It’s hard to believe that the Ruby on Rails web application framework is now ten years old. The programming language stemmed from the work of David Heinemeier Hansson, a Danish programmer at the web-based software development firm, 37signals.
Ruby is the programming language and Ruby on Rails – often called just “Rails” – is an open source web development framework that runs on the Ruby programming language.
Ruby on Rails was used to develop Basecamp, a popular project collaboration tool that has grown to accommodate millions of users in over 180 countries. Since then, Ruby on Rails has exploded in popularity. The programming framework is foundational to some of today’s top tech companies including Groupon, Twitter and Shopify.
An August 2013 statistic points out that nearly 200,000 websites are using Ruby on Rails. As a developer, you’re likely well aware that there is a tech talent shortage – exceptional programmers are tough to find.
If you’re looking to learn a new skill, Ruby on Rails is one of the most robust options available. Here’s why:
1. Hiring managers and tech leaders love Ruby on Rails
From web scraping to API integration and web development, Ruby on Rails is a versatile programming language that is continuously evolving. Proficiency with Ruby on Rails is typically a sign of an intelligent and driven developer.
Here is what today’s technology leaders are saying about it:
• “From a hiring perspective, a startup can assume that if a developer is using Rails that they are keeners who are interested in skills development and are likely involved in contributing to open source projects. This usually indicates a personality type that is a good cultural fit for many small development teams.” - Pete Forde, Co-founder at Unspace
• “As a Rails developer, you kind of have to stay up on what’s going on with the web and how technology is evolving. The framework moves so quickly that folks can’t really bank on what they knew 3 months ago being applicable today. We’ve found that in hiring people who have embraced the idea of rapid change, it fits our company goals of being more flexible and adaptable.” - Josh Barber, Web Developer at Smashing Boxes
• “Ruby can teach you great fundamentals. Learning Ruby can teach the things you need to know in most languages, hence the the skills are transferable. Concepts like data structures, control flow and object oriented programming can all be learned from Ruby.” - Beezer Moolji, Co-founder at Devatory
Ruby on Rails has inspired an open-source community of passionate developers. If you need help getting started, you can easily find support from a more experienced peer who was once exactly where you are now.
2. Ruby on Rails is Efficient
Organizations can get up and running with Ruby on Rails with little to no investment. The programming framework is free. It also runs on a free operating system and is compatible with free databases and web servers.
It’s a powerful way for developers to maneuver through their otherwise infinite to-do lists.
“The language (Ruby) on the framework (Rails) means that you can accomplish more with less, better structured code. Since code can be re-used changes are easy, making iteration and experimentation painless.”
-Demian Farnworth via Treehouse
Ruby on Rails will handle all database communications, process Ajax updates and provide a set of plugins. Mundane tasks are streamlined so developers can focus on their code.
3. You Can Choose Your Own Learning Style
Whether you’re a novice or experienced programmer, there are a wealth of resources from communities who are very much invested in your growth and learning. Teach yourself, take classes or work for a company that pays you to learn on the job.
Rails is more than just a programming framework – the programming style has sparked a community of extremely passionate developers and instructors. Here are some resources for getting started:
- Learn the basics in 3 hours
- Tips on getting started from almost 60 programmers
- Official Rails Guides
- University of Ruby Lectures
- Learn Ruby with Cartoon Foxes
- Comprehensive Ruby on Rails Tutorial
- 23 developers weigh in on learning strategies
Custom-tailor your learning strategy to your programming objectives. Are you a data scientist? If so, focus on skills that help you leverage scraping techniques and API integrations. Are you part of a technical team that builds websites? If so, focus on web development. Ruby on Rails is versatile. Look for the options that are right for you.