Using The Pragmatic Studio to Get Up to Speed with Ruby and Ruby on Rails

This is a completely unsolicited post; the good folks at The Pragmatic Studio have no idea that a random person on the Internet (me) plans to say nice things about them, but it shouldn’t come as a surprise.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away (almost 15 years ago, and I was in California), I read The Pragmatic Programmer, as you do. I remember thinking something along the lines of “smart! useful! will probably keep this on my shelf for a long time!” And I did, and several years later I realized I had more than a few books from The Pragmatic Bookshelf, like The Agile Samurai, The Passionate Programmer, and Pragmatic Thinking and Learning, among others.

Clearly, there was an ethos there that resonated with me, but I didn’t think anything more about “the Pragmatic folks” until sometime in 2011 when I was reviewing training options for some employees and realized that “the Pragmatic folks” also run a very successful training company. A very good developer whom I managed at the time was an alumna of one of their in-person Ruby on Rails courses and spoke very highly of it. I made some inquiries and unfortunately that course was no longer offered, but I quickly realized that the Pragmatic folks were quietly offering top-notch online, self-paced courses in key development topics.

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Posted in Biz, Techie

How Careers 2.0 (& Workplace.SE) Helped Me Get a Job

(NOTE: Everything below is 100% true except as of May 2015 I no longer work at the company mentioned in the post. I made a move to a larger company with more opportunities.)

I’m not going to lie, this post is primarily for my friends on the Careers 2.0 team at StackExchange. Yes, even you, Account Exec/Sales Rep folks whom I’ve never met but who dutifully favorite or retweet my tweets because Bethany Marzewski tells you to (I kid, I kid. I kid because I love.) I saw enough referrer links from your internal chat rooms that I figured I should say something more!

I recently tweeted that I got a job offer, and that it was a painless process because I used Careers 2.0, and my love for them knows no bounds. That love is true and everlasting—it was just about a year ago I wrote a pretty popular post, “How Careers 2.0 (& not brainteasers) Helped My Hiring Process” (as a manager of software developers, dev ops, QA, UX, etc), and it made the rounds and gave some people some talking points or at least proof that hey, someone gets it.

A few weeks ago I found someone else who also gets it—my soon-to-be-boss. What’s the “it” of which I speak? The dead-simple, no-brainer integration of a candidate’s public writing and peer validation (votes, badges) throughout the StackExchange network of sites. There are other “it”s (see that post I wrote and its comments for my own list) but this is a big one.

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Posted in Biz, Techie

Is this thing still on?

I swear, I’m the worst blogger in the world. I used to do this all the time, back when blogs were shiny and new and apparently we all had all the time in the world. Remember that? 2004 or 2005? Seems like a million years ago.

Anyway, I’m not going to lie—this blog post is an interstitial.

I hate that I’ve allowed my blog to become a place where I say “hey, I have a new job!” (not true) or “hey, I have a new book edition” (not yet true) or “hey, I’m on the job market again” (100% true) and nothing else really interesting. I much prefer my blog to be a space where I profess my undying love for StackExchange (still true), talk about great hiring tools like Careers 2.0 (it’s really good), and wax philosophical about unicorns and code review (I really really believe in embedded code review processes!).

Maybe now, with some free time on my hands, I’ll join the chorus of people singing the praises of Slack, or I’ll talk about two other SaaS tools that I will try very hard to use wherever I go, should architectures allow: Code Climate (static analysis tool) and Semaphore (continuous integration and deployment). I also have really positive things to say about TrueAbility, which allows job applicants to show off their skills through some pretty rigorous online testing. Come to think of it, I’m also bullish on General Assembly, which offers immersive programs as well as short-term courses and workshops, and they don’t suck at all.

I guess I have a lot to say about stuff.

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Posted in Misc Life

I have a new job (& we’re hiring)

(NOTE: Everything below is 100% true except as of April 2014 I no longer work at the company mentioned in the post. I did my part. We built things. I moved on.)

Since I quit my job in June, I spent a few months alternating between taking a break (good) and stressing out about not having an income (bad), taking the time to finish up a long-overdue book edition, and doing some consulting for a few fine folks. I went on the annual family beach vacation, went camping a lot but not nearly enough, and generally tried to figure out what I was going to do next.

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Code Review is an Opportunity for So Much More than Bug Fixes

A recent blog post from the folks at Code Climate (a highly recommended hosted static analysis tool for Rubyists) highlighted a study that found what the researchers deemed “The Unexpected Outcomes Of Code Review”. When I read these “unexpected” outcomes—code improvements, understanding, and communication among colleagues—my initial reaction was “Unexpected? Those are precisely the reason I push hard for an integrated code review process in the first place!”

Then I remembered that I’m apparently a weirdo and have only a rainbows-and-unicorns outlook when forming and wrangling software development teams. Also, that collaborative pedagogy was most certainly beat into me at some point in another life, it takes many forms outside the academy, and the workplace is a pedagogical space. Or at least it should be. It’s more fun that way.

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