, how would you recommend going about effecting
this transition? Any steps, ideas, advice?

I’d like to make the switch to becoming a full-time Rails dev, but I
can’t devote much free time to developing the skills and experience
required to comfortably say “Take me for a Senior position”.

So, just to ensure I’m clear - are you asking for shortcuts to be able
to
get you straight in to a senior position - or just after hints to
improve so
you may take a non-senior position and work up to it?

Most of my
free time is spent studying and teaching martial arts, something which I
would not trade for the world.

I feel you, I love teaching Taekwondo…

My question to you is, how would you recommend going about effecting
this transition? Any steps, ideas, advice?

Practice. Start thinking of small, useful ideas and launch sites for
them.
They could be small sites (dynamically generated) with documentation,
or
search engine automation/mashups. You then get to practice automated
testing, deployment, development.

Set up a github account and make some gems/plugins and put them on there
for
potential employers to find.

Start trying to help people on here - I always found that in putting
forward
help to those just coming in helped solidify my own learning, sometimes
I
was right (and got a hearty thanks), sometimes I was wrong (and got the
chance to learn when a more senior developer chimed in). Either way,
you’re
getting value. Soon you’ll be at a point when you can do everything and
easily answer questions in interviews (and then you can give more back).

It boils down to learn, practice, teach - the same as in martial arts,
each
stage has it’s own learnings and each is important.

Cheers,

Andy

Andy J. wrote:

So, just to ensure I’m clear - are you asking for shortcuts to be able
to
get you straight in to a senior position - or just after hints to
improve so
you may take a non-senior position and work up to it?

Well, if you happen to know black magic, I’ll buy a shortcut for 400;
otherwise, the proper way to do things would suit me just fine :slight_smile:

Most of my
free time is spent studying and teaching martial arts, something which I
would not trade for the world.

I feel you, I love teaching Taekwondo…
Ooh… Where do you teach? (I know, we’re going off-topic!)

Practice. Start thinking of small, useful ideas and launch sites for
them.
They could be small sites (dynamically generated) with documentation,
or
search engine automation/mashups. You then get to practice automated
testing, deployment, development.
nod

Set up a github account and make some gems/plugins and put them on there
for
potential employers to find.
http://github.com/Trevoke :slight_smile:

Start trying to help people on here - I always found that in putting
forward
help to those just coming in helped solidify my own learning, sometimes
I
was right (and got a hearty thanks), sometimes I was wrong (and got the
chance to learn when a more senior developer chimed in). Either way,
you’re
getting value. Soon you’ll be at a point when you can do everything and
easily answer questions in interviews (and then you can give more back).

It boils down to learn, practice, teach - the same as in martial arts,
each
stage has it’s own learnings and each is important.

Understood :slight_smile: And as far as the search for a position, it’s … Standard
operating procedure?

I feel you, I love teaching Taekwondo…
Ooh… Where do you teach? (I know, we’re going off-topic!)

I’m an assistant instructor at a club in Stevenage, Herts, UK. I used
to
have my own club for a few years, but now just help out/deputise.

Understood :slight_smile: And as far as the search for a position, it’s … Standard
operating procedure?

Yep, contact the pimps (agencies).

Cheers,

Andy

Given your sys admin skills you could join a small company and be a
sysadmin
/ developer and use that to get you skills then either become full time
developer or move on with a CV that says developer.

I seem to be going the other way :slight_smile:

Andy J. wrote:

I feel you, I love teaching Taekwondo…
Ooh… Where do you teach? (I know, we’re going off-topic!)

I’m an assistant instructor at a club in Stevenage, Herts, UK. I used
to
have my own club for a few years, but now just help out/deputise.

Very nice :slight_smile: Wish it were on my side of the pond, I love meeting fellow
martial artists.

Thanks for the advice. I’ll just keep digging!

I have to agree here; your strongest skill is one that is often lacking
in
Rails developers.

You should be building an online ‘portfolio’, but if I were you, I’d
focus
on deployment and testing for value add to companies.


Jeremy C.
http://twitter.com/jeremychase

On Tue, Mar 9, 2010 at 10:58 AM, Peter H. <

I don’t know about NYC, but in Romania there is a great need for
senior RoR developers, and one year could be enough, specially with
your sysadmin background. If you have a few big(ish) projects in your
portfolio, I’m sure you will have no trouble in US. Also try to find a
small company with challenging projects. Even if you get slightly
less, the experience you gain could make you a sought for RoR expert
in the near future.
Good luck with it, and I hope you find your dream job soon.

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