What Is the Ruby Programming Language? Pros, Cons & Courses

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Curious about the Ruby programming language? What is Ruby on Rails used for and how is Rails different from the Ruby coding language? Is Ruby an interpreted language? When you’re deciding what coding languages to learn, these are some questions that might come up.

First of all, while Ruby isn’t the most common coding language, it is a powerful one. Some of the top websites in the world got started with Ruby on Rails, such as Twitter, Shopify, Github, Hulu, Airbnb, and many more! 

In this post, we’ll cover more about what Ruby is, Ruby vs. Ruby on Rails, examples of what Ruby is used for, the pros and cons of using the Ruby programming language, and where to start learning Ruby code.

What Is Ruby?

Ruby is a powerful open source and object-oriented scripting language that’s especially common in web development

It’s an interpreted language like Python, rather than a compiled one like C or C++.

The language was developed in the mid-1990s by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto in Japan. The latest version of Ruby is Ruby 3.1, which was released on Christmas Day in 2021.

Ruby programming language

🛤️ Ruby vs Ruby on Rails

What is Ruby on Rails? If you’ve heard of Ruby, you’ve probably also heard of it in connection with Rails.

Ruby on Rails (RoR), also commonly just called Rails, is Ruby’s web framework. It is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby under the MIT License. Ruby on Rails follows the model-view-controller (MVC) pattern—one of the most well-known patterns in development.

It basically gives the Ruby scripting language more organization; it’s a collection of code, tools, and utilities that give you a specific structure to work with.

Quite simply, Rails makes web development easier. It basically gives you everything you need to create a web application.

Ruby developer

Ruby Programming Language Uses

Although Ruby is most commonly used in web development, it can also be used for automation, command line tools, DevOps, and more.

For example, Coursera has a course called Ruby Scripting for DevOps that teaches you how to work with DevOps tools that use Ruby.

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Why Learn Ruby Code? Advantages & Disadvantages

So, what is Ruby good for if you’re an aspiring developer? Here are some pros and cons of learning the Ruby coding language.

➕  Pros:

  • 👨‍🏫 Easy to learn with a small learning curve; programming with Ruby scripting language feels almost like coding in English.
  • ⚡ Super fast to create working apps and websites; it reduces the development time and helps you hit the market in a really short time.
  • 💼 Good amount of jobs available. Currently there are over 23,000 jobs on Indeed that mention “software” and “Ruby.”
  • 💰 Very lucrative career; the average Ruby developer salary in the US is $137,640/year.

➖  Cons:

  • 📑 Because it’s less popular, there are also fewer support resources available.
Woman programming

🎓 Where to Learn Ruby Programming

Here are a few courses to check out if you’re interested in learning more about Ruby:

Disclosure: I’m a proud affiliate for some of the courses mentioned in this article. If you buy a course through my links on this page, I may get a small commission for referring you. Thanks!

  1. Learn Ruby on Codecademy: In this 10-hour course, you’ll learn Ruby and basic programming concepts (e.g., variables, loops, control flow, object-oriented programming).
  2. The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course on Udemy: Over the course of 45.5 hours of video lessons, this course will teach you Ruby through projects such as a finance tracker, messaging app, university app, and more.
  3. Ruby Fundamentals on Pluralsight: Designed to give you everything you need to start developing software in Ruby quickly. Covers key features of the language: classes, methods, blocks, modules, and much more!
  4. Learn Ruby on One Month: In just 30 days, this course will get you ready to start coding Ruby apps on your own. Includes 4+ hours of step-by-step video instruction.
  5. Learn Enough Ruby to Be Dangerous on Learn Enough: A tutorial that teaches you to write practical and modern programs in Ruby.

💸 Not ready to commit to a paid Ruby course? Check out this post for places to learn Ruby for free.

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Should You Learn the Ruby Programming Language?

Whether you’re looking to get a full-time web development job, build your own Ruby apps or projects, or strike out on your own as a freelancer, learning Ruby and/or Ruby on Rails can be a great choice to help you reach your goals!