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From [[WindyCityRails 2012]]

Presenter: [[Jeff Cohen]]


How does one learn to build a web application if you’ve never built one before? Once we have grasped the essentials, how do we elevate our game to the next level? In an era of a seemingly permanent talent shortage, how can organizations sensibly invest in less-experienced developers and help them grow?

It turns out that in spite of the challenges, there are practical things we can do, both as individuals, organizations, and open source communities, to continually grow in both skill and perspective. In this talk I’ll explore time-tested strategies that create a culture of learning, enhance a developer’s skills, and help beginners move into environments where they can be most productive.


From @benjaminoakes:

  • What can help you grow (as a tree)? Knowing how CO2 works? Or adding sunlight?
  • Was on the Microsoft platform

How can we help beginners?

  • Context
  • Analogical thinking: give analogies
  • Transform what you know into what you don't know

What keeps you from learning?

  • Doubt... "isn't Ruby just a scripting language"
  • Self-Exclusion... I'm not smart enough
  • Skill piling... a list of acronyms. Doing it for HR.
  • Real exclusion... the gender gap (from
    • Even worse in FLOSS
  • Lack of Patience
    • When's the last time you were given a math word-problem-style problem to solve with software? (Exactly the right amount of information, no more no less.) Almost never!
    • Have to be patient
  • No Help
  • Losing Money
  • Waiting to Receive... waiting for Rails 4

Boils down to "fear"

What to do:

  • Encourage them to learn something... a playground
  • Build something real... not just theory (scales, etc in music)