Why I am working so hard to become a ruby/rails developer

I began working as a dishwasher at age 14 and have worked non-stop since then. As a teenager, I went through several jobs, mostly because I hated doing work that gave me no satisfaction or sense of accomplishment. I worked as an electrician through high school and a few years after graduation. I enjoyed working as an electrician because I could make things work, like lights, motors, machines, etc. Also, the part of the job that involved troubleshooting was fun because I enjoyed the challenge of finding problems and fixing them.

I also worked as a Law Enforcement Officer for 10 years. Law Enforcement appealed to another side of me that genuinely enjoys helping others. I have many memories of helping people that, for whatever reason, where unable to help themselves. That job was often a thankless one, but just knowing that I was able to help the many people that I did was more than enough for me.

I love my large family, which consists of my wife and 5 children, three of which are adopted. I enjoy spending time with them, going on trips together and creating great memories with them. It is for this reason that I have set a goal to become a work from home dad and ditch the 9 to 5 life.

I am working very hard to become a ruby/rails developer because it fits me so well. First, I am a geek and learning ruby/rails leaves me with a great sense of accomplishment with every new thing that I learn. It also fulfills the part of me that enjoys making things work, building new projects and getting them running is really fun. As I become more proficient with my programming, I look forward to helping others, which I really enjoy doing. And finally, the ultimate goal, to work from home, which I will be able to do as a developer. This will allow me to spend more time with my family, do some traveling and do work that I actually enjoy and am passionate about.

I have met a great bunch of friends who have been supporting and encouraging me along the way and I am very grateful for them.


Have a question? email me at dennis@thecommongeek.com


  • http://www.jbird-design.com Jordan Burke

    Love this. And I feel the same way (which why I’m also teaching myself Ruby/Rails and trying to become a developer). Good luck with your journey sir.

    • http://www.thecommongeek.com/ Dennis Keefe

      Thanks Jordan. I would love to compare resources and know where you are at in your journey. I wish you the best and feel free to email me anytime.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mynameislogan Logan Hale

    Great post. Thanks for sharing Dennis!!

    • http://www.thecommongeek.com/ Dennis Keefe

      Thanks Logan.

  • http://twitter.com/briankulp Brian Kulp

    Love this! Keep at it, use all the resources that are available, and dig in everyday, even if it’s just a little bit.

    Good luck man!

    • http://www.thecommongeek.com/ Dennis Keefe

      Thanks Brian! I really appreciate all of the support I am getting from great people like yourself.

  • Jacob Lichner

    Precisely. I could’ve wrote this minus the dishwashing, being an electrician, the 5 kids, law enforcement… Ok, I guess my story is a little different :)

  • Jacob Lichner

    One piece of advice I received while learning ruby (from scratch as a designer) was to use it for everything. So, that’s what I did (and still do). I would take 3 hours writing a ruby script to manipulate files that I could’ve manipulated in Finder in minutes (now I can drop down into IRB and write those same ruby scripts on the fly in minutes and save 3 hours). Or I’d use ruby to generate PDF documents (using Prawn) that I could’ve created in Photoshop in half the time. Etc. I try to use Ruby every chance I get.

    • http://www.thecommongeek.com/ Dennis Keefe

      Thanks Jacob, great advice. I need to do something like that, just seems difficult with the limited time I have to code.

      • Jacob Lichner

        It comes down to having that all-important programmer laziness i.e. taking hours to write a script for the pure pleasure of watching the computer do something for you.

        • http://www.thecommongeek.com/ Dennis Keefe

          There is a great sense of accomplishment when you watch something you’ve created come to life.