Getting My Ruby Slippers Part 1

  • Ruby
  • Developer Growth
  • Learning languages
by Jordan Papaleo

Dear Diary,

When I first started at Theorem, it was obvious what my strengths were. I like to think of myself as a modest, front end super hero ;) My entire team really appreciated the contributions I was making on the FE. I implemented a theme, created a catalog for components, configured code quality tools, added multiple layers of testing, streamlined build processes, started using typed code, and only broke prod a few times in the process. I fixed it too though. I dang near coded myself out of a job. Not really, but I did complete my dedicated front end work leaving gaps in what and where I could contribute. So I made a list of front end tasks to fill these gaps. They were super important items that would have a huge impact on the project. So I did them and they did. There was one problem, the work I did was not approved by our client and did not have sprint value in the terms of points towards our contracted work. I was at a fork (not a git fork) in the road. I could continue to be a front end specialist and continue doing what I do best or I could put my team first and provide a more rounded value to them by helping out on our back end code.

I really enjoy knowing what I am doing and the thought of becoming a rookie at anything is not exactly thrilling.

I could handle working on the back end. I know JavaScript. I have worked in Node and built APIs that talk to AWS, Dbs, and sockets. My first job was with C#. I can totally do this… Wait, what’s that? Did you just say the back end code is in Ruby? Like Ruby on Rails but without the Rails Ruby? …$%!@.

  Why can't it be in Node? You know JS and you are pretty good at it.
  This isn't fair.
  Why can't it be something you are good at?
  Why can't they just rewrite the back end to use node.
  Your birth stone is a diamond, not a ruby.
  Remember when that guy wanted you to rewrite that entire React application
  in Ruby because he sucked at JavaScript?
  That was terrible...
  Don't do it Jordan!

  Stop feeling bad for yourself you big entitled whiner.
  You have an opportunity to learn something new.
  I know that freaks you out a bit because you are such a creature of habit.
  Let's be honest, you could really use a little break
  in your habits and this will be really cool.
  You have an entire team of experts to ask questions to
  and if you ask enough questions, maybe they will
  just decide to keep you on the front end.
  You can do it Jordan!

Ok so it looks like I am going to learn Ruby. I have not learned a new language in… a decade. I totally learned how to order food and ask for a bill when I was in Italy and in Zurich. But that’s different… or is it? A language is just a set of rules and syntax used to communicate ideas or instructions. JavaScript, Italian, French, C#, Ruby, German, or Swiss German (Swiss German is like a framework for German, I think); I can totally do this.