Blog icon

What do I do now? How to kickstart your new career as a Developer.

By Rachelle LeQuesne,
Rachelle LeQuesne
Scroll down to read

One of the questions I often get asked after an Installfest or a Rails Girls event is “What do I do now?”

It’s a difficult question to answer comprehensively and succinctly in that moment. The answer may also vary with the relative skill of the person asking.

That said, here is an overview of your options, each of which I detail below:

  • Keep on learning
  • Connect with the community
  • Present yourself online and on paper
  • Apply for jobs with companies that inspire you
  • Attend interviews

Keep on learning

Awesome Blog Post :-)

The first thing I suggest is to read this blog post, which will give you an overview of the app you just created and how it all hangs together. An introductory Rails workshop is a great place to start but it can certainly be overwhelming. A lot is achieved in a short space of time and reading this blog post should put a lot of things into perspective.

Free Online Tutorials

Installfest is more than just the Getting Started tutorial that we work through during the event. There are six guides in total, with links to each down the left side menu. By the time you have worked through all six, you will have covered the full-stack development of creating a Rails application. I might be somewhat biased but I wish I had known about these guides when I was first learning Rails. They explain a lot of the behind-the-scenes ‘Rails Magic’ that confused the hell out of me at the beginning.

If you want to continue working on the blog application you created at Installfest, check out these suggestions from one of our Installfest graduates. He implemented these features himself as a learning tool and is now a well-known Rails developer with a successful career.

Another great resource for learning Rails is the Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. It is a long read that walks you through coding an extensive app, and goes into a lot of depth about Ruby, Rails and related tools and technologies. If you work through all 14 chapters, you will certainly have a solid basis on which to continue learning. This goes very deep so buckle up!

Books

If books are more your flavour, the following are considered classic ‘must reads’ in the ROR community:

Podcasts

If you are like me, and a slave to your Fitbit, learning while you are out and about is the way to go. This is where podcasts come into play. Here are a few of my favourites:

Connect with the Community

The thing that first attracted me to Ruby was the people. Everyone is so warm and friendly and welcoming. In fact, the entire Ruby community worldwide is just awesome!

Getting to know your local community is a crucial first step in becoming a bona fide Rails developer. Remember, most jobs are not advertised. They are filled through word of mouth. We all want to work with people that we know and like and developers are no different. If they have met you, and had a laugh with you over a drink, they will keep you in mind should a vacancy come up at their place of employment. Never underestimate the value of networking!

Meetup Groups

If you get onto meetup.com and search for Ruby or Rails, you will likely find a meetup group in your area. This is the best way to get to know your local community. Although each meetup group is different, most will have a variety of talks from beginner to advanced, maybe a group coding session, along with the occasional workshop or hack night. Afterwards, there is usually dinner or drinks where you can get to know people in a more casual environment.

Ruby Australia

A central place for all things Ruby Australia-wide is Ruby Australia. Here you will find details of upcoming events, and ways to connect with the community. Slack is a chat app where you will find most developers online discussing latest trends, advertising jobs, posting (and answering) questions and, of course, sharing cat pics. Definitely get onto slack and get to know us!

Present yourself online and on paper

First, update your resume and be sure to include information on any side projects.

Keep your online profiles current:

Finally, write about your journey through a blog or similar. Employers want to see your passion for learning and your professional development

Apply for jobs with companies that inspire you

Work out what you are looking for. You can get the inside scoop from people that you know, or research online:

If you find a company you love, approach them directly. Apply for jobs within that company, and don’t be afraid to ask people for introductions. Consider an internship for real-world experience.

Attend interviews

Apply for anything and everything, even if it’s not a job or a company you are necessarily interested in.

For one thing, you might surprise yourself and discover that it is actually an awesome opportunity that you do want!

Secondly, all interviews are good practice and the best time to practice interviewing is when you’re not so invested in the outcome.

That way, when you finally sit down for the job you really want, you have heard it all before. That question that you stuffed up your answer to...where you spent all night tossing and turning, going over what you should have said? Now, when it really matters, you already have that answer ready to go and can respond confidently.

Regardless of whether you get the job, always ask for feedback after interviews. This is all good practice for acing the next one.

Finally

Remember, persistence is key. It’s hard to get your first gig, it took me many months. I now have what I consider to be the most awesome job in the world. I get to travel around the country and share the joy of Ruby on Rails to a new generation of developers!

If you continue learning, connect with your local community, showcase who you are and what you can do, and practice your interviewing skills it will happen for you. Good luck! I hope to see you around our awesome community sometime soon. :-)

To find out how reinteractive can turn your web application vision into reality, get in touch with us through our contact form or call us on +61 2 8019 7252.