The pain of learning and the euphoria of understanding

One of our Tampa Bay students, Mark, is currently a few weeks into our Back-End Engineering course with Ruby on Rails. He recently reflected on his experience learning Ruby, and his journey from being in tears to actually understanding and even enjoying the language. His blog post, “The Treasure Chest Awaits,” argues that programming is a bit like a treasure chest full of gems. With a bit of coding humor, Mark says, “ActiveRecord feels like opening the treasure chest and finally striking gold.” 

Click here to read Mark’s original post. His explanation of the learning process struck a chord – we hear every day from students and grads who feel exactly the same way. So, Mark graciously agreed to let us re-post his story here. Enjoy! 

Throughout the course, we’ve found many new learning moments. From what started as a foreign language that was cold and complex, we’ve finally progressed to see it for the warm, rich, and loving language that is Ruby.

I remember day 8, or day 1 of Ruby, like it was yesterday. I cried that day, actual tears. For the first time in years, no matter how hard or long I thought on the task at hand, nothing seemed right. Fast forward a few weeks, and I look forward to each new challenge.

The pain of learning is well complimented with the euphoria of understanding. I’m still confused in many areas when it comes to initiating projects, though I understand the semantics throughout the process now. This understanding is driven by an emphasis in fundamentals. My ability to dive into higher abstractions of the language and computer science is derived from this base.

The one worry I shared when going through this experience was not being able to learn and comprehend the fundamentals. With increased focus on why things work the way they do; I can now read and understand commands being executed. I can break down current projects and describe how they work.

This seemed impossible only a month ago. This entire process has given us a few gems for our treasure chest, I’m attempting coding humor please laugh, and ActiveRecord feels like opening the treasure chest and finally striking gold. It’s love for the developer is a beautiful creation, and I’m excited to understand each piece of how it works so I can one day find all the treasures that exist within Ruby.

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