MRS 002 My Ruby Story Brandon Hilkert

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My Ruby Story Brandon Hilkert

On today's episode, Charles Max Wood interviews Brandon Hilkert. Brandon currently works at Bark, a company that builds software to help protect kids online. He was also on the show on episode 291 and talked about Building Ruby Gems. Tune in to learn more about what he's up to these days and know how he got into programming!

Engineering to Programming

Brandon's path towards programming wasn't the traditional way. Graduating from mechanical engineering, his first exposure to programming was when he attended required classes in college, where he worked with C++. He felt miserable and concluded that it wasn't his thing. Soon he landed a job where he did HVC design for the church and school spaces. Boredom struck him and was later led to becoming part of the tech support in the school district where he was. His interest in programming was born from that experience, where he did desktop support, systems, and networking.

Encountering Life's Detour

Brandon never imagined that he'd be directed towards programming. During his transition at the age of 26, he felt inferior with his colleagues. He doubted as to why people would listen to him when there were others who have 25 years of experience in programming.

“You can really learn anything you put your mind into.” - Brandon Hilkert

However, he realized that there are people who may have the background, yet they do not have the drive to excel in that field. Programming is a trade, and it can be learned easily. One can delve into it without necessarily taking a college degree related to it. You just need to have the passion.

Getting Over Impostor Syndrome

Brandon practiced a lot to overcome the impostor syndrome. He built usable toy apps. He also read a lot of code in Github, and observed how other people did it.The Rails Way book inspired him in the process. It was a series on writing clean and elegant Ruby Rails code. From that moment on, he gradually improved in coding. He looked for ways to solve problems by finding common patterns in those he worked on. Writing in his blog was what really elevated him when it comes to programming. To hear the rest of My Ruby Story Brandon Hilkert, download and listen to the entire episode.

Establish Connections

Connect with Brandon on Twitter and blog. You can also follow him through the links below. Don’t forget to let him know you heard about him on’s Ruby Rogues My Ruby Story podcast!


Brandon: Guilds, Ruby on Rails, and Bark Charles: The Emperor's Blades, The Providence of Fire, Google Drive, and Contactually

Episode Links:

Classic ASP, Codeignitor, Agile Web Development with Rails by Sam Ruby, Multithreading, Sidekiq, Suckerpunch


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