Share Your Experience!

Nov 10, 2012
Eliza Brock Marcum

We are almost 9 weeks into the Ruby/Rails/Software Development course.

The students are well on their way into their Rails projects and the time has come to expose them to more of the depth and breadth of the field.

As such, we’re hoping that many of you can volunteer to share some of your expertise with the class.

Details are below.

Dates/Times Available

November 12th, November 29th (excepts for Nov 22/23) are all available for mentor/community talks.

Talks can be as long or as short as you are comfortable with. Our goal is to share your expertise in a way that you are comfortable with.

We usually have class lectures from 8:45 to 12:45 and work on exercises until 4. We can work with your schedule to fit a talk in at any point in the day.


We are open to any format you choose. Many of our guest speakers have chosen to give traditional presentations but exercise and free-form lectures have also been popular.

What They Already Know

A summary of that we covered in the Ruby Unit:

Since then we have been diving into Rails with Cucumber, Rspec through pairing and live coding on our learning project, weeBlog.

We are almost done reading through (book-club style) The Pragmatic Programmer and we will be starting on The Passionate Programmer at some point next week.

The students have also just started on their personal capstone project.


Naturally, none of these topics can be covered in a single lecture. However, the more exposure topics the students have exposure to, the more able they will be drive their own learning once this course is over.

Please suggest any topic you are passionate about ( Keep in mind that you don’t have to know everything about a topic in order to share it with students!)

Below is a list of suggestions culled from my notes and student requests.

Intermediate/Advanced Rails Topics:

  • Queuing (Redis, etc.)
  • Deployment
  • Integrating with APIs
  • RESTful APIs
  • Coffeescript
  • An overview of Rails 2.3.x (in case the students move into legacy code bases)

Topics on my personal list of things developers should know:

  • Fundamental gates/circuits (w/ Assembly?)
  • The mythical man month
  • Software maintenance
  • How to build the data structures you want out of arrays and hashes
  • How to contribute to open source
  • Functional programming
  • Waterfall (from a successful practitioner)
  • Scrum (from a successful practitioner)
  • Backups and emergency management
  • How to get paid what you’re worth
  • The morals and ethics of software development
  • The iron triangle
  • The right tool for the job
  • How the DNS system works
  • How to read an academic paper
  • Basics of Artificial Intelligence
  • Basics of UX/HCI
  • The importance of design (both visual and architectural)
  • Design Patterns (either specifics or an overview)
  • Interviewing
  • Working on legacy projects
  • A walkthrough of real *production* Rails apps

Topics specifically requested by students:

  • Mobile applications with Rails
  • Server administration and automation
  • More about command-line git
  • API development
  • DB/Security best practices
  • Networks
  • What is Dev Ops?
  • Coffeescript
  • Vim basics
  • Learning other programming languages
  • How other mid-level developers journeyed through being junior developers
  • Startup experiences
  • Common junior dev mistakes
  • How to avoid analysis paralysis
  • Team management
  • What are compilers and interpreters? How do they work?

As you can tell, some of these topics can be covered in minutes, while others would take hours.