Panel: Charles Max Wood

Guest: Nassredean Nasseri

This week on My Ruby Story, Chuck talks with Dean who is a senior software engineer at VTS, Inc. in New York City. Dean uses Ruby and is an advocate for the software. He and Chuck discuss his background, current projects, and more!

In particular, we dive pretty deep on:

1:00 – Dean: Hi, Everyone!

2:07 – Chuck: E363 of Ruby Rogues is your past episode.

1:13 – Dean: I am a Ruby developer and out in NY City. I have been developing Ruby for the past 6 years now.

1:42 – Chuck: What made you want to do something like Fir?

1:50 – Dean: I love developing developer tools and using something that I can use in my day-to-day work – I like that. I am constantly debugging and trying new things. That’s how I operate. I wanted to build a tool that would take the concepts that were missing from IRB and…put in a shell like FITCH. That was the motivation to that project.

2:42 – Chuck: Check out his past episode to get into the nitty gritty. Let’s roll back – how did you get into programming?

3:10 – Dean: I started programming in 2009/2010. I was a senior in High School and I wanted to make a social media website. I knew about HTML and other things but databases and servers I had no idea about. I downloaded WAMP – you familiar? It stands for: WINDOWS APACHE, MYSQL, and PHP.

4:19 – Chuck: What about programming that got you started?

4:27 – Dean: To build the thing that was in my head. My motivation was I wanted to see this THING to get built. I had a UI and I used jQuery. I got further and further; I realized that I was enjoying it. I liked the feeling and I spent 6 hours and I felt rewarded.

5:12 – Chuck: I played with programming as a younger person but in college I was introduced to…and I liked something coming together. Programming felt like a toy for me. I built a platform for people to find an apartment with their amenities that they wanted. It never came to light but it was fun to build.

6:00 – Dean.

6:12 – Chuck: I was a software consultant for a while. They spent 10’s of thousands of dollars on this project and me. You get into PHP and how did you come to Ruby?

6:40 – Dean: I didn’t study computer science in college. My friends who had a “background” and they said that I needed to use Python. Python held me back b/c of the 2 to 3 split and the server getting up on my machine b/c certain tendencies needed x, y, and z. That drove me away from Python but I did like the language. My friend told me to try Ruby and I read a book (Ruby on Rails by Michael, 2nd ed.) and I got Ruby. That was really cool to me. I went through the tutorial and that was powerful for me. Motto: Keep things fun and simple and then build on things later.

8:59 – Chuck: I hear people complain about Ruby. Can you still do that?

9:13 – Dean: Yes, I think so. The thing that stands out to me is action cable. Maybe a beginner doesn’t want to have to think about. Rails is the best way to get up and running with minimum friction.

9:45 – Chuck: I worked through a company and I was their tech support – so I can relate to that. Other things that people worry about: Action Cable, etc. you don’t have to worry about that until later. That makes sense. What have you done that your proud of?

10:24 – Dean: I worked at a company and proud of the certain features I have built and shipped. I am proud of learning more and more about Ruby internals. I am proud of FIR, too.

11:43 – Chuck: Yeah, FIR does sound interesting. I hear people say that often: I built this thing and it makes a difference in this way. What are you working on now?

12:11 – Dean: Tech Ops; it’s a hybrid between DevOps and…

We have worked on projects like migrating CAM CAM CAM to PUNDIT. That was the last huge Ruby project we’ve worked on.

Our ongoing mission is to make sure things are up to date.

I have been migrating from our former CI provider to Circle CI. It’s been a challenge. It requires DOCKER and it was important for us to use…

(Dean goes into more detail.)

Dean: We have been working on flaky tests, which was more Ruby focused.

(Dean goes into more detail.)

15:42 – Chuck: I am curious to see what those tips are?

15:49 – Charlie McMillan – check out his blog post: Tips to Fixing Flaky Feature Specs. There is a real art to it.

16:06 – Chuck: Anything else?

16:16 – Dean: That’s pretty much the good stuff.

16:24 – Chuck: Over the course of your career what is an overarching theme?

16:42 – Dean: From the technological side – not really – but important to my development is empathy. Develop empathy for your colleagues, and customers. I love the tech stuff, but I made mistakes. I was so tech focused that maybe at the expense of my team. The soft skills are really important to this business. Being empathetic in this field and this is equally as important to being a really good empathetic person.

18:03 – Chuck: As we continue to see things grow – you can build small applications on your own. But when you are building a Facebook or something complex – then at that point your ability to work with people trumps your technical abilities. Once your past that can you work with other people?

19:06 – Picks!

19:14 – Advertisement – Fresh Books!







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