My Ruby Story 315 Jordan Hudgens
In this episode it’s another My Ruby Story and this week’s story is Jordan Hudgens’. Jordan is lead instructor of Bottega, a code school based in Lehi, Utah but also located in Phoenix and Salt Lake City. You’ll hear a bit about how Decamp.com came to be as well as what makes it stand out from the rest. You’ll also catch a couple tangents including one on artificial intelligence, augmented reality, an IoT. Don’t miss this one!
How did you get intro programming?
Jordan talks about how at the age of 12 his father had a business and with their budget couldn’t afford a web designer. His father offers Jordan to buy him a computer if he can build the website. He muddles his way through HTML documentation to create his first, and particularly ugly website 20 years ago. When he turned 16, he started working on better applications as well as learned PHP.
How did you go from PHP to Ruby?
As Jordan got further and further, he worked a lot in the energy sector, including Chevron and Oxy. This sort of work became dull and boring for him. He knew that there were other things out there that would be better. He started learning Ruby and fell in love with it. He mentions that working with Ruby helped him to love coming into work. Jordan now works almost exclusively in Ruby on Rails now.
What have you done in Ruby?
Jordan talks about switching all of his work over to Ruby, including doing work for Quip, the toothbrush service. He has also done work for EventBrite on one of their Micro Services. He soon after quit his work to start devcamp.com and launch his own learning platform. He says that he learns best by teaching so he started to create courses, usually for himself. He self-published on platforms like Udemy, but was also hired to create courses for FlatIron School in New York. His time was spent less in development and more in creating courses.
What makes the DevCamp.com different? What was your inspiration?
As a developer and having his own consulting shop, he recognized that camps weren’t teaching certain things like algorithms and even soft skills like project management and estimation. He also wanted to include other things like machine learning. Jordan felt strong on what he felt a true job centric curriculum should be focused on. Uniquely, Jordan has created a strong network to hiring partners. Instead of just building a course, they build outlines for a certain topic and then has the hiring partners and network to help create a profile for the best candidate for hire. Then creating the workshop around those requests. A major element that makes Jordan’s Devcamp.com stand out is that they are one of the only accredited bootcamps out there. Devcamp also uniquely has a 2 year pathway mapped out similar to a university computer science curriculum. Universities have partnered with devcamp.com because the curriculum lose a little bit faster than the traditional taught curriculum. Students are getting hired a bit faster because they are learning more relevant information. Jordan states that the student’s success is also Devcamp.com’s success.
What are the skills people need to actually get a job?
What makes a great developer is problem solving. Problem solving is the most important. If a person can dissect a challenge and come up with a plan, it’s very valuable. There is a problem solving course that presents a number of challenges where students learn to problem solve, not even using code. Taking a practical approach to give a sense a real world relevance and a mental framework for problem solving.
Do you feel like your main contribution was teaching?
Jordan mentions that he tries to contribute to open source and that he has made a few Ruby Gems but his time is limited. He discovered that even when he was making good money developing, he didn’t feel like he was making a huge difference in the world. He talks about watching students who came from working minimum wage jobs leave the camp they started working very hard and making 50 to 60 grand a year. The camp changed their lives. Charles talks about how he relates with the podcast. People have come to him with similar stories of having enough confidence to change their careers after listening to the podcasts.
What are you working on now? Anything new?
Jordan talks about how most of his time is developing new ‘Products’ for Devcamp. Each day he tries to add a few new features. One of the big plans is to start including machine learning into the curriculum. He talks about how when he adds features, he tries to use those features to teach and to create a relevant real world example. He finds that most students don’t like abstract thought patterns.
Are you doing that with Ruby?
Jordan lets us know that yes some of the machine learning stuff he is working on is with Ruby. Interestingly enough, he spent time at the Rails Conf and went to every machine learning talk there. Every single machine learning talk was on Python. He mentions that “H.H’s” (David Heinemeier Hansson) keynote talk was on using the right tools. It’s hard to compete with the large number of libraries that Python has on machine learning.
Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, and Iot
Charles suggests that artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and Iot are really where technology is heading. Jordan and Charles talk about how they all three interplay together to enhance our lives. adjunctSensors from an Iot device uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to make decisions that then tie into how we experience reality. Charles mentions that he often tries to convince people that their phones are already supplementing our lives in a way that makes it augmented reality. Machine learning seems to be the glue that holds it all together.