If creating web apps is your kind of thing, then the best language to learn is Ruby, and its partner Rails. Ruby has been used to make very popular web apps such as Hulu, Groupon, and AirBNB, and as luck would have it, it is a rather easy programming language to learn. In fact, it is only slightly more difficult than Python.
So it requires not so much effort to learn if you put the effort in, and the rewards can be tremendous. Ruby developers are always highly in demand, can command six figures a year, or alternatively you can go down the startup route, make your own web app, and make a fortune.
The amount of high quality Ruby resources online, compared to other programming languages, is really impressive. So to choose just a few was difficult to say the least. After much deliberation, this is what I came up with.
If you dig past all the cat pictures and ignore the latest controversies which are always hitting the site, Reddit actually has very thriving communities serving worthwhile subjects. One of those subjects is Ruby, and its partner Rails.
What makes Reddit special is not only the wide range of Ruby-related discussions going on, but the fact that the community is happy and willing to get together and help one another out with their programming problems. Suddenly, learning a programming language doesn’t seem so insurmountable when you have an entire worldwide non-judgmental community behind you.
Usage of Reddit is free. You merely have to sign up for an account which takes minutes. Then subscribe to the Ruby sub-reddit.
When you feel ready to tackle the Rails side of things, there is the sub-reddit for that too.
Don’t pay any attention to the title. This is actually a really easy guide to follow if the start is anything to go by. There are 52 exercises, along with an Appendix containing a “command line crash course” (for those who are not totally familiar with the command line).
Each exercise very clearly lays out, with easy-to-follow text and images, how to gradually improve your Ruby skills. The first exercise is also covered by a 20 minute video, presumably to ensure that you manage to understand and get past Exercise 1. Because once you do the first one, it becomes easier from then on in.
You can work through the exercises at your own pace but the site owner says you should do some every day. And the longest anyone has ever taken to complete the course is 6 months.
When you have completed the previous 52 exercises, then you may be feeling pretty confident with yourself to try and up your game a little. So why not learn Ruby while modifying a Craigslist clone? Bear in mind though that this requires knowledge of Rails, so you may want to hold back on this one until you have had a grounding in the Rails language.
When you feel ready, this course will give you some hands-on experience with coding databases. If you can manage to do this course, then there really is no stopping you. Get the job applications ready. Or get your classifieds app online and beat Craigslist at their own game.
If you would like a simple way to learn some basic Ruby commands, then Try Ruby should be at the top of your list. It starts you off with numbers and then commands such as reverse, length, and the multiplication command. Gradually it moves you further up the scale towards rather more complicated work.
The nice thing about Try Ruby is that each level is over before you know it. So you don’t feel bogged down and you feel good completing levels. Saying that, it also has its pitfalls. Going too fast means there’s a real risk of you unintentionally missing stuff. The interface is also really nice and pleasant to use.
You should remember though that you need to make a free account at Code School, otherwise you will lose all of your exercises when you move to the next level and/or close your browser.
If you now feel like a Ruby star, and the Craigslist clone didn’t drive you to hard liquor, then here’s one that will really test the limits of your coding knowledge. In this one, you will be creating a restaurant review app called Restaurantly. You first need to download the basic setup from the site, and then follow the list of tutorials in strict order, to learn how to put your review app together.
The review app is a basic thing, so it isn’t something which will give Yelp the cold sweats and keep them up at night. But this is excellent hands-on experience for building web apps and building your self-confidence. If you can build a restaurant review app, maybe then you can build that Yelp killer?
Once you have zapped through these 5 resources then it is time to show off your knowledge to the world. Head on over to Code Wars, where on the very front page, you will get a Ruby coding problem. Figure it out and you are then onto the next problem, this time more difficult. Then the difficulty level just keeps rising until you are recognized by your peers as a Ruby genius.