Crossing the Rubycon: How to Learn to Code and Build a Programming Career

19 ratings

This is a comprehensive self-help book for aspiring coders, filled with concrete, practical advice as well as useful insider tips and encouraging stories about learning to code and finding a programming job as a code newbie.

Unlike most learn-to-code books, this one is actually written by someone who had no technical background whatsoever just several years ago—a former journalist and translator who managed to teach herself to code and find a paid full-time job as a software developer in just 9 months.

Drawing upon her experience in journalism, Nadia Zhuk, now a full-stack software engineer at Intercom (formerly at Zendesk), has written a detailed and captivating book that incorporates a heartfelt first-person account of her own career change into a well-structured how-to guide that you might want to revisit multiple times as you make your way in the world of IT.

The book debunks popular misconceptions about being a programmer, gives a general overview of the industry and helps you figure out which career path might suit you best. It then guides you through the best practices of learning to code, finding your first coding job and getting through your early years as a self-taught programmer.

The book also recommends the best resources for self-studying for those who chose Ruby on Rails as their primary technology. The advice is generic enough to be helpful in finding comparable resources for other technologies.

Table of Contents

Chapter I: My Non-technical Background

Chapter II: Excuses for Not Learning to Code

Chapter III: Choosing Your Adventure

Chapter IV: Step-by-step Guide to Teaching Yourself to Code

Chapter V: How to Find a Job

Chapter VI: My Life as a Professional Programmer

Chapter VII: Tips for New Programmers

Chapter VIII: Going Forward

Book Sample

Here’s a sample from the book (along with the full table of contents). No email address necessary.


Praise for the Book

Nadia Zhuk has written an engaging, inspiring, and practical account of her journey into the often challenging, sometimes frustrating, and always fascinating world of computer programming. If you’re intrigued by the prospect of learning to code and would like to know more about what might be in store, Nadia’s book is a great place to start!

— Michael Hartl (@mhartl), author of the Ruby on Rails Tutorial

"Crossing The Rubycon" is a great account of the author's personal journey of switching careers and becoming a software engineer. The book is a quick and enjoyable read. It's full of very practical advice and tips on how to start your journey in the tech world. Apart from pragmatic advice, the author provides a lot of personal experience in a very open and honest way.
Łukasz Badura, Senior Engineering Manager at Zendesk

Nadia’s work is full of inspiring personal stories and practical tips for career-building. Her book offers much more than the lesson of “how to learn to code and build a programming career”, as suggested in its subtitle; it is also a glorious and adventurous journey of walking through a deep, dark valley at a point in life with hope and resilience. It is approachable, engaging and inspiring. It is a must-read for any career-changers who want to enter tech.

Xin Zhan, PhD candidate of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge  

For more reviews of the book, check out Goodreads.


About the Author

Nadia Zhuk is a self-taught software engineer, a published author, a speaker and a blogger. She is passionate about helping others enter tech. Nadia volunteers as a Lead at Women Who Code London, a personal development trainer at Code Your Future and a career mentor at Meet a Mentor. She also runs "Nadia in Tech" Youtube channel.


Codementor Events, “Writing a book: Venturing into other fields in tech as a dev”


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Crossing the Rubycon: How to Learn to Code and Build a Programming Career

19 ratings
I want this!