Sunday, June 11, 2017

Last post on Blogger

This is my last post on this platform.

I am starting blogging again, and my new blog will be focused on Ruby, and specifically web scraping, UI automation and ruby scripts like that.

My new blog will be at

Thank you for following me here, and come join me at RubyStop.


Monday, April 11, 2016

Productivity hacks for you and me!

Hello, everyone!

I have been working at STAQ for over a month now, and I love it so much! I will make a blog post about my experience of being a brand new dev who switched careers and is self taught around my 2 months anniversary with the company!

Thank you, everyone, who reached out to me through email and Twitter to congratulate and ask questions about my journey! I am always happy to talk, let you know what I learned, and possibly help you switch careers as well! 

With that said, let me share with you some productivity tools that can make you more productive! 

     At the Ruby Uncoference on March 5th that I attended, one of the topics discussed was tools that help increase productivity and automate mundane tasks. I wanted to make a post about tools that I use to increase productivity, and about some tools that I learned about at the conference (some I am already learning how to use, and some are on my list to check out).

                           Task automation is key to productivity :)))) 

                         STUFF I ALREADY USE
  1. Bash Aliases: I recently started using them, and it is addicting. As soon as I notice myself typing something for the 4th time, I am itching to create an alias for it :)
  2. Captured. I have been using Captured for several months now. I find it extremely useful if I need to take a screenshot that will persist on top of all the windows while I use it to compare data or as an example of some text (code) that I am trying to reproduce. It is also pretty handy for sharing screenshots. Be cautious when sharing screenshots that contain sensitive data.
  3. Pocket. I use Pocket when I find an interesting internet page that I don't have to read now (but I definitely want to come back to it later). Just put it in your Pocket! :) You can save the link to the page, and add tags to it, and come back to read it later. It is available on mobile and it syncs all of your saved stuff across all devices.
  4. Magnet. I have been using Magnet for a couple months now and it makes window management much easier. The windows "stick" to corners and having multiple windows open on the same screen is a lot more manageable. Several other apps that do similar things were mentioned at the Ruby Conf: MoomDivvy and Spectacle(open source).
  5. Ack. About the same time, I learned about grep, I learned about ack. It is an easy-to-use grep-like brew add-on. You just give ack a string, and ack will search in your current folder and all sub folders for whatever you are looking for. It also highlights all the matches. :)
  6. Chrome. Chrome is super powerful and helpful to automate every day things. You can set it so it opens all the websites that you need when you launch it. If you log into Chrome with your Google account, you will have access to the same bookmarks across all of your devices. From adding a signature to your email to a plethora of available chrome extensions, Chrome can be a very helpful tool to increase your productivity.
  7. bash-git-prompt. I use bash-git-prompt as a helpful tool that shows information about the current git repo (branch name, difference with remote branch, number of staged files, etc). I also use git-completion.bash file to tab-complete branch names while typing out git commands.
  8. Jumpcut. Jumpcut lets you manage your clipboard, and gives you access to your history of "copy & paste"s.

                Want more?

                    SOME MORE POSSIBLY USEFUL STUFF!!!!

    There were a lot of other productivity hacks mentioned at the Ruby conference. Some look very useful and I can't wait to learn how to use them, while some I am not sure I would benefit from. But here is a list of other things that I can remember!!!! :)

  1.  Alfred. Alfred is an application launcher and productivity application. Kind of like your Spotlight but with a lot more features. You can initiate workflows, directly navigate your file system, save text clips, set global hotkeys, access your URL history and much more. There are a lot of user-created extensions for Alfred as well.
  2. SCM_Breeze. SCM Breeze helps you streamline your SCM workflow. It is a set of shell scripts that enhance your interaction with git. It integrates with your shell to give you numbered file shortcuts, a repository index with tab completion and other useful features.
  3. Z. Z (open source) lets you "cd" quickly into your most frecent directories (a combination of recent and frequent).
  4. Boom. Boom gem lets you create, manage and access lists of text snippets right from your command line.
  5. VIM. Yeah, it is on my list. My feelings about VIM can be summed up with "I don't know why, but I must learn VIM". I heard that VIM is awesome, so by learning VIM, I will be awesome. And I am totally planning on learning it by playing me some video games.

    Back to coding, everyone! And be productive!

Thanks for reading, everyone!
All the best,
- Andrei

Thursday, February 25, 2016

I did it :)

  Hello, everyone!

  The biggest news is that I got hired full-time as a Software Developer! I am beyond myself with excitement! My first day is Monday, and I cannot wait. It has been extremely busy two weeks. I have been looking for a new place to stay for me and my wife. We are moving to Baltimore!

  Unfortunately, it means that I had to end my internship early, but everyone there was very supportive and happy for me.

  I will be working for a data integration start-up, and most of my work will be with Ruby! I am really excited about that as well. I love Ruby, and I feel so lucky that I will have an opportunity to really learn the language. I already love all the people at my new job, and the company has a great support and mentorship system in place for jr devs. I can't wait!

  In other news, I was one of the coaches at a Rails Workshop for Women event in Baltimore. It was a really great experience. I met a lot of people, and it was great to coach and teach Rails to newcomers. Great atmosphere and friendly vibes!

  I also have two talks coming up at tech meetups in DC area. I am giving a talk on March 2nd at Arlington Ruby meetup, and another one on May 12th in DCRug.

  There is also a Ruby Unconference I am attending on March 5.

  Such a busy schedule, and lots of changes!

  If anyone is curious about the interview process I had to go through, or you have any questions about me going from a hotel manager to a software developer in 5 months, feel free to reach out to me on Twitter: @andreikoenig. I am always happy to chat!

P.S. I am sorry, I can't share specific parts of the interview process (interview questions, coding quizes, etc), but I am happy to tell you what I did to prepare for the interview, resume tips and general interview tips. :)

  Have a great day, everyone!


Friday, January 22, 2016

How much can you learn in two weeks?

  Hello, everyone!

  So back in mid December, I got in contact with one of the developers who is a CTO in a start up in Baltimore, and was looking for an intern for their dev team in the company. I thought it was an interesting opportunity, and we made arrangements that I would come in after New Year for an interview. I asked him what they use, and I got back: "rails, postrgres, activerecord, sass, emberjs, sidekiq and elasticsearch". Well, wow. I have spent 5 months learning Ruby. I was aware of what Rails was, and I had no idea what all the other stuff was. So I had two weeks to learn as much as I could. Getting a little bit ahead of myself, in two weeks, I learned sinatra, database basics, postgres, activerecord, sass, spent lots of time getting more comfortable with Rails and git, and familiarized myself with Agile and Scrum model. In the end of two weeks, I launched my own Rails app, that I will be working on as a side project. My Rail's app repo on Github and My Rails app Heroku Link.
I can honestly say, I learned more and saw greater progress in my coding in those two weeks than in the last three months.

  If you would like to give my plan a shot and super boost your progress, here is my study plan:

  Fine print: you need to be solid with Ruby basics, and you need to dedicate a lot of time (or be ok with making slower progress). I recorded my study hours in two weeks. On average I studied about 6 hours a day. (3 hours was the least I ever studied on a single day, with some days studying towards 9 hours a day).

  1.  Introduction and basics of Sinatra (it will make learning Rails sooooo much easier!)

  2. (optional) Behaviour driven development in Ruby (do it if you need a refresher on testing with Rspec, heroku and git). Probably a good idea to at least look through it to make sure everything is familiar. Refer to this week as needed when questions come up.

  3. Object Oriented Ruby . don't spend too much time here, but after working through this week, you must walk away with solid understanding of http methods and how a sinatra app functions. Make your own sinatra app (not following a tutorial) to solidify the new knowledge.
  4. Database Basics. now the fun part starts. If you are not familiar with this, you need to take your time, and get through every chapter. This stuff is very important, and I use this every day, all the time, now that I work with Rails and Postgres. Don't rush this part :)
  5. ActiveRecord. Now that you are a database ninja, this part should feel easier. Again, do not rush this, because these are the ActiveRecord basics that are fundamental to everything you will be doing in Rails later. It will feel easier, as ActiveRecord automates a lot of tasks, that you learned and used to code by hand in the previous week's material.
  6. Rails Basics. Rails, finally! Now comes the part when you finally get to build things. Depending on your experience level with Rails, you can go as fast (or slow) as you need to with this and the next part.
  7. Rails Authentication
  8. Start building your own Rails app! <-- this part is where you will learn most!

   If you have any questions, or need help with your studies, feel free to reach out to me, I am always glad to help! twitter is the best way: @andreikoenig
  This is what I did in two weeks (about 18 days). I would have kept going but I ran out of time, and it was time for my interview. My interview went great, and I was offered a paid 3 months long full-time internship at the company. It is an incredible opportunity, and even though I could not leave my full time job for a 3 months internship,  I am doing it 3 days a week while still working my full time job. So yay!

  I have worked there for 3 weeks now, and I love it. I am learning a lot, and I work daily with Ruby, Rails, Javascript and emberJS. I spend Mon-Wed in Baltimore, and Thu-Sun here in Ocean City. 

  Keep at it, and keep putting in time.
  I am now absolutely positive that bootcamps are not needed, and teaching yourself code is a viable way to switch careers! :)

  Thanks for reading,


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Breaking the silence...

Hello, everyone!

I hope everyone had an awesome holiday season! Happy 2016! Here is to lots of new challenges, lots of new knowledge and lots of changes!!!

I know I have been quiet for a while, but let me assure you stuff has been happening! :)

I will try to cover what I have been doing in the last two months (I might have to break it down into more than one post, or risk it being way to long). Jumping ahead a little, let me tell, I have been coding more than ever!

So right after my last post back in November, I was scheduled to give a talk at a local Ruby meetup. The talk went great, I was a little nervous, but the talk went super smooth. I did a small live demo, where I ran 4 different versions of my code live, and shared a gist to my code to the group. I really enjoyed giving the talk, and I was scheduled for another one in January, which was yesterday. Yep, yesterday, I gave my second talk!

My dog had some major health issues in November, so it took away a lot of focus from coding. And it was one of the biggest reason why I stopped posting in this blog. It was a tough time to get through, and blogging about my coding journey was not very high on my priority list. It took a lot to take care of our sick pup, and my coding dropped down to maybe 5-6 hours a week. I was still working on some projects, but it was a very slow progress. Once she started feeling better, and I recovered emotionally, and from being sleep deprived, I got back to my normal schedule of coding at least 3 hours a day.

The last 4 weeks have been absolutely insane though. I learned more in last 4 weeks than I did in last 4 months probably. I was coding for 5-8 hours a day, and I have covered so much. I wanted to get back to blogging, but I was so focused on the projects I was working on, that I spent pretty much all of my free time studying, hacking away and writing code.

I will talk in my next post about my last 4 weeks, what I have learned, and some amazing things that have been happening in my life :)

I am back, and 2016 is going to be awesome!

Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for reading!


Monday, November 9, 2015

Quick update

  Hello, everyone!

  I have not posted in a week or so, so I wanted to make a blog post with a quick update. I have not done much as far as coding this past week, as my young 2 year old dog has had some major health issues without any warning, so I all my efforts have been focused on taking her to doctors every other day, monitoring her condition and giving her meds every 3 hours. As she gets better, I will be getting back to coding again.

  I am scheduled to give my first talk at a Ruby meetup in Baltimore, MD tomorrow, so I am really excited! ... and nervous. I will be showing a URL checker script that I made. I am so glad that I prepared in advance, and that I had my talk prepared last week. With everything that has been going on with my dog, I would have been struggling to get it ready last minute.

  Thanks for following my blog, and thank you for reading,

 - Andrei

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Coding for 8 hours straight and staying focused

  Hello, everyone!

  Last Saturday I was supposed to go to a Ruby meetup in DC that was cancelled last minute. So I thought to myself, "well, I was supposed to spend 3 hours driving to DC, spend 2 hours at the meetup, and 3 hours driving home. How about I spend 8 hours on studying instead?".  Well, I did. Should you do it? Do I want to do it again?

  I have a difficult time focusing at home, when I try to sit down and study and/or code. My wife tries to be as mindful as she can when I am buried into my laptop, but with her cooking in the kitchen, my dog barking,  our bird chirping, house chores, TV on in the next room, the laundry buzzer going off, etc etc it is not easy to concentrate.

My dog Zoe especially insists on supervising my studying,
and she wants to make sure that I am aware that she is here for me in case I need anything.
Anything at all!!!!

  Well, I did find another trick that has been working for me. Lately I have been "running away from home" to study. After work, I come home, walk the dog, say hello to the Mrs, and then go study somewhere else for 2-3 hours. My locations of choice are coffee shops with good wifi. I get me a cup of coffee, put on my headphones and study. Zero distractions. :)

  So last Saturday, I went to my local Panera Bread in the morning and spent 8 hours studying. I had breakfast and lunch there. I was pretty tired but it was productive 8 hours. I did Chapters 47 and 48 of "Learn Ruby the Hard Way", Chapters 11 and 12 of Chris Pine's "Learn to Program" and worked a little on a couple of scripts I am writing as side projects. It felt really good to knock those chapters of my to-do list, and move forward.

  I mentioned it before in my blog, but when I code for more than 2 hours, the Pomodoro Technique is what really helps me stay focused. Basically, I study for 25 minutes until the timer goes off, and then I have a 5 minute break (where I do something totally unrelated to give my mind some rest: browse Facebook, check my text messages, watch a cat video on youtube...). Once 5 minutes are up, it is back to laser-focused studying for next 25 minutes without any distractions. It really helps me out, and I don't get burned out or tired. It has really changed the way I study.

  So, coding for 8 hours straight... Do I want to do it again? Heck, yes. I loved getting so much stuff done in one day, and seeing so much progress. I am looking forward to when I can schedule another power study day!

  Should you do it? That is something that you might have to decide for yourself, but it sure is a great way to get some of your projects done that have been on your back burner.

  Last piece of advice in case you do. Make sure you do a nice physical activity to get your heart rate up after you spend 8 hours staring into your laptop (go for a walk, for a jog, for a bike ride). What a satisfying way to end a super productive day!

 Have a great day, everyone, and thanks for reading!