Reinventing Yourself

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Are you new to the world of Ruby on Rails, trying to find a way to break in? Are you an experienced developer from the .NET or Java world trying to find a way to break out?

Two years ago, I was in a management role with a medical device company, moving slowly away from something I love, writing software. My experience was heavy on the embedded and desktop side, primarily in C#, with little web experience.

I loved TDD and agile, but didn't find much love for XP practices in those communities. I had heard a lot about how these ideas were valued in the Ruby community but how was I going to break in.

This talk will go into some of the things I did to gain a toehold. Along the way, we'll talk about fear, imposter syndrome, leveling up your skills, and getting involved in the community. We'll also talk about some of the roadblocks you will face and some unspoken, and not so unspoken, negative aspects of the industry.

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Reinventing Yourself

  1. 1. (Re)Inventing Yourself Michael Denomy Boston Ruby November 12, 2013 @mdenomy Wednesday, November 13, 13
  2. 2. Continuously (Re)Inventing Yourself Michael Denomy Boston Ruby November 12, 2013 @mdenomy Wednesday, November 13, 13
  3. 3. What Is This Talk About, Anyway? • Based on my experiences as: - Developer Manager Director • I needed to be writing software • Change is hard - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Dealing with fear, uncertainty, & doubt
  4. 4. How Did I Get Here? • Ten years ago.... • I was feeling pretty good - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Senior developer OOD Learning new languages
  5. 5. How Did I Get Here? • Ten years ago.... • I was feeling pretty good - Senior developer OOD Learning new languages • Truth was, I had a lot to learn Wednesday, November 13, 13
  6. 6. Water-Fail Wednesday, November 13, 13
  7. 7. Failure Can Be Good • Kicked off a long and still ongoing learning journey • Immersion into Agile and XP - Pairing, TDD, Continuous Integration Incremental Requirements and Design Led to more successful projects • Got Out In The Community - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Gave my first public talk - Introduction to TDD at Nashua Scrum Club
  8. 8. How Does This Get Me To Ruby? • Growing dissatisfied in .NET world - No love for XP/Agile • Listening to podcasts, reading blogs - .NET developers defecting to Ruby... What was that all about? • Moving away from code and into management Wednesday, November 13, 13
  9. 9. Why Were People Moving To Ruby? • Focus on Quality and Testing • Good use of Design Patterns • Rich, Open Source Community • Well-suited to Agile and XP Wednesday, November 13, 13
  10. 10. Why Were People Moving To Ruby? • Focus on Quality and Testing • Good use of Design Patterns • Rich, Open Source Community • Well-suited to Agile and XP These all sang to me, I had to be part of this Wednesday, November 13, 13
  11. 11. What About You? • What brings you to Ruby? Wednesday, November 13, 13
  12. 12. Decided To Learn Ruby “In Anger” • -Declared a Season of Ruby http://mdenomy.wordpress.com/category/season-of-ruby/ • 3 months intensive study Wednesday, November 13, 13 ~12 hours/week on top of my real job - Treated like an agile project Ruby Koans Michael Hartl Tutorial Pickaxe Book Ruby Rogues Courses at thoughtbot
  13. 13. It’s Good To Have a Support System Wednesday, November 13, 13
  14. 14. Left My Cushy Job • OK, it wasn’t all that cushy, but I had to give this a try • Scared S**tless - Leaving a space I was established and successful in for an uncertain future Did I still have my developer chops Would my “experience” work against me • Got lucky in finding a company that saw my full body of work Wednesday, November 13, 13 Agile background helped pave the way
  15. 15. Getting Started in Boston Ruby • What’s the big deal, can’t you just show up? • Had no idea what to expect • Had no contacts in the Ruby world • Had some catching up to do! Wednesday, November 13, 13
  16. 16. Gaining a Toe Hold - Community • Get involved - I volunteered to run Google Hangouts • Improve the community - What would make Boston Ruby better? • Grow your network - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Meet people Ask questions Build relationships...
  17. 17. Gaining a Toe Hold - Community • Building Relationships Wednesday, November 13, 13
  18. 18. Gaining a Toe Hold - Community • Building Relationships Wednesday, November 13, 13
  19. 19. Gaining a Toe Hold - Community • Building Relationships Wednesday, November 13, 13
  20. 20. Gaining a Toe Hold - Community • Building Relationships Wednesday, November 13, 13
  21. 21. Gaining a Toe Hold - Open Source • Where To Start??? • Ruby Documentation Project - http://documenting-ruby.org/ Zach Scott’s “Contributing To Ruby” presentation at Boston Ruby got me started • Where can you start? Wednesday, November 13, 13 Talk to fellow rubyists about projects they know or maintain The Boston Ruby website
  22. 22. Gaining a Toe Hold - Speaking • Speak at a meetup or project night - Get your name out there Become an expert Tame your fear Use your fear • Project Night workshops - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Getting Started With Rails Testing Debugging With Pry
  23. 23. Gaining a Toe Hold - Speaking First time speakers in 2013* Kevin Incorvia Myke Cameron Johnny Boursiquot Alex Jarvis Alex Wheeler Bob Gilmore Mike Munro Peter Degen-Portynoy Ken Mazaika Chris Lee Matt Daubert Luke Bergen Dave Jachimiak Octavian Neamtu Thijs de Vries Liana Leahy Rob Park Quinn Lee Matt Mongeau Daniel Grippi Michael Denomy *Apologies if I missed anyone Wednesday, November 13, 13
  24. 24. Gaining a Toe Hold - Speaking • What could you possibly have to talk about http://thisisindexed.com/2012/05/two-annoying-problems/ Wednesday, November 13, 13
  25. 25. Gaining a Toe Hold - Speaking • What could you possibly have to talk about • Beginners - http://thisisindexed.com/2012/05/two-annoying-problems/ Gems you’ve used, or your “breakable toy” • Intermediate and Advanced - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Something from a project you’ve worked on
  26. 26. Will This Really Work For You? Wednesday, November 13, 13
  27. 27. Will This Really Work For You? • No guarantees • Skill-set, network, past experience, and luck all come in to play • What can you do to put yourself in the best position Wednesday, November 13, 13
  28. 28. Closing Thoughts - Take Risks • Put yourself out there http://thisisindexed.com/2010/11/stretching-is-good-stuff/ Wednesday, November 13, 13
  29. 29. Closing Thoughts - Open Source • Try your hand at open source • Check out Zach Scott’s “Contributing To Ruby” - Wednesday, November 13, 13 http://bostonrb.org/presentations/ contributing-to-ruby
  30. 30. Closing Thoughts - Build Skills • Keep Your Skills Current • Study good design practices - SOLID Design patterns • Learn TDD and Pairing - Wednesday, November 13, 13 Try them out at project night http://www.jamesshore.com/Agile-Book/
  31. 31. Closing Thoughts - Community • Be Involved • What do you think will improve the community • Meet new people • Build relationships Wednesday, November 13, 13
  32. 32. Closing Thoughts - Community • Be Involved • What do you think will improve the community • Meet new people • Build relationships This Wednesday, November 13, 13 is not a network
  33. 33. (Re)Inventing Yourself @mdenomy Wednesday, November 13, 13

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