Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Here We Go: Where the Hell I'm Starting

As I started playing with several of the suggestions I received, I believe I have settled into my focus for the next few weeks. I went through Try Ruby and Why's Poignant Guide which made sense to me, but demonstrated a need to get more accustomed to the basic terminology and gain a deeper understanding of the theories and principles behind programming in general. It's a "language" that's not completely foreign to me, but it's as if I'm only understanding every third or forth word.

I've started reading Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs for that missing background. It has been immediately appealing to me. I enjoy the writing style, the metaphors, and the philosophical undertones. I will be picking up a hard copy of the book as the only suitable device I have for reading ebooks is frequently wrestled away by a toddler. I also picked up Agile Web Development with Rails 4 to work through at the same time. It was recommended by several people and I was able to locate it locally. I was pleased to read in the introduction a paragraph that was very similar to my spiel given to non-tech friends and family explaining JRuby. I'm looking forward to building my library over the next few weeks as there have been more good suggestions. I have updated my initial post to include these new options.

The main challenge so far has most definitely been time. I figured out that I'm going to have to physically leave the house, in most cases, to make any kind of progress. This is how things went when I went back to school to finish my degree when my oldest was a toddler, so at least I know it works for me. I feel like I need larger chunks of time to immerse myself but I'm only getting 5-15 minute snippets. We are making adjustments to accommodate more quality study time. Overall, I'm very excited to get my hands dirty, to start playing with the tutorials, and applying the things I'm reading about even in the simplest of ways. I feel like this is how I learn the best.

I didn't make it to Minnebar last weekend as my wait list number didn't come up and I didn't feel comfortable signing up to do a lightning talk yet, but I'm still looking forward to the upcoming Clojure Bridge (I'm told sign up opens very soon).



  1. Well, I don't think I could argue with starting with SICP, and doing so will certainly leave you with a very solid foundation to build on (much more so than, say, the Apple //e BASIC many of us started with). Not sure if you've picked an environment to work on SICP with, but I thought I'd point out that there is an entire Dr. Racket language pack specifically tailored to the exercises in the book here:

    Best of luck!

  2. Thank you! This is very helpful.