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About

👋 I’m Josh!

I write a lot on the internet, some of it is here, some of it is on my primary website, josh.works

I’m interested in skills acquisition, information compression, and demonstrated competence.

What’s that actually mean, Josh?

It means I am trying to figure out, in a very specific, practical way, how to help early-career software developers do a few things, all of which relate to:

  • increasing the rate of effective learning
  • shortening feedback loops
  • having more fun/satisfaction
  • reducing friction between you and your desired outcomes/experiences
  • gaining effectiveness, however you choose to define it

I work across a range of projects to facilitate these goals, like obstacle courses, blog posts, video walk-throughs, and stand-alone “tiny projects”

Most of this work lives on GitHub, and I’d encourage you to head over to my GitHub Sponsors Profile, pick a tier that feels right, sign up, and we’ll go from there.

All sponsors get an invite to the intermediateruby Slack group, which means they get easier access to me, and we’ll collaborate on how I can help move you in the directions you want to go.

Obstacle Courses

One project I’ve made so far is a obstacle course for parsing webpages with Nokogiri. I spent about thirty hours learning Nokogiri, and the way it’s packaged, you can learn most of what I learned, in about 4 hours.

Stand-alone tiny projects

I’ve got some small stand-alone web apps deployed to Heroku. Here’s a list of some of them:

HackerNews Blog Finder

https://random-hn-blog.herokuapp.com/

I wanted to scrape a page of hacker news comments for any user-submitted blogs. It’s a Sinatra application running on Heroku. Here’s the git repo

Quotes On The Value of Pursuing Growth of your Skills

I was speaking with a former VP of Engineering at a successful software company, asking about how his team handled skills, improving their abilities, career development, etc.

I had mis-understood the problem - I thought every software developer out there wanted to improve their skills.

This VP of Engineering corrected me, saying that the problem isn’t “they want to get better and cannot” but “they often don’t really want to get better”:

If I can get anyone to take a course, and they learn even one thing, the ROI on that is insane. not even measurable how high it is.

If I can get an engineer to focus on their craft, the job is done

Another Engineering Manager said:

[New technologies can be daunting]. If they have not used Sidekik before, there’s some fear, because it’s a giant question-mark to them, a big unknown.

To get an engineer to spend a few minutes on some new technology, learning the attitude of making things better, improving the business… [is quite an accomplishment]

It’s hard to get people to care.

I care, deeply, about my craft. I am also really good at helping other people care about the craft, for reasons of simple self-interest:

When you care about what you do, you can figure out how to get more value from what you do. Want to make more money? Care a little more about your work. Want more time off? Care a little more about your work. Want a better job, more respect, a better work environment? Care a little more about your work.

I’ll help you accomplish all this and more.

Start here:

👉 github.com/sponsors/josh-works