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



  1. 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.

  2. Great post. Thanks for sharing Dennis!!

  3. 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!

  4. Jacob Lichner says:

    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 :)

  5. Jacob Lichner says:

    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.

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

      • Jacob Lichner says:

        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.

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