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Breaking into a new industry is hard enough. Breaking into a new industry and learning to code is even harder. But if you’re willing to put in the time to network, build your own apps, and contribute to the developer community, you’ll be able to break into tech. Here are a few tips and tricks from Ruby on Rails developers based in NYC.


  1. Make sure you’ve got a resume that reflects who you are, and not just a laundry list of experiences. Gabe Kneisley, technical co-founder of Plainlegal and Co-Organizer of the Init Developer Meetup, says it best,

“Recently, I met a person at a meetup and we talked a lot about programming. He was very junior, but he really cared about coding and was working on learning a new framework. I liked him and thought it would be cool to hire him. Later, I saw his resume and it sucked. Not because it was poorly written, but because everything I liked about him wasn’t expressed there, and I can’t imagine how [he] could have been.”

  1. Prove your commitment to becoming a programmer by building your own apps. Programming is hard, and one of the quickest ways that you can demonstrate that you’re willing and able to learn is by showing a portfolio of work that employers can look at. Tor Erik Linnerud, Technical Director at AlphaSights, says,

“Tell us exactly what code to look at. Less is more. It could be a single class, a pull request or specific commit. Don’t just point us to your github profile or a big Rails project.”


  1. Contribute to the developer community through open source projects. GitHub commits to open source projects (especially documentation and testing) are fantastic because it shows that you’re actively contributing to the community and that your advice is trusted by other professional developers. Hoa Newton attended GA in NYC and landed a job as a front-end developer at Starling. She advises to,

“Pick one thing you like and spend more time on it and be good at it (javascript / ruby / rails / database). Spend as much time as possible to practice writing code.”

  1. Last but certainly not least, be persistent. Oleg Shpak of Smartling says recent grads should,

“Be polite, demonstrate some positive attitude, show some skills and everything will be fine. Find a company you will die to work for and make your goal to get there. If they say No first time ask for advice how to improve, or maybe try a similar position that will allow you to move closer to your target. Keep improving every day.”

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