Nick Bucciarelli

Hacker, instructor, yadda yadda.

Maintaining Good Balance

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Programming is awesome, hands down. I can sit down on a couch, on a beach in lovely Charleston, or on a mountain. I can do it from anywhere and have my ideas come directly from my head onto a web browser. It’s crazy!

When I was first introduced to this, I would sit down for DAYS and just learn and write code. Granted, the code was really bad, but I was on the way to becoming successful! My schedule would be this:

  • Wake up
  • Turn on computer
  • Learn some stuff
  • Repeat for 16 hours
  • Eat dinner
  • Go to sleep

Does anyone see what’s wrong with this? This is the same stuff I would do every day. I let myself lead an extremely unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle. Although happy and successful, I was letting my health spiral out of control. My weight went up; I was getting fat and I didn’t care.

Too much of a good thing isn’t good for you! You need to maintain a good balance between sitting and moving or you will have severe consequences later in life! Thankfully I caught these issues before they got too severe.


While developing, you need to take breaks. Start simple. 2 hours on, 15 minutes off. During those 15 minutes, make sure you’re moving around. Do some pushups, do some pullups, do some crunches, go walk a brisk half-mile. Do something! Get moving!

You don’t have to be pumping iron every day, but you don’t want to sit on your ass all day every day either. Maintain a balance!

Maintaining a good balance is not just about working out/getting up and moving. You need to properly separate your work and play. Give developing a rest! Have pre-defined cut-off points where if you aren’t finished your assignment, get the hell off the computer. You need to have defined separation between work and play. Play can’t be you going from one computer developing to another doing research. Spend time with your friends or family.

Don’t hesitate to tell someone that you can’t create their website if you’re already booked. Do not book contracts during your free time. There are always exceptions, but if there is no need, don’t do it!

Maintaining a proper balance is crucial to being successful. Personal relationships and your health are just as important (maybe even more so?) as your work. It will make you a well-rounded developer and a much more likeable person.

My Favorite Thing About Programming: Doing It Remote

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My favorite thing about programming is the ability to do my work from anywhere. Anywhere in the entire world. I could be at home on the couch with my dog, in a coffee shop in Italy, anywhere.

Here is one of our The Iron Yard employees Jo Albright’s likeness for working remotely:

Coding naked.

I don’t think anything else has to be said about that, eh?

While working remotely gives me the ability to work from anywhere, another benefit to this is it gives me freedom to work the hours I love. I am a night owl so my sleep schedule is extremely weird. My most productive hours are from 7-8pm till 3am. Aside from meetings that I have to attend, I am free to work during my most productive hours. This will change once my classes start, but as far as development is concerned, this is how it’s been for years! Generally, most companies who allow remote working allow their employees to work the hours they want as long as they follow the one rule: be productive.

Jared Hamby says:

You can multitask without being judged about how or what you’re multitasking.

Some people like to listen to music while programming; some like to listen to game streams and movies. To each his/her own. As long as you remain productive, you’re good to go!

This is a quote from my co-worker here at The Iron Yard Calvin Webster

Working remotely is great! I can be writing code, playing fetch with my dog and talking on the phone with my mom.

This is something a lot of businesses are having trouble adopting: the remote style of work. With developers being in such high demand, they need to adopt or fall behind. My former job instituted a remote work policy a year or two ago and it was the best thing for my, and my teams, productivity. There is no one there to distract me asking for help and expecting it instantly, no I have silence and it’s amazing.

Russell Niller, a former co-worker of mine sums it up the best:

Nothing beats the freedom and flexibility of being able to work remotely. I have been working from San Diego for the past week; a trip that was decided on a whim a week ago. But with great pleasure also comes great responsibility. Working remotely requires that you manage yourself and your time effectively so that you are fulfilling and hopefully surpassing your work obligations.

As Russell said, there is a lot of responsibility that comes in to working remotely. You NEED to be able to keep your focus while you’re working. The office environment gets you away from the day-to-day chores that you will encounter while working. If this is something you can’t deal with, that’s cool! Remote isn’t for everyone. It is great being able to have that option, though.

Learning the Right Way

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Observing the master

Hey guys (and gals), I’m Nick Bucciarelli (find me on Twitter and GitHub). I write code, I teach code, and I dream code. It’s pretty much what I do day in day out!

I worked for 4 years as a Ruby on Rails developer at a small shop called Jack Russell Software. I quickly climbed the ladder from Apprentice to Senior Developer. It was the perfect place to hone the skills in programming and leadership that I will need as an instructor, guiding all of you future students-turned-experts into awesome jobs as Rails devs.

We need teachers who teach what they do!

When I first started learning web technologies like Ruby on Rails, I wish I had a program like The Iron Yard that wasn’t afraid to move with the times. Technology changes so fast, and the most popular things one year will phase out the next year.

I searched for classes that could teach me what I needed to know, but nothing was offered. I crawled the internet for every ounce of knowledge I could find, but it still wasn’t good enough. So I just had to learn by mistake after mistake, on the job.

How does this help you?

We trim the fat, teach you what you need to know and most importantly, we teach you how to learn. So if Rails isn’t in your future, you will be experienced enough to learn any technology you want.

We are solving a big problem

There is a desperate need for talent and no “GOTO” (GET IT!?) place to learn. Traditional universities have trouble keeping up with the speed of today’s tech trends. Our teaching style—hands on, real projects and practicing professional teachers (like me)—ensure that our grads are trained and job-ready.

The school is already rolling in Greenville, and I jumped at the opportunity to bring The Iron Yard to Charleston at 150mph (hint: I like fast cars).

We’re having fun in the process

There is something you should know about The Iron Yard: we have an intense focus on culture and want to bring it to all of our students! Work hard, play hard. Frequently, our co-workers will stay after hours and come in on weekends just to get their tasks done. Beer flows and beards grow. Jokes run rampant; we have a good time! It’s very rare you meet people as engrossed in their jobs and atmosphere as you will with our team. Being a good fit as an employee here is not just about what you know, but how well you will fit in! Can you put your nose to the grindstone for 12 hours a day? Could you let loose and drink a few beers? Working here sets the bar for how I expect the atmosphere to be anywhere I end up. It also sets the bar for everything I expect from my students.

To my future students

This work ain’t easy! You will be challenged with every morsel of your work ethic to finish homework assignments after grueling live-coding-to-teach sessions. The only way to apply anything that will be taught to you will be to apply it in practice. But don’t worry…I’ll be there to guide you every step of the way!

My classes will start on March 10th. Be ready.

Join our Charleston Ruby on Rails class!

Co-working space for students and teachers in Greenville

Hello World

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Naturally, the first of anything for a programmer is Hello World. This is my new blog and I will be posting here priodically.

Hello world!