The humbling experience of learning a new language

A few weeks ago I started a new job as a Senior Developer at Shopify. Shopify are known for a few things: they help merchants across the globe sell their products at a massive scale and they do it all on Rails.

Shopify have a really interesting approach to hiring, they don't necessarily look at what languages you know they instead look at your ability to learn and trust that you'll put in the effort to learn their stack. Hint, I had never used Ruby on Rails before I joined.

After two weeks of onboarding I began the process of furiously cramming as much Ruby based information as I could get into my head, thankfully it seems as though a bunch of it has stuck around for now. I've taken a mixed approach, I've been watching the seemingly endless catalogue of content at, taking a (brilliant) internal bootcamp course and reading Web Development with Rails 6 pretty much cover-to-cover (if you're learning Rails then buy this book, it's helped me a tonne).

Over the past few days I've realised a few things about learning a new programming language. First, Ruby on Rails is an incredible framework, it's really intuitive and has a tonne baked in, I'm genuinly blown away. Second, learning something new is tough, incredibly tough. It's been taxing and I've been really tired but at the same time exciting about leveraging this new language and framework that I'm learning. Lastly, there's a lot of crossover between languages and the concepts they use and I shouldn't have been as initimidated by learning something completely new as I was. The last one is interesting to me, I'm happy to learn about new databases, new AWS services and so on but something about learning a new language is straight up terrifying and it really shouldn't be.

After spending years just working in JavaScript/TypeScript and honing my craft there it feels strange and out of place being a beginner again but it's also exciting and has sparked a want to learn more which is something that's been missing for the best part of a year.