Discovering Ruby on Rails

Discovering Ruby on Rails

When I started at Synaptian a couple months ago, I had quite honestly never even heard of Ruby or Rails. I had no idea what I was diving into, and as a budding programmer who has always had a distaste for web design, I had no idea why I was accepting an internship that involved using a programming language that was completely foreign to me, and doing something I had already found I didn't particularly like. I was mostly interested in expanding my portfolio.

What happened still astounds me. I attended a Ruby on Rails bootcamp, run by Nate and Chris, and was given a head start into this new and unfamiliar language. I learned just how helpful and “magical” (a preferred term by enthusiasts!) Rails can be. Typing out or copying the same HTML code over and over was a thing of the past. The concept of DRY is a new favorite of mine. It stands for Don't Repeat Yourself. Because who wants to do that?

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Should a developer be a jack of all trades… or not?

Should a developer be a jack of all trades… or not?

As a freelancer or small development group, a common piece of advice is to focus and not try to be a jack-of-all-trades, as that hinders clients from finding you. My advice is to take that one step further: try to calculate an expected value from a technology in order to determine where to focus. But keep in mind the size of the market: while it is helpful to be a big fish in a small pond, if the pond is too small, you’ll starve from lack of food.

In probability, an expected value is found by multiplying the probability of an event with the value of that event to determine an expected ‘payout’. For software development, I find the following equation helpful: number of jobs/size of competition pool * average hourly rate, i.e., with all other things being equal, what is an expected payout for a given technology.

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