Two weeks deep in Rails_

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After two weeks of jumping head first into Ruby on Rails, I am slowly starting to get a hold of it. At the beginning it felt like real chaos, so much information and literally EVERYTHING was new to me. No surprise, as I have absolutely no prior experience in backend programming, and in the front-end I am only sandboxing since half a year. So naturally, the start was a rough one.

The thing with Rails is, that you don’t have the big picture when you start, and that it’s  picture really is BIG, but you need to understand it in order to understand what Rails is doing at all. Following only the written lectures of my CareerFoundry course was not enough. Even though I was able to follow along, and get my exercises approved, I noticed that nothing was really getting into my head. It was like the information was creating a new instance, saved in short term memory, but not creating an entry in the database of my brain, so that I could access it later on (some geek talk here, sorry). I needed a different approach.  I needed to find a way to store data.

Literally.

What helps me most when learning are Video Tutorials.  I actually need someone to speak out loud to me, nice and slow, and when I do text lecture, in order to really follow along, I often need to read out loud as well. So I decided to start Mashrur Hossain’s popular Ruby on Rails course on Udemy.  At the same time, I use Kevin Skoglund’s 10+ hour video course “Ruby on Rails 5 Essential Training” on Lynda.com.

Thanks to both of these resources, I have the feeling that the information does actually get stored somewhere in the database of my brain now. If you hear 4 different resources speaking on how to create CRUD methods and views, or parameters, or models and controllers, or database migrations, and each one explains it to you from a slightly different angle, this just works wonders. What I like about Mashrur’s course, is that it is really step-by-step. Nothing gets generated or scaffolded, everything is written manually wherever possible. This way you really learn what is actually happening behind the scenes. I can highly recommended to any Rails or programming newbie.

Skoglund’s course is fantastic as an additional resource. I wouldn’t be able to use it alone, because it is quite advanced and very thorough, and maybe not providing the baby steps that I need, but if you want to know about Strong Parameters, or Associations, or Routing, and you don’t want to read through an eternal textbook guide, Kevin is your man. Well organized information, clearly explained.

I also use the “Evernote” app to quickly store information that I find somewhere and want to remember later. I realize now how important it is to find your own rhythm, know how it is you learn best and be organized with your material.

I have by now started at least 5 new Apps, and it really is the thing you need to be doing when starting Rails. I certainly don’t have the knowledge stored in a way that I could create a new app from scratch without following a guide, as there is so much to remember and quite a few different ways to do something, but I can feel some fertile ground is being laid in my database-brain-garden.

It takes time, I know, it would be weird if it didn’t. But it starts to be fun. And that’s what’s most important.

Eliane ♥

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Meet Ruby_

I found an apartment in Berlin, I bought almost all necessary furniture, and the dust is slowly settling down. I didn’t realize how much turbulence this whole operation “Berlin” would cause, but it is finally over. From the decision in June to take the step to move to Berlin and become a developer until now: over 3 months of madness. Every day I was out and about, chasing some kind of burocratic decision or walking through IKEA’s exhibition for the n-th time until it felt like I lived there. And although for the last 6 years I was on almost continuous movement and started many times from scratch, this time was the most intense, but also feels like the most definite. Maybe it does have to do with – in a way – coming back to the place where I had started my journey, and it has a slight feeling of closing a circle in my life. I am, in a way, back and facing things that I maybe was escaping then. Not implying that the escape was not necessary, in fact I think it was. Because now I have the strength to face life in a city, and not only be peaceful on a green island with merely sheep as neighbors, but also in a big city. (Fun fact: I actually moved to a very green, partially forested park inside Berlin where sheep and cows live in big meadows. I did not search for it specifically, but life’s magic never ceases to surprise me).

Someone asked me if I miss Ireland. I said ‘no’. They were surprised about the clear answer, but it is true. When you follow your heart and go along with life wherever it takes you, you don’t really look back. Yes of course, my adventures somehow live within me and they made me what I am today – but when your decisions are aligned with your heart, you always know that your decisions are right, so you don’t regret anything, and also you don’t really miss anything. You know that the best always lies ahead.

But let’s get to the coding. So far I am exactly 3 weeks into the Careerfoundry Web Development course and I finished the second achievement, which is my Interactive Portfolio or, at least, the front-end of it. So far the challenges weren’t really new to me, and I could walk through the HTML, CSS, Bootstrap, JavaScript, jQuery and API lessons swiftly, but I have to say that it was very helpful to deepen my understanding and learn a few new things here and there, so I am very happy with it. I also have a great Mentor, which is important for this course.

Anyhow, this evening I started finally what I was looking forward in this course: Ruby on Rails.

I am almost exited. I noticed that I really want to get into the backend now. It is just what I want to do. And I get to do it. So I should humbly say a “Thanks” to life and wish everyone a good week ahead!

Eliane ♥

Mission Berlin 2017

I haven’t really been able to write for quite a while. The reason being: I moved from my quiet country life in Ireland back into the city of Berlin in order to start a new life – and an actual career in tech.

Despite the whole process being somewhat tiring, running through loopholes in buerocracy and copying and printing and scanning and downloading and uploading and filling out all kinds of papers for everrr…. and having little to no money at all, I finally came to a point where I can say:

The worst is over. I made it, I am here.

I managed to apply for Jobseekers benefit and also managed to receive a so called “Bildungsgutschein” (education voucher) which is given by the German government to people who need a short-term career change or reorientation in order to prevent uemployment. They will pay for my three month long full time Web Developer course at careerfoundry.com. Now, this wasn’t all that easy, but a couple of months ago when I started studying web development on my bed in rural western Ireland, this had just been a remote idea. I didn’t even think I would consider moving back to Berlin at all. Yet, here I am, about to start a course which will allow me to really become a professional developer in a short time. What a lucky bastard_ess I am.

And the third and most difficult accomplishment of all: I found an apartment. My own small cute Berlin apartment. After only 2 weeks of searching, I was offered a place. And what’s best about it? It is amidst a green, quiet park where I see squirrels and sheep while still being relatively central and well connected to public transportation. I couldn’t have asked for more.

I also started earning some small money on the side with offering transcription service on fiverr. I already had a handful of clients and it is a good source to make some bucks on the side (tax-free, but fiverr takes 20% of everything, so you do pay some kind of levy).

Unfortunately, I did not have as much time to code as I would have wished. Finding an apartment in Berlin is basically a full-time job. And now there will be a time of signing contracts (flat and developer course) and I hope to be able to move in right before starting the course. And oh, the flat is completely empty! There is not even a lightbulb! But hey, let’s see how this will unfold. What is sure that I feel just ready to start the next challenges.

I have my goals set, at least: Learn Ruby, learn Rails, deepen Javascript and different frameworks, get professional in WordPress and get tonnns of practise!

Eliane ♥

Galway, Git & Guinness

It is done. I quit my job, yesterday was my last day! Here I am, freedom!

Right after work I drove my car, myself and my stuff from Shannon to Galway, where I had booked accommodation on Airbnb for the next week. After that, I have no plans, but I am open to everything! Life, show me your magic! ♥

I arrived in Galway in the evening and it was raining heavily. I decided for a welcome pint in a local Galway pub, which is something I always do when I return to my favourite place in Europe. I went to the Salthouse, famous for crazy beer, and when I sat outside I started chatting with two young Irish guys who were both in tech (one stuying IT/Networking, the other one working as a software programmer). It was great to talk tech with them and I picked up a few new terms I had’t heard before. Then I checked into my Airbnb in Roscom near the sea.

The place is affordable, cosy and the host is very friendly. He even made me breakfast! And not only that – he also turns out to be a recent “Software Development” graduate from GMIT (one of Galway’s Universities). Now I see why it is a brilliant idea for me to hang around this city – because there are so many tech students around I will be able to learn from.

This morning during breakfast, I started chatting with Sean about programming languages. He repeated what the guy from the pub had told me yesterday – about this fancy thing (err… fullstack javascript framework) called “mean”: http://mean.io/

We then came to talk about Git and he confirmed to me how important it is to know how it works.  The conversation turned into a mini tutorial and he helped me to install Git on my computer, showed me how to push the files into the .git folder, how to upload them to Github after and also how to add the changes to the Repository. Yay Sean!

Git

Here is the freshly uploaded Repository of my website on Github: https://github.com/BohemianCodes/BohemianCodes.com

Eliane ♥

Reclaiming my freedom_

It’s something I have been counscious of for a while now: Me and Full Time Jobs, we are not a good match. I am really just forcing myself through the week, day after day, and compromising both health and precious time. Now that I am for real starting to learn actual web development, I realize that I need a lot of time, time, time. One hour coding per day is great, but it is not enough. I already struggle to keep up with studying on lynda.com, on udemy and freeCodeCamp, but additionally I really want to keep my projects going: My little “Hello World” website bohemiancodes.com, this blog, and my “Iarthar” project about Western Ireland which is still in dev mode and has not been looked at for a while.

But I am not writing here to merely complain. I had an idea. It came to me Thursday morning before work, and caused me to arrive half an hour late.

My wish was (and still is, of course) to have as much time of my days and weeks as possible to study and code, as well as to be in nature – because my time in nature nurtures my sense of freedom and happiness, without which  I could not do anything. I was considering taking a part time job somewhere in Ireland, but there are absolutely no part-time jobs available in the whole country. So I had to throw that idea off.

All I need is a desk, a bed and some food. And then it came to me: Why not go back to volunteering on workaway? Maybe someone could use my freshly learnt development skills and would give me a bed and some food in exchange?

I have a workaway.info profile since years, I think it costs 29€ p.a., but it is well worth it. It works like this: As a volunteer you offer your help for around 20-30 hours a week in exchange for a bed (monstly shared room, sometimes private room) and food, but it all depends on the host, the location, availability and so on. I have worked in Costa Rica and Mexico through workaway, and had great experiences!

Alright, let’s have a look. I hopped on the website, entered some keywords and the first profile that came up I wrote a message to – and got a prompt reply. The host owns a traveling business (international trekking) and lives in North-West Ireland. He’d offer me a bed and food in exchange for updating content and cleaning his wordpress.org traveling business blog.

Since that morning, I can breathe better. I don’t feel like I am suffocating anymore. The host said he is in touch with some other workawayers, but I seem perfect. We seem to have a similar way of life as well. It always is a good sign, when both sides have a good feeling about it immediately. It felt like I did not have to make a decision. It seems like the decision had already been taken. My part was just to accept.

It may seem crazy to some people. But life isn’t about security, or smart moves, or even having good plans. It is about being open to the infinity of possibilities, and just about having trust in life. I realized that I had lost some of my trust in life lately, and that is when you start worrying and making yourself miserable. Time to let go of that.

Now, it seems like a leap into the unknown cold waters of the wild is going to be happening in my life (not for the first time). I will give up my apparent security and steady (more or less) income, but will reclaim my freedom, and drive out into the north to study and code, code, code…. and I absolutely love Donegal.

That’s what I am changing my career for in the first place, anyway. That’s what this life is all about: freedom!

Eliane ♥