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. As you can see, we were not kidding when we said biggest websites in the world.

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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I want you to do Deep Work

Deep work is the title of a Cal Newport book, and
the topic of my latest podcast episode: “Deep Work.

I fight desires all day long.

The five most common things*
that get in the way of doing deep work are:

  1. Eating
  2. Sleeping
  3. Taking a break
  4. Sex
  5. Checking email and social media

* That’s according to a 2012 study on willpower
by Roy F. Baumeister, PhD.

I know people who say
“I worked 8 hours today.”
But how much of that work
is actual productive, focused work?

A year ago, I was in a month-long focus slump
that lasted until I overheard a friend
use the term Deep Work to describe his work.

What is Deep Work?
Professional activities performed in a state of
distraction-free concentration that push your
cognitive capabilities to the limit.

Learn More 
If you want to learn more about Deep Work,
listen to this week’s On Books Podcast episode
in which I discuss highlights and applications
of Cal Newport’s book Deep Work and
its influence on my own work flow.

Listen to Deep Work now on iTunesYouTube or Spotify.


What is Web Security?

Key Takeaways

Web security is protecting your website from hackers before it gets broken into.

If you’re a web security expert, you have the following skills:

  • You know how to code.
  • Can review your code for vulnerabilities.
  • You help fix the vulnerabilities you find.

How to Learn Web Security Today

  1. Read about OWASP. It stands for Open Web Application Security Project. They’re an international nonprofit that puts out lots of documentation, events, news, and web security projects. This is in an effort to improve software security across the world. Start here: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Main_Page (15 minutes).
  2. Read the OWASP Top 10 Vulnerabilities.  Here’s how to succeed in 5 minutes: browse through the list, and read it aloud. Think of it as jumping in over your head! This will plant a seed for getting you on the right path. Start here: https://www.owasp.org/index.php/OWASP_Top_Ten_Cheat_Sheet (5 minutes).
  3. One Month Web Security — By the end of One Month Web Security, you will be able to review your own applications for security issues and ensure the code is properly hardened against malicious attacks. You will also be able to design new applications with security in mind. This will significantly lower the risk and cost associated with deploying new applications.

Highlights from Blockstack Berlin

Blockchain and Bitcoin “mania” has died down since December — and I couldn’t be more excited!

Bitcoin is nearing a three month low sitting around $7,000. But beneath noisy conversations about the day-to-day price of crypto, developers have been busy building the next version of the internet.

What’s the news?

Last month over a dozen of the top minds in crypto got together in Berlin to discuss the future of the internet and blockchain. The conference was organized by One Month teacher Dr. Muneeb Ali in partnership with his company Blockstack.

What is Blockstack?

In short, a new internet. With Blockstack’s internet connection…

  • You own all your own data
    (not Facebook)
  • You control access to your data
    (the NSA and ISPs can’t snoop on you).
  • You won’t have to remember dozens of passwords.
    (Blockstack has one password that is linked to your identity and can be used across hundreds of apps.)

Where can I watch the Blockstack Berlin highlights?

Watch all the highlights from the Blockstack Berlin event.

Guest speakers included Edward Snowden (whistleblower), Nick Szabo (cryptocurrency pioneer), Elizabeth Stark (co-founder, Lightning Network) and dozens more.