• Prototypical Conference Talks

    This is a work-in-progress. Your feedback is welcome in the comments, via email to, or twitter.

    This post is a part of a series of articles we’re working on for our SpeakerCorps project to recruit and support new speakers.

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  • Meet gSchool Graduate Kareem

    Kareem Grant graduated from gSchool in July 2013. Now he’s a developer at Cardflight in NYC. We caught up with Kareem to see what he’s been up to since he completed our program.

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  • Meet gSchool Graduate Geoff

    Geoff Schorkopf graduated from gSchool in July 2013. Now he’s a developer at Big Nerd Ranch. We caught up with Geoff to see what life is like post gSchool.

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  • Meet gSchool Graduate Erin

    Our first class of developers graduated from gSchool last July. Since then, our graduates have been rocking the free world with their coding skills. We’ll be featuring gSchool students past and present, plus the people who mentor and employ them, in this new series on our blog.

    Erin Drummond is a graduate of our first gSchool class. She’s now a software developer at Table XI. One year ago Erin was working as a manager in an operations role at a large daily deals company. Switching careers to become a web developer wasn’t even on her radar. We caught up with Erin to get the backstory and see how things are going in her new job.

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  • Octopress: Terminal Tag

    Our tutorials website is powered by the open source tool Octopress. Out of the box there are some great tools for rendering code. However, it was missing a number of small features that we needed to assist new developers understand code.

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  • Pragmatic Learning at gSchool

    This blog post examines the gSchool curriculum through the lens of Andy Hunt’s Pragmatic Thinking & Learning.

    In particular, it considers the first 3 weeks of curriculum in light of the Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition and how deliberate practice can be used to progress from one skill level to the next. These are covered in Chapter 2 of Pragmatic Thinking & Learning.

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  • Too Many Commands

    Our examination of an implementation inspired by MicroBlogger to remove branching logic has left us with a new complexity. Too many classes.

    In this follow up video I explore a solution to help manage the complexity of all the classes we have wrought.

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  • A Fond Farewell

    This post is bittersweet: I’m sad to say that as of today, I’m changing gears and no longer working with Jumpstart Lab.

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  • Make Trouble For Yourself

    At the close of the first week several of the students asked me how they should prepare for the next week. Should they run through Ruby in 100 Minutes, Encryptor, Event Manager, MicroBlogger again? Should they start reading some serious Ruby language books? Should they start trying Ruby Koans, Learn Ruby the Hard Way or our warm up exercises?

    This is what I told them:

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  • How to Teach Programming in Six Months

    Back when we were planning Hungry Academy, a friend experienced with technical training asked “how on Earth do you put together a six month class?” We estimate that our students put in about 1600 hours over the course, but those hours are wasted unless they’re constantly challenged. The schedule is key.

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  • Submitting Conference Proposals

    In both the Ruby and JavaScript communities, your professional network is more important than any credential and maybe as valuable as your actual experience.

    Conferences are a great way to grow your network, learn more about your craft, and have a great time along the way. In the Ruby world, we have dozens of great conferences you might consider, with some of my favorites being RubyConf, GORUCO, GoGaRuCo, and Rocky Mountain Ruby.

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  • Introducing

    We added daily warmup exercises to our curriculum when we started gSchool.

    At first we gave the students a README and said “Go!”. The students responded by hacking out solutions.

    We must have given them the impression that the goal was working code.

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  • Presentation Resources

    Presenting at conferences is challenging – and worth it. Here are some resources that I’ve found useful in the past 18 months as I’ve started to prepare and present talks at technical conferences.

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  • Preparing a Presentation

    Two years ago at Nordic Ruby, Chad Fowler and Joe O'Brien suggested that I should submit to speak at a conference. I immediately rejected the idea. Speaking is difficult enough when there are only 3 or 4 people present. Let’s not complicate matters by introducing a room full of nerds, most of whom are considerably smarter than I am. I had no experience, and besides, what would I talk about? Everything I know I learned on the internet. Surely everyone else has read all the same blog posts as I have.

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  • A Warm-Up A Day...

    Nearly every morning, each day of the week at gSchool we start the day with a programming warm-up. What started as a rag-tag collection of programming exercises is slowly turning into an omnibus of great programming challenges.

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  • Keeping up with OSS

    Recently, the gSchool students asked me how I keep up with so many Open Source projects. Between new commits and the social situation revolving around each one, it can get a bit complex. Luckily for them, I have an easy solution.

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  • Refactoring is not a Spectator Sport

    You wade into real-world codebases and find yourself thigh-deep in layers upon layers of cruft left by hasty additions, rushed repairs, and shifting priorities.

    This is often the reality of successful, long-lived applications. They have been shaped by immense pressures. If you don’t actively work to improve them, they become stagnant and they begin to rot.

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  • Heroku Performance Workshop @ RailsConf

    Back in the day, conference evenings were about writing code. While we all can enjoy an open bar here and there, we’ve partnered up with Heroku to do something a little different this Wednesday at RailsConf.

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  • The Death of Ifs

    I despise if, elsif, and case statements. Our own MicroBlogger tutorial inspired me to put together a quick video on how I remove these dreaded statements from my code.

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  • There are Plenty of Stupid Questions

    … and even more thoughtless answers.

    It seems like there are two sides to the ‘stupid question’ coin: The ‘infer’ side, and the ‘imply’ side.

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  • Your first pull request

    I do a lot of open source work, and it’s always great to see new people get involved! Sometimes, Open Source can be intimidating, though. Like many things, it’s easy once you’ve done it a few times, but that first time is the hardest. Today, I’d like to show you the simplest pull request you can possibly make: a spelling fix!

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  • When You Teach Just Use `each`

    There are a quite a few lessons that I have re-learned while teaching Ruby to this inaugural class of gSchool students.

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  • WDM 101 - Web Development Math 101

    A standard question that most people coming into programming ask is: Do I need to know math to become a web developer?

    The popular answer is an emphatic “NO!”, but to be honest, this is only correct for certain values of “Math”.

    You don’t need to know topology or knot theory to do web development. You don’t need to be able to do calculus, trigonometry or linear algebra. In other words, when people say “NO!”, what I think they really mean is that you don’t need to be a mathlete.

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  • Parade - Version 0.10

    Parade is presentation software powered by Sinatra with slides written in Markdown. Parade 0.10 brings with it better support for mobile devices and quite a few common slide formats.

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  • Introduction to JavaScript - Online

    One of the most common questions we get asked is “do you offer online classes?” Finally the answer is “Yes!”

    Today we’re opening an online version of our Introduction to JavaScript course. In the class you’ll focus on fundamental JS concepts then layer on jQuery.

    If you want to stop copying & pasting your way through JavaScript programming, this is the course for you.

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  • Working with Heroku

    Today we’re excited to announce a new course: Professional Heroku.

    I remember when Heroku first launched: an IDE that ran completely in your browser. It was awesome, ridiculous, and short-lived. But, in one of the better executed pivots our community has seen, Heroku has emerged as a fantastic hosting solution.

    We’ve always made significant use of Heroku’s platform in our training programs. It’s quick, easy, and free – what more could you ask for?

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  • Katrina Owen Joins Jumpstart Lab

    Katrina Owen

    We’re constantly looking for excellent developers that are also passionate, effective instructors. That’s an incredibly rare combination.

    When I met Katrina Owen at Frozen Rails last year, I instantly knew she was the kind of person we needed.

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  • Announcing gSchool!

    With LivingSocial’s first Hungry Academy class in the books, we’re turning our attention to creating a tuition-based long-term developer training school in Colorado.

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  • SteelCity RubyConf 2012: Internationalization and Localization


    Jeff Casimir gives a talk on Internationalization & Localization.

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  • Madison Ruby 2012 Panel: Teaching Rails


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  • SteelCity Ruby 2012: Anti-Opression 101

    Everyone acknowledges that the software field has an issue with gender balance, but there are many of arguments about what to do about it.

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  • GoRuCo 2012: Lessons Learned from Hungry Academy

    Building Developers: Lessons Learned from Hungry Academy

    Here’s the quick story of what’s worked, what hasn’t, and the lessons learned as we try to solve the developer shortage.

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  • RailsConf 2012: Designing Hypermedia APIs

    Rails did a lot to bring REST to developers, but its conception leaves the REST devotee feeling a bit empty. “Where’s the hypermedia?” she says. “REST isn’t RPC,” he may cry. “WTF??!?!” you may think. “I have it right there! resources :posts ! What more is there? RPC? Huh?”

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  • Metrics-Powered Ruby/Rails Performance

    “Ruby can’t scale.” Tell that to LivingSocial, Groupon, Gowalla, Sony, and the rest of our community pushing millions of requests per day.

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  • WAMU's Kojo Nnamdi "Tech Tuesday"

    Tuesday 1/17/2012 at noon I’ll join friends Roz Lemioux from Fission Strategy and Ryan Seashore from CodeNow to talk about “learning to program” on WAMU’s Kojo Nnamdi show. You can listen live at

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  • The World is Full of Real People

    Yesterday at CodeMash 2012 in Sandusky, Ohio, I gave a five minute lightning talk about something that’s been in my mind: the developer’s life of privilege. Here’s the text of my talk…

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Upcoming Events

  • GoGaRuCo 2013

    GoGaRuCo 2013

    Mission Bay Conference Center

    September 20 & 21 - San Francisco, CA

  • RuPy 2013

    RuPy 2013

    October 11-14 - Budapest, Hungary

Contact Us

(202) 670-2852
(202) 280–1257
1510 Blake Street
Denver, CO 80202 U.S.A

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