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In the ever-evolving landscape of the tech industry, embarking on a journey towards becoming a software developer demands determination, learning, and a dose of courage. My name is Marcin, I'm 23 years old and I've been part of the dynamic team at Railwaymen for almost two years now, shaping my path as a Junior Ruby on Rails Developer. In this article, I invite you to join me in revisiting the milestones, revelations, and growth that have shaped my transformation on the road to becoming a programmer. From the inception of my Ruby on Rails journey to the present day, each step has served as a paving stone toward the mastery I continue to pursue.

Table of Contents:

  1. Embarking on My RoR Journey: Expectations and Aspirations
  2. Ruby Academy: Unveiling My Doorway to Progress and Growth
  3. Onboarding and Getting Acquainted
  4. Mentoring: Illuminating My Path
  5. Expanding Beyond Code: Cultivating Soft Skills and Communication
  6. Expectations vs. Reality: A Glimpse into the Journey
  7. The Learning Curve: What I've Uncovered So Far
  8. Ruby Academy: The Catalyst for Skill Enhancement
  9. Conclusion: Reflecting on the Journey

Embarking on My RoR Journey: Expectations and Aspirations 

In the confluence of curiosity and ambition, my venture into the realm of Ruby on Rails began shortly after my high school graduation in 2020. I was initially introduced to the elegance of this programming language, but it wasn't until the following year that I made the commitment to dive in headfirst. Fueled by a fervor for personal growth, I set out on a path that promised both enticing rewards and intriguing challenges.

As I entered the programming sphere, my expectations were a mixture of anticipation and uncertainty. Like many budding developers, I'd heard stories of a demanding industry, a high entry barrier, the importance of persistence, and the intricacies of mastering code. Opting for Ruby on Rails as my technology of choice didn't make things any simpler, as it wasn't as popular as some front-end technologies, for instance. Nevertheless, armed with these thoughts, I embarked on my journey, driven by the desire to broaden my skill set and contribute to the ever-evolving tech landscape.

At that point, my goals were clear: not only to grasp the fundamentals of Ruby on Rails but also to establish myself as a valuable candidate in the job market.

ruby academy

Ruby Academy: Unveiling My Doorway to Progress and Growth 

In the expansive realm of the tech world, opportunities often present themselves in unexpected guises. For me, that moment materialized in the form of the Railwaymen Ruby Academy, a pivotal turning point that laid the foundation for my evolution into a proficient developer. The Ruby Academy was more than just a learning opportunity; it was the gateway to a new dimension of growth, hands-on experience, and even the potential for future employment.

As I ventured into the Academy, I believed I had already established a solid knowledge base. Joining was driven by an attitude of "it couldn't hurt to try". Consequently, I submitted my CV, completed the technical task, and participated in the technical interview. While the technical task left me with a positive feeling, the interview instilled a lingering sense that things hadn't unfolded exactly as planned, with a persistent thought of "I could have done better".

Onboarding and Getting Acquainted

On January 10, 2022, I embarked on a new chapter of my professional journey when I stepped into the Railwaymen office alongside another intern. It was a day filled with anticipation as we found ourselves at the threshold of a new realm. The Railwaymen team welcomed us with warm smiles, instantly immersing us in the vibrant culture of the company.

This day was more than just schedules and introductions; it was a day of open arms, office tours, and introductions to the incredible people who make up Railwaymen. One thing that truly stood out to me was the company's openness and trust. I initially expected to commute to the office from another city several times a week during my internship. However, on our very first day, we were informed that we were always welcome at the office, yet we could seamlessly work fully remotely if we preferred (a choice I personally made, and it proved to be a smooth and trouble-free experience).

The other intern and I were briefed on what the upcoming months had in store for us, what projects we'd be working on, and what we could anticipate. Once the formalities were behind us, a new chapter of my journey began - one focused on onboarding and acclimating to the dynamic world of Ruby on Rails development. This phase involved integrating into a team, adapting to the work environment, and delving into the intricacies of real-world projects. It marked a significant shift from the theoretical learning I had undertaken previously.

junior ror development

Mentoring: Illuminating My Path

In the realm of programming, the role of a mentor is invaluable. It goes beyond mere hand-holding; it involves code assessment, advice, and guidance in the right direction. As I embarked on my journey with Railwaymen, seasoned developers became my guiding lights, propelling me toward becoming a proficient Ruby on Rails developer. Their expertise, mentorship, and willingness to share insights accelerated my learning curve and molded my growth within the company.

Their unwavering support transformed challenges into opportunities for skill enhancement. From day one, it was evident that our mentors' doors were always open for questions, discussions, and collaborative problem-solving.

Code review was a significant positive value. Every line of code underwent meticulous examination, fostering discipline and attention to detail. Constructive feedback extended beyond error identification, teaching me to view code from multiple perspectives, recognize optimization opportunities, and align with coding standards.

Mentorship extended beyond the technical sphere, influencing my approach to problem-solving and teamwork. I witnessed seasoned developers tackle challenges, actively seek input from colleagues, and collaborate for effective solutions. To my mentors, I extend my deepest gratitude for the knowledge and guidance bestowed upon me, and for allowing me to navigate and explore this world at my own pace. I truly believe they take pride in my journey and progress.

Expanding Beyond Code: Cultivating Soft Skills and Communication 

In the world of software development, proficiency extends beyond coding prowess- it encompasses a versatile skill set that includes soft skills and effective communication. At Railwaymen, our daily stand-up meetings and code reviews served as more than just technical updates; they provided platforms for discussing challenges, sharing solutions, and seeking valuable insights.

While my ability to listen and understand diverse perspectives has always been a strong suit, my journey towards confident verbal expression posed its own set of challenges. A speech impediment initially hindered my confidence in articulating my thoughts, particularly when I felt that my input might not hold significant value.

Collaborating with my teammates introduced me to the power of concise communication and the art of knowledge sharing. The culture of open dialogue encouraged me to voice my opinions, challenge assumptions, and present insights with conviction. Although I continue to work on overcoming my speech-related reservations, I've come to realize that impactful communication transcends mere eloquence- it's rooted in authenticity and the capacity to engage meaningfully.

Expectations vs. Reality: A Glimpse into the Journey 

Stepping into the realm of Ruby on Rails, my expectations were intertwined with uncertainty. Stories about the demanding nature of the industry, the steep learning curve, and the intricate details of coding formed the backdrop of my anticipation. However, as I embarked on this journey, I discovered that reality had much more in store than I had anticipated.

The skills I had honed through self-study provided a solid foundation for tackling real-world projects and navigating the associated tasks and challenges. My theoretical knowledge seamlessly transitioned into practical competence. The project I was assigned to at the time was an internal venture, initiated from scratch, which presented several advantages.

Firstly, I was free from the constraints of client timelines, affording me the freedom to dive deeper into my work. Secondly, the project served as a realm of experimentation, where I could explore innovative approaches without limitations. Lastly, being part of the project from its inception offered a unique perspective, allowing me to witness and actively contribute to its evolution.

From the very beginning, the project required my active involvement. Instead of remaining a passive observer, I was entrusted with specific tasks that aligned with my abilities (sometimes even exceeded them). This provided an opportunity to test my skills while dispelling the notion that entry-level programmers are confined to observer roles. Engaging with a "living organism" like real-world projects played a pivotal role in expanding my knowledge and skills.

software development practise

The Learning Curve: What I've Uncovered So Far

My journey with the Ruby Academy development has exposed me to a realm of continuous learning and growth. From the fundamental building blocks to more intricate concepts, each step has contributed to shaping my proficiency as a junior developer. Throughout this expedition, I've delved into a multitude of aspects crucial to effective software development.

I've gained a solid grasp of key design patterns, mastering their implementation to craft efficient and maintainable code. The guiding principles of DRY and SOLID have become cornerstones in my quest to engineer resilient solutions. Moreover, I've recognized the significance of embracing best practices and adhering to coding standards. From version control using Git to continuous integration and automated testing, these practices have streamlined the development process and ensured the reliability of our applications.

Reflecting on my journey, it's truly astonishing to realize the wealth of knowledge I've accumulated problem-solving and teamwork. I witnessed experienced developers tackle their challenges, seeking input from colleagues, and collaborating for effective solutions. 

Ruby Academy: The Catalyst for Skill Enhancement 

In the realm of professional development, the catalyst for exponential growth often emerges from a blend of dedication, guidance, and immersive experiences. For me, the Railwaymen Ruby Academy served as this transformative catalyst, propelling me towards a trajectory of skill enhancement that exceeded my expectations.

The Academy was more than just a learning platform; it acted as a launchpad for comprehensive development and a pivotal gateway into the programming and IT world. During this period, I had the privilege of connecting with numerous remarkable individuals who exemplified kindness and wisdom. This experience significantly contributed to my current identity as a valuable team member, allowing me to make meaningful contributions to authentic projects and have a tangible impact on their outcomes.

ruby learning platform

Conclusion: Reflecting on the Journey

As I cast my gaze back on the path that has taken me from a novice in the realm of Ruby on Rails to a junior developer in the bustling tech industry, I'm overwhelmed with a sense of accomplishment and gratitude.

The Railwaymen Ruby Academy laid the foundation, equipping me with not only technical knowledge but also the mindset required to thrive in this rapidly evolving field. Every step of the way, from initial uncertainties to embracing the art of coding, has played an integral role in my growth. In just three months, I transformed from a Ruby Academy participant to a Junior RoR developer, signifying not just an achievement but a promise of ongoing exploration and excellence.

I'd also like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to my colleagues and teammates who embraced me as part of the team, shared their insights. Their camaraderie and collaboration have been invaluable, making this journey not only productive but also immensely enjoyable. Special appreciation goes to the company's leadership for providing me with the opportunity to embark on this journey. Your trust and confidence in me have fueled my determination to make the most of this experience.

The journey doesn't conclude here; it's merely a milestone on the greater road of possibilities. With each line of code, every problem solved, and each collaboration, I draw closer to mastering the art and science of software development. As I look ahead, I do so with excitement, determination, and an unwavering commitment to growth.

Thank you for joining me on this journey, and here's to the many chapters yet to be written.

Check out the projects carried out by Railwaymen

And if you would like to learn more about Railwaymen's projects, I encourage you to visit the Case Studies page, where each project is described in detail.

check out our case studies