Switching Industries: Looking for advice/help

Hello All,

I’m currently working in the medical equipment research and development
industry and I’m looking to switch industries to become a Rails
developer. I’ve been focusing on getting to know Ruby for the past
couple months and am feeling fairly comfortable with it. I want to start
moving on and start on Rails now, but want some people’s opinions on
where to start.

How’d you all get started?
Did any of you switch industries in to Rails development?

I’d be very interested in talking to someone who did switch industries
successfully after studying Ruby/Rails independently. I’m a quick
learner so picking up all these languages isn’t a problem and just takes
time, but I would really like some advice on how to reach that end goal
of actually landing a job as a Rails developer (freelance work, where I
should be before I START looking for freelance jobs, developing a Rails
portfolio, etc.).

Seeing someone else’s Rails portfolio would be a huge help!

Thanks in advance!

Awesome! Thanks Dave. What about some books that anyone has found really
helpful? Doesn’t even have to be rails specifically, anything would


On Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 2:54 PM, Patrick S. [email protected]

I’d be very interested in talking to someone who did switch industries
successfully after studying Ruby/Rails independently.

Check out http://joshuakemp.blogspot.com – he used to be a farrier!

(I didn’t switch industries myself; I’ve always been a dev, tho
previously mostly non-web.)


Dave A., freelance software developer (details @ www.Codosaur.us);
see also www.PullRequestRoulette.com, Blog.Codosaur.us, www.Dare2XL.com


I am currently studying hard to switch careers also. I’m currently a
musician (drummer) and am learning on my own. I have found a lot of
resources online and many great books already. I was planning on writing
blog post about that so I’ll try to do that soon. Keep an eye out at

A few things you could try:

Some nice online courses:

Some books:

  • Rails 4 in Action
  • RubyonRails tutorial by Michael H.
  • Learn To Program by Chris P.

And I am currently just starting to build stuff, which is actually one
the best thing to do. I am now building this site
what actually will be of great help in managing learning resources.

Hope this helps.



Op dinsdag 29 april 2014 20:54:56 UTC+2 schreef Ruby-Forum.com User:

Interesting story. I can tell you are in the same boat as myself.
I am moving on from the oil industry with background in geophysics into
starting our own small IT company with a friend (our products are mainly
build on Ruby+Rails). My interest for RoR
started 2-3 years ago and I have since learned a LOT and still learning.

Some pages for I use for inspiration and learning:

Now… coming back to this mailing-list I hope you can teach me more and
that I might contribute. (to some of the easier questions :))

Ole from norway

IMO, the single most important thing to switch to becoming a
developer is to understand how to structure and break down problems
into solvable software components. To me, this far more important than
learning any particular language, as designing solutions to problems
is at the heart of software development.

That said, there aren’t that many sources for learning sort of thing.
Latest book I’ve seen that seems to do a good job is “Think Like a
Programmer” by V. Anton Spraul

On Thu, May 1, 2014 at 10:42 AM, Ole Ingemann Kjørmo

Lynda.com has some good courses in fundamentals of object oriented

I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one. I’m an operations manager for a
natural food manufacturer who through his working career discovered a
for databases (i really like to normalize data - if you have some data
needs, let me know) and after a bunch of fits and starts with asp, php,
etc…i finally (at 40) found ruby and ruby on rails. It’s tough going
because of the amount of hours I work but it helps to know there are
out there.

I learned ruby first using various tutorials, ruby the hard way is an
excellent free online resource, the pragmatic video course is always
as was pines programming book from the pragmatic book shelf. For Rails
trying to get through Hartl’s tutorial again (about a year ago I got
halfway through but left it off for a variety of reasons and needed to
start over). I have built some ruby apps that download and parse nba
information from ESPN.com (but not perfectly - nees some tweaking beyond
me) but I find the biggest issue is finding something to build for a

One person of advice is that i’d avoid the agile rails book from

  • they use scaffolds - i don’t like scaffolds and feel they create more
    code than you need if you really know what you’re doing.

I have lots of web site ideas but most of them are ‘complex’ ideas -
anyone have any suggestion on a good ‘first project’ idea? I mean even
when i get into designing a more robust blog system I get bogged down in
threaded replies, and the idea of formatting text with an easy editor -
brain won’t stop thinking ahead.

If there’s any other career switchers out there like this maybe we could
form our own little ‘group’ to help each other out?

I used to be a bookstore manager. I switched to an computer repair
technician, now I’m mostly a programmer. A couple of resources that
helped me are:


I return to these over and over again to help keep my coding clean and
to learn more.

However, learning to deploy an app is a whole new set if learning. There
are so many ways to do it. I have taken to setting up my own virtual
private servers so I know exactly what is installed and deploying to
that. Contact me off forum if you want some direction there.

Railscasts.com is an excellent resource. The one person behind
took a hiatus a few months ago and has not returned just yet so he’s
offering people who sign up now to pay the monthly subscription fee ($9
USD) just once and you get access to all the railscasts and there won’t
another charge until he comes back (if he does)

It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one out there! I’m still just
at the beginning of switching paths, but I’ve been working my tail off.
I’ve become addicted to ProjectEuler.com and it’s helping a lot. It’s
great practice using the kind of mindset Tamouse was speaking of.

I think my next step is to get a domain. I’d like to host it myself with
Linode so I’m devoting some time to learning linux/Ubunto/Apache. I’ve
got some great resources now thanks to everyone and some direction.
Thank you all!

I’m all for creating kindof a career switching group. It’d help to pool
resources together in one spot somewhere.

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