Learning Ruby on Rails (Continued)

Interested in learning Ruby on Rails? Check out an earlier post that offers background information and resources. Remember, Ruby on Rails is not impossible to learn. Read more about how to further develop your RoR skills. 

  • Go out and build a web application from scratch! - Now that you have a sample app built and fully customized the next step is to go out and build a web application from scratch. In order to stay motivated I would suggest that you build something that you’re passionate about. If you’re a cat lover build an app that allows you and your friends to share and like the cutest cat photos you can find on the web. If your goal is to start a blog, instead of signing up for a Wordpress or Tumblr account, why not build your own from scratch? You could even allow user signups and create your own open source blogging platform. 
  • Take a course - If self-study is not your thing or if you feel like you need further instruction then taking a course is something that you may find very useful. The upside to courses is that they provide structure and access to instructors that can help you through the curriculum and make sense of tough concepts. There are different web development schools that provide affordable alternatives to spending two to four years in college or graduate school to learn programming. One is example is Startup Institute, which has a web development course. I have also taught there and hosted a meetup event. 
  • Know what resources are available to you - Rails is huge and no one expects you to remember every command, directory or method baked into it. That’s why knowing where to go for a quick reference is important. The Rails Guides are always a good place to go for a refresher when you need to quickly look up how to set up an association or generate a migration. If you need to know more about a particular method or class in the Rails framework then the Rails API documentation is also an excellent resource. A good reference for the Ruby programming language is the Ruby documentation housed at ruby-doc.com. Here you will find descriptions and examples of pretty much all of the key Ruby methods and features. You will also find a free copy of Programming Ruby, which is arguably the definitive guide on the Ruby. If you’re stumped on a how to do something in Ruby or Rails a good place to go to ask questions is Stack Overflow. Chances are a solution to your problem exists on this forum. If not you can ask your question and someone will more than likely be able to help you out. 
  • Get active in the community! - The Rails community in New York (and other cities) is huge and there are plenty of awesome Ruby meetups that you can attend to network and hear talks from thought leaders in both the Ruby and Rails communities. Two of the largest and most active Ruby meetups in New York are NYC.rb and NYC on Rails but there are other good ones like Hacker Hours and Ruby Blind that are geared toward newbies. If you’re looking to find a community of people that you can learn to code with while on your coding journey you should definitely check out Code Crew (full disclosure, I am one of the organizers of this meetup) where you can attend a workshop, sign up for a study group or just come out and hack. 

As always, code long, code strong!

Jamal started learning how to code a little less than a year ago and currently works as a fullstack web developer at a startup in SoHo. When Jamal’s not helping people learn how to code through Code Crew sessions, you can find him blogging his inspirations or shooting street photography and short documentary films around the five boroughs. Say hello on Twitter, @jsogarro.