4 Things You Should Do To Prepare for A Hackathon

Quite often I get the question from students, “Hey Chris, am I ready to attend a hackathon?”

Oh hells yes

“YES, do it!”, I’ll say. And I can see the fear boil up in their eyes, because to my students what I just said translates into:

Let me assure you this is NOT how a hackathon feels

You’d like to try a hackathon? Great!

I’ve put together a list of 4 things you can do to prep.

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10 Reasons Beginners Should Learn Ruby on Rails

I often get asked the question: “What programming language should I learn?”

If you’re totally new to programming I highly recommend Ruby on Rails. In this post I’m going to give 10 reasons why I think new programmers should start with Ruby on Rails.

1. Ruby on Rails is a web application framework.

It is NOT the same thing as Ruby. Ruby on Rails is basically a collection of shortcuts written in Ruby that lets you build web applications – basically websites – really quickly. The benefit to learning a web application framework (like Ruby on Rails) before learning a programming language itself (like Ruby) is that you’ll make quicker progress in the beginning, you’ll have a real site that you can share with friends, and you’ll see how the things you’re learning actually apply to the things you want to be able to do.

2. Some of the biggest websites in the world are built with Ruby on Rails.

Basecamp, Airbnb, Bleacher Report, Fab.com, Scribd, Groupon, Gumroad, Hulu, Kickstarter, Pitchfork, Sendgrid, Soundcloud, Square, Yammer, Crunchbase, Slideshare, Funny or Die, Zendesk, Github, Shopify. Enough said.

3. Lots of startups are hiring for Ruby on Rails.

It’s not the most in-demand thing to learn for jobs in general – there are way more job openings out there for things like Java, PHP, even Python – but in terms of working at a startup, great Ruby on Rails developers are some of hardest people to find. This is mostly because…

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Why Codecademy Didn’t Work for Me

As someone who learned how to code pretty recently, I’m frustrated by the way that coding is taught to beginners.

I wanted to learn coding because: a) I wanted to build a Web app and it’s near impossible to find good developers in this market, and b) I thought coding would be a valuable skill to have (just read the back cover of Douglas Rushkoff’s “Program or be Programmed” if you want to see what I mean). Read more

Use This Technique to Beautifully Manage Your Database

Use This Technique to Beautifully Manage Your Database

If you’ve ever said to yourself, “I’d love to learn how to use a database, but I don’t have time to learn SQL, PSQL or any of those funky coding languages!”

… then I have something you.

Active Admin!

It’s beautiful. It’s free. And best of all, you can get started by adding just 1 line of code to your Rails app.

Watch the video above to learn the “Who, What, Why & When” in less than two minutes. And then give Active Admin a try.

PS. Don’t have time for coding right now? Click here to view a running demo of Active Admin that you can peak at.

Video Highlights

  • Active Admin helps you manage data (and your database) using Rails.
  • With Active Admin you can quickly create, read, edit and delete data.
  • Active Admin is free (and open source). You can get started right now by visiting Active Admin on Github or by adding the following to your gemfile:
gem 'activeadmin', github: 'gregbell/active_admin'