For years, I've wanted to learn a programming language, and I've started many books and tutorials, but never got very far in any of them. I wasn't truly ready to learn those times I guess.
A little over a month ago, I decided it was finally time to learn something new. I'm a "learner" by nature, so this isn't anything new to me. I did a little searching online and found an awesome Rails Tutorial and almost every night and during the weekend I've been hacking my way through it...a few times, I got stuck. The first few times I got stuck I blew everything away and started over. After going through the preliminary chapters a few times, I started to have a genuine understanding of what I was doing, and I wasn't just retyping code over into an editor. That felt good. I started over again. Why? I wanted to fully understand what I was doing - you can't learn by copying and pasting, and you can't learn by simply typing code - you have to understand what it does.
The tutorial I mention above guides you through creating a Twitter-like micro blogging application. Although it's not representative of every type of Rails application out there, it gives you a good understanding of all of the concepts that go into creating a Rails application, as well as helping you build good habits such as testing your code as you go, and using source control such as Git.
I'm pretty happy with myself - I finally for the first time after a lot of failed attempts at programming, have created something that works, and I understand why it works and how it works. I'm looking forward to my next tutorial, and learning more about Ruby on Rails.