Well done Mackenzie, as a designer who works with Rails every other day in my company I can say it's well worth your while.
I don't aim to be as good as our Full stack developers but it's very useful speaking the same language and taking ideas from design right through to deploy.
I agree man! Thanks :)
This is an amazing display of dedication. The world need more people like this.
Thanks so much, Andrew!!
Any more articles on the benefits of being a "unicorn". I'm worried that being a jack of all trades and master of none won't pan out well if looking for a job
The whole "Jack of all trades & master of none" thing is a silly way to think. There isn't any reason you can't be a great designer AND a great developer :)
It has to do with the Growth vs Fixed mindset. Growth mindset believes they can improve with effort. Fixed mindset think they are good at what they are good at and can't get at anything else.
Yes, it will take a ton of work, a ton of practice, and a ton of patience, but it's not impossible!! I'm proof of that. I'm not the best developer (yet), but I'm not letting that be the case for very long.
I'd think of it as more of a "Jack of all trades, master of SOME"... Cause you'll most likely have different levels of skill in both, but you can always grow and learn more.
Plus, when building stuff on the web, there is a ton of overlap between design and development. So employers, especially startups will look for people who can do both.
So you won't have any problem getting a job as a "Unicorn" :)
Check out this article on "Being a Unicorn": https://diogenes.squarespace.com/blog/on-being-a-designer-and-a-developer-not-quite-unicorn-rare
What are tests to know your level of skill? I have built a full scale site, but still unsure where my skill level stands as a designer or rails developer.
I feel it is hard to determine your true skill level when you don't work in an office space where you can compare code against your respected peers.
Here is the photography site I built if you are curious. I am happy with it thus far, but always uncertain of how my design or backend code would hold up in an interview.
Well the fact that you've built a full scale application should speak to your skill level right there! For design, I keep up with what's happening on sites like Dribbble and compare my stuff to stuff I see there... But all of that is just relative ;)
Well done - this is such an impressive effort with an obvious pay off! Is back end development something you want to move more towards or is this more of a learning exercise for building your own software?
The end goal is to be able to build my own stuff... But I plan on getting damn good at back-end development :)
From the outside it looks like you are in a good position to extend yourself into an adjacent field. Having clearly gained design and front end skills it's the right time to do so.
I once made the mistake of switching to back end development after finishing a bachelors of design. I hadn't practiced enough and subsequently didn't learn much about designing UI's.
After seeing the effort and result you've got here, I think I'm ready to dive back in. Cheers for that. Heck, I might even try the course out. Would probably learn a thing or two since it's from another perspective.
Nice!! Go for it man :)
I love this article. I can't wait to watch all those screencasts.
Thanks Catalin :)
Mackenzie, I actually stumbled upon your videos looking at a Rails tutorial for creating a reddit site. I'm going with WordPress, but intend to go through them regardless.
Nice! Let me know how it goes :)
Great article! I'm super impressed as I feel like I am in a similar situation and can't wait to delve into those tutorials. Keep up the great work!
Thanks Nicholas :)
Hey Good job Mackenzie! Really love your website. I guess you'd have to fix the first Rail app demo though..
Thanks so much!! And I just saw the demo application :/ I went ahead and removed it for now (It's super uncool that someone would do that!)
I had the same issues at first, and I think it took me around 6 months to feel like I fully understood the core concepts of Rails.
This book really helped: https://www.railstutorial.org/book
It's great that the author made it freely available to read online, and I contributed back by reporting any bugs or mistakes in the book that I could find as I read.
After just one or two chapters, I could already write a basic app that did what I wanted it to do.
Yeah, Michael Hartl's tutorial is one of the best!! Definitely recommend it to anyone learning Rails :)
First off, CONGRATS! That is soooo awesome that you challenged yourself, and really followed through with it. My question for you is: where do you take this newfound skills? is it just a "good-to-know" or are you starting on building your own products?
I'm definitely going to start building products of my own :)
I've always loved the idea of being able to take an idea, from branding, to wireframing, to design, to front-end to back-end, all myself
And I'm going to keep teach others how to do the same!
I loved the idea of being 'unicorn' and that's what I want to be too, but I wonder how it will fit in the real world workplace.. What would one's job description be?
That would probably depend on the company and your role within it. If you're at a startup, you may be the only designer and developer... So your job would be to do anything that's needed, haha.
Really just depends. But I will say, being a unicorn is very valuable :)
This is great Mackenzie. I've went through your first two screencasts so far and they're very helpful. Thanks for sharing. I plan on going through the rest over the holiday. I've been wanting to learn Rails to compliment my front-end skills and this may just push me along to finally doing it.
Nice, Matt :)
Go for it! It'll definitely benefit you in the future!
Great innitiative! Im wondering, which one is better to learn nowadays? Ruby or Bootstrap? Im really interessed on learing.
Well Ruby is a programming language, and bootstrap is a CSS framework, so I'm not sure it's one or the other.
Definitely play around with learning Ruby & Ruby on Rails though :)
Ps. I LOVE your logo :)
Ah, i get it! Im looking for a language to start programming but i cant really decide which one... Im going to take a look at your videos, you inspired me to start it up! Do you suggest any links/books for newbies on Ruby?
PS: Thanks mate, i really appreciate it! PS2: Thanks for the inspiration also! Keep it up!
I'd go through the Ruby course over at Codecademy (http://www.codecademy.com/en/tracks/ruby). It's a great primer to Ruby and it will help you when you start with Rails :)
Thanks again mate!
This was a great read. People think they need to have a title to identify themselves. Tinkering is the best way to grow. I work with Wordpress and PHP mostly, and one day I decided to modify my own plugin instead of dealing with elance again lol. So, I jumped right in and just stared at the code, broke it down visually and fixed it myself. It's been only a year now, I am fully confident that I can build any type of Wordpress website.
I might have to blog about my journey as well lol.
Thanks for sharing dude!
Thats awesome man! And yes, definitely blog about it! Not only do you help yourself (cause documenting it is a great way to help remember it, or at the very least have a reference), but you'll help a bunch of people who are doing the same thing.
Is learning rails easier than node.js?
Hmmm can't really say as I haven't had much experience with node.
ok but can we learn rails without learning ruby first?
You can start with Rails without Ruby knowledge, but knowing Ruby definitely helps! You'll get to a point where you need to know Ruby to do anything more than the basics of Rails (That's where I'm at right now! I just picked up the book Metaprogramming Ruby 2 to do just that)
What I'd like to know is why he chose Rails over another language, say Python for example.
Haha, I actually went through dozens of articles on "Which programming language to choose", and they all pretty much said (after you got through all the fighting between language / framework loyalists) just pick a language and learn it, cause you can always learn new syntax for a new language after picking up the foundations.
And also, I think it was just because I knew of all the big sites using Rails (Twitter, Groupon, BaseCamp, Etc) and I wanted to build something big!