25th September 2009
Giles Bowkett Interview
Well, it was 2006 and I googled everywhere, asked everybody I knew, to
see if I could find anybody in my town who was doing Rails stuff.
Rails was still new and I lived in New Mexico, which only has a few
tech companies, but I found them, got people to introduce me, and at
first I did some work for free just to get my feet wet.
Where, and how, do you search for work now? Can you give me some advice on the best ways to find Ruby related work?
The best way is referrals from people you know. I live in a big city
now so there are lots of job ads and stuff but referrals are better.
Obviously when you’re getting started that’s a contradiction, though.
You can’t get referrals until you’ve worked with somebody. So look for
ads, google like crazy, and meet people if you can. Don’t be a stalker
or anything but if you know a cool company that you want to work for,
get in touch with them, the worst they can do is say no.
What advice would you give a Ruby beginner without any projects ready to show?
Submit patches to open source projects, even if you think your code
isn’t ready. Best way to learn, hands down, and best way to meet other
Ruby devs as well. GitHub is where it’s at. Join GitHub and get
What have you learned in the past about working with Ruby, clients, how to find good clients, etc.? Many people dream about changing the past for a better present moment … anything you want to share?
I would say that there really is no such thing as a good client.
Consulting is actually not a great business model. It’s much better to
make your own web site that people pay to use than it is to do
consulting for anybody. I would say get on that as quick as you can.
What books, or sites, or recipes, or whatever else you can recommend (they may be about productivity, or negotiation, or thinking – anything you think will help me live a better life as a programmer)?
How much time per week do you work? How do you keep yourself productive and focused?
Heh, I work like 10 hours a week and I have no cash at all. This is
kind of unusual, though. Usually I work 40 hours. Best way to keep
yourself productive and focused is to make a list of what you want to
do. Not just today, but in your life. A list of goals for the future.
Make sure to do that every day, and you’ll stay focused.
I use vim, TextMate, heavily customized OS X, and two computers, one
on the left, one on the right. The one on the right has two monitors.
How do recommend becoming a successful and profitable programmer?
Learn about business and marketing. Also get really good at programming.
What should every programmer know?
Business and marketing. Also lambdas, higher-order functions, good
OOP, SQL, learn Rails inside-out, know what all the code does and how
it does it, even the stuff that you never ever need to modify.
Please write your thoughts about being a programmer, fun and happy person.
I guess the key is to have fun. Also really know what you’re
doing. And always think about improving your business. When you get to
the point where you have clients, that’s awesome, until after a while
you realize that consulting isn’t a great business model. You’re
always going to have a next step on the horizon, so be dilligent about
what you’re doing, research the next step, and stay on focus.
Also make sure to WRITE A LOT OF CODE! It’s often just as simple as
that. In fact I’d say that might be more important than anything.
Also watch this DVD.
I’m quite happy to get your answer!
Thank you for your time and attention.