I’d like to make the switch to becoming a full-time Rails dev, but I
can’t devote much free time to developing the skills and experience
required to comfortably say “Take me for a Senior position”.
So, just to ensure I’m clear - are you asking for shortcuts to be able to get you straight in to a senior position - or just after hints to improve so you may take a non-senior position and work up to it?
Most of my
free time is spent studying and teaching martial arts, something which I
would not trade for the world.
I feel you, I love teaching Taekwondo…
My question to you is, how would you recommend going about effecting
this transition? Any steps, ideas, advice?
Practice. Start thinking of small, useful ideas and launch sites for them. They could be small sites (dynamically generated) with documentation, or search engine automation/mashups. You then get to practice automated testing, deployment, development.
Set up a github account and make some gems/plugins and put them on there for potential employers to find.
Start trying to help people on here - I always found that in putting forward help to those just coming in helped solidify my own learning, sometimes I was right (and got a hearty thanks), sometimes I was wrong (and got the chance to learn when a more senior developer chimed in). Either way, you’re getting value. Soon you’ll be at a point when you can do everything and easily answer questions in interviews (and then you can give more back).
It boils down to learn, practice, teach - the same as in martial arts, each stage has it’s own learnings and each is important.