Leaf Node Learning Club

A community for early to mid career web developers. Build your programming expertise by working on your projects. In a community with accountability, support and mentorship.

Sign up to get invited to a free 1-on-1 intro mentoring session!

You have been teaching yourself programming with sheer willpower and time. You've seen your code come to life on screen. It's a magical feeling. But if you are a self-taught career changer, you know that it can also feel isolating and at times frustrating or discouraging. Making progress on this journey while surrounded by others on a similar path can feel super encouraging and motivating and just more fun.The Leaf Node Learning Community is for you, if you're looking to make consistent progress towards gaining expertise and connect with others to make the experience more enjoyable. Maybe you've attended a bootcamp or you've made up your own curriculum using the many awesome online resources. Maybe you're in your first job and looking to level up or you've been working for a bit but are in an environment with limited opportunity for collaboration with other more experienced developers or mentorship.This learning community is run by an someone (me!) with more than a decade of professional software as well as teaching experience. Note: my web development experience is with Ruby and Rails. Though you don't have to be focused on Ruby to benefit from this learning community. See faq for more!).Come for the structure and accountability, stay for the connections.

Sign up by September 21, 2023 to get invited to the next intro session!

How does it work

Workshops. Office Hours. Coworking Sessions. 1-on-1 Mentoring.

Learning is a result of doing. So we are a group of developers who do stuff together. But "learning community" sounds better than "doing stuff community".This learning community has two main goals:1. To provide structure and accountability so you can make progress, keep up your momentum and ultimately gain expertise via deliberate practice.2. To provide support and guidance and point you in the right direction so that you're not stuck too long and ultimately feel self-sufficient and confident in your skills.Specifically what this looks like: We will have 4-6 week work cycles where you commit to a project/goal and N hours/week time. Each week we update our progress (in a shared spreadsheet). We will also meet each week and alternate between various types of sessions below:Workshops - we read through and understand some open source code (as an example)
Office Hours - live or recorded answers to your questions.
Demo / Show&Tell - members get to show something they're building or summarize something they learned from a course or a book.
Coworking Sessions - using something like focusmate.
All of the sessions are optional and recorded where it makes sense.

Sign up by September 21, 2023 to get invited to the next intro session!


What type of projects would I work on?You get to decide! Based on what's most valuable for you based on where you in your career. We will all commit to a project at the beginning of each 4-6 work cycle. You'll likely either be writing code for a personal project, freelance project or open source. Or going through a learning resource such as GoRails or Graceful Dev or The Rails Tutorial, etc. (And if you don't have projects in mind, I can guide you. I maintain a list of high quality learning resources for web devs and for ruby/rails).

How much time commitment do I need to make?Totally up to you. You decide at the beginning of each 4-6 week work cycle. If you have a fulltime job, your goal maybe to do a course/book for 30 mins every day, so your time commitment will be 2.5 hours/week. Or if your main focus is learning, your goal maybe to work on a side project for 3 hours every day. Then your time commitment will be 15 hours/week.

Do I need to be focused on Ruby and Rails in order to benefit from this community?Here's how I'm thinking about it. There are foundations software skills that are independent of languages/frameworks. For web development these are Javascript, SQL, HTML/CSS, Git as well as data modeling, testing, debugging, deploying, refactoring, reading code, code reviews, etc.If you are beyond senior and feel very comfortable with the foundational skills, then I'd say yes. You'll get the most benefit if you're focused on Ruby/Rails. But otherwise all web developers can benefit from the structure of this learning community.

Would I benifit from this community if I am already a senior engineer or beyond?Yes. This is a learning community and in a programming career we know learning never stops. In fact, in addition to running this community, I'm planning to use the structure to make progress on my own things (for example, I'll use one work cycle to read the Metaprogramming Ruby book and share/tweet notes).

How does community membership work?This is a small paid membership community. Open to 20 to 30 new members starting end of September/early October 2023. You'll pay monthly with no long term commitment. More details in the sign-up application.

What's up with the name Leaf Node?The short answer is that I own the domain for my blog. My thinking was that my writing is about "getting to the bottom of things". Like in a binary search tree, when you reach the leaf node (a node without any children) you know that you've reach the end of that traversal.. Okay nevermind, I know it's a little dorky but naming things is hard! It's mainly because the domain name was available okay! :)

If you have more questions, you can ask in the form above.

Who is behind the learning club?

Bhumi Shah

Hi 👋 I'm Bhumi! I guess you want to know a little bit about me, so here it is: I transitioned to web development in 2012 when I taught myself Ruby on Rails (as well as Javascript, SQL, HTML/CSS) in 5 months. Then I worked at a health tech company in San Francisco as a Lead/Staff Software Engineer for 7 years. Prior to transitioning to web development, I worked in the medical device industry for 6 years doing embedded firmware in C and C++ for implantable devices. I went to school for Computer Engineering and got a masters degree with a minor in Math/EE from University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.You can read more about my work history here. I will focus on my teaching experience below!In parallel to working as a software engineer, looking back I've always been involved in some sort of teaching. I was a teaching assistant (TA) for my favorite class in undergrad (Computer Architecture). I volunteered as an "industry mentor" at dev bootcamp and hackbright in SF from 2013 to 2015. I was a 'buddy' to new hires at work. And for the last 3 years I have been doing the teaching thing more formally with 1-on-1 long-term mentorship. Teaching is fun and rewarding. One of my strengths is adopting a beginner's mind and remembering what it was like when I didn't know something.I have mentored 17 students with 1-on-1 sessions in the last 2 years. (you can read some student reviews here). I'm starting this learning community because I want to reach more self taught developers and make a meaningful impact on their career progression. This is not yet another slack or discord you join and then forget about. I will be investing my time on each member. There will be weekly live and async sessions. (It's a paid community to make it sustainable for me, so I can keep it going for a while and help many more students then I can meet 1-on-1). In addition to your personal growth as a developer, connecting you with others on a similar path is an important part of this community. I intend to keep the size small and intimate (probably few dozen members).One last thing, humor and having fun is important to me. There is a lot of ego in this industry (and at times too much drama and toxicity I know). But programming is suppose to fun! In this learning community we take our work seriously but you'll be with a group of people who don't take themselves too seriously.

I am happy to chat even if you don't decide to join the leaf node learning community.