What you need in order to become a Ruby on Rails developer

I often get asked and see forum/blog post asking this question (or some variation of it):

"What do I need in order to start Ruby on Rails development?"

The following may not apply to all. But, face it. Admit it. There can be only one way. So, just follow this simple step to more joy and bliss. Here is the step to take. Yes, there is only one step.

Grow some balls

You need . . . To leave your crappy job. To admit that the technology platform you committed the last 5 years to is crap. To be happy about what you do everyday. To realize that the boss you hate really deserves it and doesn't deserve to continually make money off your efforts. To wake up and smell the Ruby.

Also, you need to stop drinking with your worthless "buddies". And, start spending some time learning Ruby, and Rails.
"But, but, but . . . those are my budz, my free time, my weekends . . . wha, wha, whahaaa".
Forget that! Those bums aren't going to help make you great. If that is your concern, then just stop reading now.

So, tell me about your balls growthage

"But, that's easy for you to say. I am in (insert some worthless excuse here) . . . blah, blah, blabbity, blah, blah . . ."

So, before you start thinking that I am just blowing smoke, here is my testimony.

I started in Java development. Became an expert in the IBM WebSphere stuff (when I started with it, it was all MQ this, MQ that). Grew into "Systems Architect", "Project Manager" . . . (insert whatever title you want here). Discovered it was boring as heck keeping track of people's hours and arguing over requirements with a client. Start to learn Rails. And, here's the key part. Wait for it . . .

I LEFT my job to do Rails. I took a pay cut (about 12%). I left all that "expertise" that I built up behind. I did all this with a wife, a one year old daughter (at the time), and a mortgage, and school debt.

That's some Rambo-esque courage! But, you can do it too!

What's the technology that you left behind?

Java. No, wait. More specifically, J2EE enterprise software integration. That means taking some stupid vendor software, like (insert stupid enterprise vendor software here . . . I'm looking at you Documentum), and making it fit into the business no matter what.

What to read

Ok, after you have done Step 1, you can read ALL of the following. Then, send me a 2-page report.

I am too lazy to provide links. So, you just Google it. Also, this list is current as of this date. It is what I would recommend someone to read as they start with Rails. Some of them are coding books. But, others are not.

  • Getting Real

  • The Ten Faces or Innovation

  • Beyond Java

  • From Java to Ruby

  • Extreme Programming

  • Rails Way

  • Ruby Way

  • Web Standards Solutions

I left off the two "Bibles" of Ruby and Rails. I have those. Both are good. But, I do not regularly use them. So, they are left off the list.

There are only two blogs/podcasts to subscribe to that are worth the time:

  • RailsCasts

  • Rails Envy

It's not code, it's passion

Enough said. If you want to discuss, you know where to find me. Out!

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