Code Artisans

Code Artisans: The M'sian Ruby Advocate That Uses His Skills To Empower A Brigade

Michal Szajbe the co-founder of Monterail, in regards to a question on Quora about Ruby programming, “It lets the programmer express his ideas in a very terse way while remaining easily readable at the same time. If well written, it often reads almost like plain English. You can learn a ton just by reading other people’s code and this is actually how I learned the language.” He then went onto explain that the programming language offers flexible features like closures, metaprogramming, pure object orientation that allows programmers to express themselves descriptively.

While the language is very flexible, the developer community still follows certain conventions that standardize the process of designing and formatting clean and functional code. The language’s ecosystem in general is one that’s significantly large and constantly evolving, as such developers can make use of various tools and resources to automate many of the banal or tedious tasks, and to also get help.

Given the nature of the language and its ecosystem, it’s not surprising that it has won the hearts of many programmers and developers.

Image Credit: Jimmy Ngu
Image Credit: Jimmy Ngu

Jimmy Ngu is one such Malaysian developer that openly proclaims his love for the language. He has been active in the software development industry for the past 12 years, and over time he’s built cool projects like an Automated Bitcoin trader, a customized Google Spreadsheet clone, and he also designed and implemented site deployment scripts on multi-server clusters.

Falling In Love With Ruby

Image Credit: Jimmy Ngu
Image Credit: Jimmy Ngu

“Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Rubeh! I’ve never been a fan of any particular programming language until I worked with Ruby. It’s such a pleasure to write code with the Ruby language, as it allows you to write the same way as you think. In the end it helps me think better and write better when I’m writing with Ruby,” he proclaimed in an interview with Vulcan Post. “I’ve written stuff with other languages like Python, Go, JavaScript, etc. Some are faster, some more powerful. Yet one day when I’m old and weary, if I still want to code (or write poetry), I think I would do it in Ruby.”

This programming language inherently appeals to the feeling he gets from interacting with hardware through software, and from turning ideas into something digitally tangible. “It is the most satisfying feeling in the world,” he added.

And this was a “feeling” that wasn’t entirely instinctive but it was something he had to work towards. In fact, he mentioned a point early in his career where he almost gave up. He was working as a ColdFusion developer, and back then he was getting paid very little and he also felt that the work was quite boring.

“I wanted to work in sales like many of my peers did. Pays better and work was more flexible. But I just couldn’t bear with the fact that I’m not doing what I do best, which is programming,” he confessed. And so, he stuck with the process and continued to learn new languages and he worked towards being able to code better. He invested a great amount of time honing his skillset, and now he takes immense pride and joy in what he does as a code artisan. And as an avid Ruby language evangelist, he enjoys sharing his joy with budding coders.

Spreading the Joy Of Coding

“Promoting and spreading the joy of programming is something that I hold dear to my heart. I co-founded the KL Ruby Brigade in 2013, and we’ve been hosting our monthly meetups (Ruby Tuesdays) ever since. We basically promote any and all things Ruby among the tech community,” he mentioned. “Through that, I would like to think that somehow I’ve managed to galvanize and inspire more people to love our profession and to find joy in their work as a programmer.”

Image Credit: Jimmy Ngu
Image Credit: Jimmy Ngu

This mindset is all part and parcel of the “open source” mentality that’s quite prevalent in the tech industry. Everyone enjoys sharing what they’ve learnt, helping others solve problems (especially on StackOverflow), and many also take pride in attending their meetups or being part of their coding cliques. In an industry that’s rapidly evolving and growing, learning is key and it’s just something that one has to do everyday. And the idea of learning something new everyday is something that keeps Jimmy motivated everyday.

However, he insists that this learning process shouldn’t inhibit new developers. His suggestion to novices is that they shouldn’t overthink, after all, “There are no experts, there’s only us.”

Inside Jimmy Ngu’s Toolkit
Atom Because it’s the 21st century and people use a mouse. (Yes, I’m talking to you VIM users.)
Github Code management and development
StackOverflow Best place to copy and paste code
Adjustable laptop stand Keep my neck and back happy
Coffee machine Makes coffee

 

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