If you’re a Rails newbie then there’s a good chance you came to Rails via Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails Tutorial. But once you’ve finished it, you may find yourself asking “what’s next?”
Here are 5 recommendations if you’ve completed the tutorial and aren’t sure what to do next.
1. Redo the Tutorial
Do you think you could rebuild the tutorial’s demo app without following the instructions?
Test yourself and ensure that you’ve absorbed the concepts (not just copied the code samples) by attempting to replicate the app on your own. Refer back to the tutorial when you need to, but repeat the process until you can build the entire app yourself.
When you’ve mastered the tutorial, you’ll have the confidence to apply that knowledge to future apps.
2. Watch Some RailsCasts
Despite being several years old now, RailsCasts has an extensive catalog of video tutorials which remains highly relevant even today.
The topics covered give you an idea of the requirements and challenges you will face in a production-level Rails app. Practice adding some of these features (e.g. endless pagination) to your demo app.
3. Build Your Own App
Echoing the advice of Gosha Arinich, nothing will prepare you for future client or full-time work like building your own app from scratch.
Try to clone an existing app such as Pinterest or Airbnb, or scratch your own itch by building something that solves a problem you have.
As you encounter new challenges not covered in the tutorial, you’ll learn how to do research and solve problems using resources available on the Internet.
4. Join Upcase
There are many paid education platforms out there, but my favorite is Upcase.
Geared specifically for novice programmers looking to grow to intermediate level, Upcase is created by thoughtbot, one of the largest and well-known contributors to the Ruby/Rails community. This means you can be sure that you’re learning not only the most relevant skills, but also the current best practices in the community.
I recommend the course on Test-Driven Development (TDD).
5. Enroll in a Coding Academy/Bootcamp
If you’ve made it through the Hartl tutorial but feel like you want to accelerate your learning, a coding academy/bootcamp might be the right choice for you.
While most require a significant financial investment, they do offer more hands-on training and support, a comprehensive curriculum covering all the skills required by a modern web developer, and job placement staff dedicated to finding you a position after you graduate.
Your experience completing the tutorial puts you in a good position to get the most out of a program like this.
Keep the learning going strong
Michael Hartl’s Ruby on Rails Tutorial is a rite of passage for many Rails newbies, but finishing it can leave you uncertain about what to do next.
Following any or all of the recommendations above will give you renewed direction and will keep your programming education from stalling out.