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Coding after 40: Learning Ruby

Programmer, humorist. Ruby on Rails padawan. Building signalfive, a privacy conscious ad-free social platform.
・2 min read

I've been learning Ruby for a few weeks now. With the basics of Java under my belt I've found it somewhat easier to come to grips with, and I'm just now starting to get into Rails.

Ruby is a really fun language. Less verbose than Java, and (IMHO) less confusing than JavaScript, I can see where the design of Ruby was made to be a "joy" to use, it certainly feels that way. No semi-colons, no curly braces, hardly any parentheses.

The Complete Ruby Developer Course on Udemy

There are far less good choices on Udemy for ruby/rails than probably any other language, I'm happy to say this one, while older, is being updated. By older, I just mean that a lot of it covers rails 5, but even in its current state is quite strong.

The author walks through the basics of ruby, and if you've done the basics in any other language this is going to be cake once you remember to put 'end' at the end instead of a } lol.

The entire course goes through 5 different complete web apps that cover everything from password authentication to logging in, creating admin accounts, pretty much everything you'd expect to know how to do as a Ruby developer.

list of the apps:
-A blog site
-A "university" style app
-A chat application
-A finance tracker
-A photo app

All really solid apps that could be edited and used on a portfolio site. One of the things I really love about this course is after each video there's notes for the previous version that gives you the gist of the video. For instance after the git video, the notes have commands and short cuts you'll need. You could print these and keep a notebook.

I highly recommend not doing this course using the online ide if you can, unless you absolutely need to for some reason. Set up a local environment. I'm using Visual Studio Code. Most of what the instructor does is transferrable anyway, so it's not too difficult.

what I've done so far

I've gone through all the basics. I'm no expert, but I'm comfortable with them. I'm using to practice. Edabit has more than just ruby exercises so just about anyone can find exercises to do.

I'm currently working through the rails portion, building out the blog site. Rails to me is a lot easier to learn than android (which I tried to learn but had trouble grasping. A lot more moving parts). I'm planning on spending a lot more time with Ruby. While rails has a bit of a learning curve, it seems a lot less steep.

I can't believe I'm almost halfway through another 100 days. I'm going to spend the next 50 days on Ruby and Rails. By far it's the most fun I've had coding.

Discussion (10)

eclecticcoding profile image

Keep at Drew. I am 58 years old and learned Ruby and Rails at Flatiron 6 months ago. Loved it. I am looking for my first DEV job. You are never too old. Your passion can be fun. Keep motivated.

andevr profile image
drew Author

Keep me posted on the job search. Are you looking specifically for Rails jobs?

kuddleman profile image

No, not at all.

I'm interested in react as well

kuddleman profile image

Hey, Drew:

You and I have a lot in common. I'm 59 years old and learning coding at Flatiron School in San Francisco. Would love to compare notes sometime. Donny

bjorngrunde profile image
Björn Grunde

Keep going, Drew!
When I started studying CS at the university, there were this guy that was so much older than everyone else. Most of us were between 18 and 23 and this guy was 43. He had worked in a kiosk his whole life, serving and cooking different kinds of fast food. One day he decided he had enough and started his BS in CS.

He proved to be invaluable for the students. At my University, student organizations were divided by subject, so CS majors had their org, Law had their and doctors and nurses had their org and so on.

Whit his life experience and knowledge of running a company he changed our student org from broke, drunk and clueless students to an organization that co-operates with it-companies in that town. We hade everything from code camps to visiting companies to see how they worked, to recruitment days. It was amazing.

Now 9 years later he is working as a system engineer for a big company.

So from my experience, even if you first land a junior dev role, you probably will bring a lot more to the table than you think :)

andevr profile image
drew Author

Thanks for the encouragement, that is really great to hear. I wanted to be one of those "six months into a dev job" guys, but I realized it was going to take me longer so I decided coding every day would be more important over the long run than how quickly I get hired. I'd be just fine with a junior job :)

aweysahmed profile image
Aweys Ahmed • Edited

Thanks for sharing this. Ruby is a great language to use. Once you have completed the Udemy course, I highly recommend using thoughtbot

They have free resources on improving your ruby and rails skills.

Good luck on your journey.

andevr profile image
drew Author

Thank you, I'll definitely check it out. I'm already trying to stockpile good ruby resources.

ben profile image
Ben Halpern

Good luck! I know several Rubyists with similar stories.

jamesroyston profile image
james royston 🐳

Hi Drew. Glad you’re learning Ruby, it’s a great language. I am a 25yo dad of 2 and I remember the struggle trying to learn to code while working full-time and struggling to make enough money to feed the family. I remember receiving some advice about 4 months into my coding journey from a now-friend at the first and only meetup I ever attended. He told me to start building projects. At the time I had completed a few tutorials (one udemy course, another couple online short courses, and free code camp) but didn’t feel like I really understood what I was doing still. I took on the projects offered on freecodecamp and very quickly moved onto the Odin Project’s JavaScript curriculum to tackle their projects. 6 months went by doing that. By the end, I had built a portfolio with several toy apps, and gained a lot of exp getting in the thick of it. I landed my first job after 11 months of self-study.

By the looks of it, you’ve been around the block with regards to tutorials. I have a good feeling you’d be able to whip up a few projects and a portfolio pretty quickly. That portfolio, and how you market yourself, will ultimately get you where you want to go- pretty quickly. Good luck to you. I don’t know you, but I’m proud of you and your progress. You sound like a kickass, hardworking Dad.