Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Day 40

Wow, its Day 40 of my apprenticeship. Pretty awesome. I must say that looking back on all the things I have learned and in what ways I have grown, this apprenticeship has been one of the most, I want to say, 'constructive' experiences of my life. I am still trying to adapt to my new circumstances, after drastically changing everything in my life in a matter of weeks, but there has been huge growth stemming from my new challenges. Micah has been an excellent mentor, even though he is always busy, he still finds time to work with me on occasions to make sure I am still progressing. I have also been exposed to a myriad of different customers, businesses, business related issues, CEOs, CTOs, projects, challenges, and coding environments. Honestly, myriad isn't really the right word, but I hear it used so often these days that I must add to the disaster.

I would say if I had to name 1 thing I have learned the most about so far, it would be how much I don't know about. How much is out there, how far behind I really am, and most importantly, the things I need to start doing and learning to catch up and get ahead.

Today at work I spent a lot of time messing around with cucumber features trying to get them all to work. Honestly, I feel like I wasn't as effective as I should have, and what I learned seemed uncritical. I did, however, get to speak with the CTO for quite some time, learning all about the path their company went through, what obstacles they faced, and some important things that made them stand out. One example would be, keep it simple. There has been a huge amount of research to suggest that people really don't know what they want. In fact, the more choices people are given, the less happy they tend to end up being with their choice. Barry Schwartz and his book The Paradox of Choice: More is Less explain this quite clearly. Also Dan Gilbert explains how when you have the option between many things, the thing you choice becomes less valuable than if you were just given something with no choice. To get the context of all this I suggest you watch these TED talks: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice.html

Also, this CTO got to meet Malcolm Gladwell, thus me and Malcy are now buds one connection removed.

I was able to finish more of the rails book today, now familiarized with the concepts behind layouts, models, controllers, and views to some extent. Migrations are far more clear, and at last I understand the full and awesome power of validations. In fact, after reading a bit more in the rails book, I was able to make more project on my story for the client. I got write some sweet tests using some lambdas as well as grasp the purpose and intent of a far greater portion of the code. It seems like every 10 pages I read I gain 10% more understanding! If my math is bad enough, by the time I am done, I will have 100% understanding of rails!

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