Ruby on Rails on Udemy: A full stack!

If you have read some of my previous posts, you may recall that I dabbled in Ruby and Ruby on Rails a couple of years back. When I first began, I was quite enamored with the online learning platform offered by the Flatiron School in NYC. But that was when I tried out their free platform to learn Ruby. I had no idea what Ruby was good for, but I had heard about the Flatiron School, so I was interested in how they were teaching programming online. After a few weeks learning Ruby, I was hooked. So I decided to become a paid student, thinking that would open up additional resources that would help me learn–I wanted to see what the “full stack” was all about.

What happened was a bit confusing. As soon as I became a paid student, I no longer could access my previous “tracks”– I couldn’t continue whatever lessons I was working on. Instead, the full-stack lessons started with html and css. Then there was some Ruby exercises. Then Ruby on Rails. By the time I began Rails, things had started to shift at the Flatiron School–at least it felt that way. Help was hard to come by; the lessons began to feel not as fully developed and the transitions between units began to feel a bit rough. I stuck with it, mostly because I didn’t want to feel defeated– and partly because I wanted to get my money’s worth. And I had paid a good chunk of change for the massive headaches for wanting to go “full stack”.

The worst part was: I never understood what this full-stack business was about. Ok, I knew html and css dealt with the front end, the part that visitors to a webpage would see. So what did Ruby have to do with it? What did Rails have to do with it? And, despite having gone through some of the more complex units, I never knew where I was headed and how all of the ruby code would become a webpage, let alone a website.

As it turned out, I was one of the few people who hanged on to Flatiron’s online program – they had made a strategic decision to move away from it. To their credit, they didn’t shut it down but continued to let fools like me hang on. It must have been a relief to them when I quit. It certainly was to me–paying money only to get stuck on some idiotic code that who knew what was for made no sense, certainly when I got little help.

So in contrast, the $11 I paid, completely on a whim, for a Ruby on Rails course in Udemy, seems a ridiculously good bargain. So inexpensive, in fact, it could have easily been a “gag” purchase, like one of those exotic sounding pre-made meals that one gets for the heck of it–not much to lose if one didn’t like it.

Well, was I mistaken!

In terms of value, this was perhaps the best $11 I’ve ever spent. I’ve gotten every penny’s worth out of the $11 – and then some. And I feel guilty for having paid so little — and got so much in return.

I am at Lecture 215 out of  236 in the course called “The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course“, taught by Mashrur Hossain. For the first time, I understood the connection between Ruby on Rails and a working website. I understood how Bootstrap works. I learned, not long after starting, how to deploy a Rails project, and how to deploy a web app with a built-in authentication system. Lecture 213 and 215 are about setting up e-commerce to receive payments on a website.

In all my previous attempts at Ruby or Ruby on Rails, I’d get hopelessly stuck halfway, usually due to some idiotic user error that the user, me, couldn’t fix. So far, this hasn’t happened with this Udemy course. When I did get stuck, a tip or two from a teaching assistant (Evgeny) would get me moving again.

I have not researched on Mashrur Hossain to find out who he is, but, to me, he is one of the best instructors there is–well, I’d like to think Dr. Chuck is the best (he is!). I had exchanged a brief message with Rob Percival on a different topic, decided to take one of his courses (which was on sale). After I had signed up, I discovered it was taught by Mashrur Hossain. Thinking I had made a mistake, I almost backed out of the course. A short preview clip caught my attention, and $11 wasn’t that much, so I decided to watch a few lectures. And the rest, as they say, is history.