Local developer to spread coding love with Ruby on Rails class


Kurtis Rainbolt-Greene is a Ruby on Rails guru teaching classes in New Orleans.

Ruby on Rails (also called RoR or Rails) is a popular programming language, or in over-my-head technical terms, a web-app framework built on top of the original Ruby programming language. It’s in high demand in the world of web 2.0, where sites such as Twitter, Basecamp, Shopify, and many others are built on Rails.

Local Rails developer, Kurtis Rainbolt-Greene, recently struck out on his own and has created a class teaching Rails to beginners. The class starts tomorrow, February 28th, and runs in the evenings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday for six weeks.

The class is called NOLA on Rails, and sign-up is still available. I chatted briefly with Kurtis recently to dive deeper into why he’s teaching the classes, why Rails, and more:

M: How long have you been a Rails developer? What other programming languages have you worked/do you work with?

K: I’ve been using, and learning, Rails for around 2 years now. I’ve been a member of Github since Jul 17, 2010, which is just after I started using Rails. I’ve written code in a few other languages, like javascript, factor, haskell, and erlang. Most of my time is spent in Ruby and working on my own secret little language.

M: What prompted you to start NOLA on Rails? 

K: The people who really made money in the Gold Rush were the guys selling picks, not digging for gold. When you’ve got a demand like their is for Rails (especially outside of New Orleans), the best place to be is in position to create the supply. The more Rails developers, the better my ecosystem, too.

M: Did your involvement with the Rails hotline spark you to transition to teaching? 

K: No, the Rails Hotline volunteering was a product of me realizing that to better my ability to educate, I need to encounter as many problems as possible. A single error can make a student, or even a professional, waste hours attempting to hunt the problem down. If I’ve already got that time spent, via helping others on the hotline, then I can save myself (and others) time in the future.

M: What are the biggest barriers to learning to code, or to learning a new coding language? 

K: Hands down: changing the way you think. 90% of programming is syntax and patterns, the remaining 10% is the same programming concepts. Once a student learns the 10%, and the remaining 90% is cake. The more you try other modes of thinking, problem solving, the easier it gets. A famous quote from a famous Ruby developer describes this accurately enough:

“When you don’t create things, you become defined by your tastes rather than ability. your tastes only narrow & exclude people. so create.” – Why The Lucky Stiff

M: If someone wants to code, why should they learn RoR (Ruby on Rails)? 

K: Rails is good for two very important things, if just for concepts only:
  1. Taking an idea from thought to prototype with very little effort.
  2. Avoiding making the developer write boilerplate after boilerplate just to get a simple feature, like logins, tags, database setup.

M: What can students expect if they join your class? What will they learn, what will they walk away with at the end of the class? 

K: By the end of the class they will understand a little bit more about what is easy and what is hard, how to prototype their ideas (and do so at almost 0 cost), and know what resources to look for if they want to become rails developers full time. Those that don’t want to develop can still apply what they learned to either the hiring process or to review the developers they do hire.

M: If someone can’t take the class at the regular times, are private lessons available?

Private lessons are available, but incredibly limited and at a different rate. E-mail me@kurtisrainboltgreene.name for details.

Click here to learn more or sign up: http://nolaonrails.com/signup. You can also follow @nolaonrails on twitter or follow Kurtis: @krainboltgreene.