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Iza Rokita for Railwaymen

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How to Learn Ruby on Rails: 11 Ways to Become a Great Developer

Since the day of founding, Railwaymen is strongly related to the Ruby on Rails. Right now, we're hiring over 20 talented RoR Developers. Our +10 years of experience allow us to show you proven and effective ways to learn programming in Ruby on Rails. Although this framework was created in 2005, and some people may say, "It's not fresh anymore," we recognize it as a well-tested, stable, reliable and very available to people with different skill sets and experience in programming. With Ruby on Rails, you will create full-featured and object-oriented web applications.

how to learn ruby on rails

There are many ways to learn code nowadays. Online course or code school is probably your first idea of starting learning Ruby on Rails. I encourage you to explore all possibilities. The key to success is to choose the method that works for you. Luckily, this article brings you a complete guide about the most effective ways of learning programming in Ruby on Rails. You will find out many helpful sources of education that have been checked and recommended by our Ruby on Rails Developers. It's time to start your web development journey! Let's begin with a fundamental question.

Why is it worth paying attention to RoR?

  1. GitHub, Airbnb,, SlideShare, Zendesk, Groupon, Shopify are examples of large international companies that choose Ruby on Rails as a framework.

  2. High development speed allows to deliver projects effectively.

  3. There are almost 160k open-source libraries (gems), and this number is growing.

  4. Right now, there are over 4 thousand contributors to the ROR's source code on GitHub.
    In 2019 Ruby has appeared in Stack Overflow's Developer Survey Results in the section "Most Popular Technologies."

  5. The same report positioned Ruby on 6 place in "Top Paying Technologies."

  6. There are over 470 thousand existing websites based on Ruby on Rails.

  7. Employment websites show demand on RoR Developers and Engineers: almost 2k, over 3,4k job offers.

Is it easy to learn Ruby on Rails?

That is probably the most curious and common question for those who are considering to start learning Rails. The answer is yes, it is. Ruby on Rails is popular among beginners because it's recognized as one of the most easy-to-learn framework. Another significant advantage is the fact that Stack Overflow contains solutions for a vast number of issues. That means you are not left alone in the RoR web development world.

how to learn ruby on rails Damian

Do I need to learn HTML, CSS, JavaScript, or Ruby before Rails?

What makes RoR unique is that it covers the front and back-end. It means you will become a Full-stack Developer. Nevertheless, we recommend you to get familiar with HTML, CSS, JavaScript first. Why? Those are technologies you need to learn to become a Front-end Developer. During the process of education, you will discover that using the front-end programming languages is necessary to master the beginner level of Rails.

Web application framework Ruby on Rails is built with the Ruby programming language. Rails is strongly related to Ruby. So yes, knowledge of Ruby is extremely helpful to become RoR Developer, and we advise you to learn it before starting the education of Rails framework. The next stages of coding and learning of RoR will show you how useful is knowledge of Ruby.

How to learn Ruby on Rails: 11 best ways

Convinced to learn Ruby on Rails web development framework? Great! Let's find out the best method that suits your needs. The list below also includes sources that will allow you to stay up-to-date with Ruby on Rails news.

1. Stationary or online school:

You can choose between stationary or online schools and different forms (daily, weekly, evening). It is up to you whether you prefer learning more traditionally or not. Stationary code schools are usually more expensive and located in larger cities, but being a member of the group of people with the same learning goals can be motivational. On the other hand, professional online schools are more available and comfortable. No doubt, they have become so popular recently. Many of stationary schools also have an online offer. The huge advantage of choosing code school is teacher's support. You will probably have questions about coding, so it’s nice to have someone who will give you a proper answer.

Before you sign up to code school, it's worth checking the rankings. You can find the ranking here: 2020 Best Coding Bootcamps and The 48 Best Coding Bootcamps.

You can find the Bootcamp in your area here: Ruby on Rails Bootcamps.

Is it better to graduate stationary or online code school?

ruby on rails how to learn

2. Online Course

Online courses are very popular because of the affordable price and the possibility to start learning immediately. Usually, courses share some free lessons, so you can check whether the tutor is charismatic and lessons are engaging. It is also a safe way to check if programming is for you. If you are thinking seriously about becoming a RoR Developer, we recommend you invest money and find a professional online course rather than looking for some free knowledge. The reason is simple. Paid courses give quality, and are regularly updated.

Before you pick up a course, check this ranking: The best online platforms for learning to code.

Online courses recommended by our Ruby on Rails Developers:

Udemy: Dissecting Ruby on Rails 5 - Become a Professional Developer
Udemy: The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course
LinkedIn Learning: Ruby on Rails 5 Essential Training
LinkedIn Learning: Ruby on Rails: Get More From ActiveRecord
LinkedIn Learning: Ruby: Testing with RSpec

3. Books

Our Ruby on Rails Developers still willingly pick up books, that's why our company library is full of great RoR titles. I understand that you may think that book quickly becomes outdated, but it is not entirely true. Although technology is rapidly changing, books ensure some fundamentals, best practices, and form the proper mindset of future RoR Ninja.

Find out: 8 Ruby on Rails Books You Should Read

4. Community

So many developers say that community is a Ruby on Rails blessing. Right now, there are over 4k of contributors on Github. Joining the RoR society will be especially helpful while you'll face the code issues and bugs. One of the most important pieces of advice that we can give you is to use the benefits that the RoR community and StackOverflow content can offer you.

Helpful links:

Ruby on Rails official site
Ruby on Rails Discussions
Rails Contributions on Github
The Ruby on Rails StackOverflow Q&A tag
Reddit for Ruby on Rails enthusiasts
Community of Ruby on Rails developers on Slack

5. Mentor

Mentoring is one of the best methods to enter the IT world and become a developer. It can have a massive impact on the speed and quality of learning Rails. Usually, mentoring programs took about 3-4 months, during which a dedicated expert will describe the path of learning, check the progress, and give support. Unfortunately, getting into that kind of course is not so easy because of a high number of applicants.

how to learn ruby on rails

When it comes to programming with Ruby on Rails, you can not skip Michael Hartl and his Ruby on Rails tutorials. Right now, most of his lessons are paid, but you can find some free chapters here: Ruby on Rails Tutorial. Michael Hartl gives full-stack knowledge in a comprehensive and accessible way.

6. Blogs

Blogs are fantastic for discovering the news, looking for problem solutions, expanding skills, finding knowledge about web development, and coding tricks. Some blogs provide basic education for beginners, but learning how to code from scratch, through blog articles could be time-consuming. However, this is definitely an excellent solution for those who want to stay up-to-date with Ruby on Rails.

Read about: 10 Ruby on Rails Blogs worth following

7. Newsletters

Newsletters are wonderful solutions for those who want to learn and stay up-to-date with RoR news but do not have time for searching the Internet. We all know that programming is growing and changing speedily. Subscribing to newsletters will give you a view on the latest information from Ruby on Rails world. Don't be afraid of sharing your email address. You can unsubscribe whenever you like.

Here are some trustworthy sources:

Ruby Weekly
This Week in Rails
Awesome Ruby
Ruby Love

.8 YouTube Channels

YouTube offers a lot of free video tutorials about Ruby programming language. Video education that shows step-by-step instruction could be essential for beginners. Of course, more advanced tutorials are also available. The only thing you need to be careful about is the quality of knowledge. As the entry barrier is quite low and everyone can upload the video, it is worth to follow only reliable creators.

Check those YouTube channels:

Mackenzie Child
Codemy School
RWM TechTalks

9. Podcasts

Hosts of RoR podcasts share their development experience, coding challenges, and brilliant ideas in projects. That knowledge will spread your programming horizons and help to avoid typical Ruby on Rails bugs. Usually, every episode discusses different topics and brings precise conclusions. The main advantage of podcasts is the possibility of listening to them almost everywhere at any time.

Click: 8 Ruby on Rails Podcasts Worth Hearing Out

10. Webinars

Participating in webinars is another engaging way to learn about web development and follow the Rails tutorial. Some webinars even contain the whole web framework course. It is a smart move to take part in some webinar for beginners if you are wondering whether programming is for you. It will give you an overview of developer work reality. You can find many transmissions of Ruby on Rails webinars in Google or follow web development companies, which organize webinars and share their knowledge.

Examples of RoR webinars:

Learn Ruby on Rails from Scratch
Building Application With Ruby On Rails Framework
Ruby Programming Language - Full Course

11. Events

Ruby, just like other web development frameworks, gathers the community at events and conferences. It gives you access to the top RoR experts. If you don't have an opportunity to take part in such a meeting, don't worry. Check if the promoter uploads live-streaming. Right now, many events provide online transmission through social media.

The most popular RoR events:

KRUG - Krakow Ruby Users Group

So, what is the best way to learn Ruby on Rails?

One of the ways, described by our Senior RoR Developer Karol, is to start with this pleasant, 30 minutes Try Ruby tutorial. Next, move to the official guide Getting Started with Rails, where you'll learn how to install Rails, create a new Rails application, connect it to a database and many more. After that, just start some project, and when you face some problems, search the solutions in Stack Overflow.

There is nothing more effective than learning by practicing. The theory will never give you such incredible results as training. Don't stick with theoretical knowledge for too long. All you need to do is open your editor and start to code.

ruby on rails

How long does it take to learn Ruby on Rails?

Well, this is strongly related to your engagement & enthusiasm in learning and reliability in practicing. Remember that this is not a speed race, just take your time and focus on the goal. How long can the course take? For example, The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Online Course by Udemy lasts over 45 hours, while Ruby on Rails Bootcamp in NYC by Noble Desktop is about 60 hours. Of course, this is only the duration of lessons. You need to add practicing time to that. Predictions for very beginners are about 5-6 months for self-learning and 3-4 months for learning with a mentor. Remember that technology is variable. Developers need to improve their skills constantly to stay on the top of the game and deliver perfect projects.

how to learn ruby on rails


Your way of education depends on your level of skills. The beginner probably will choose a completely online course or code school, while an experienced developer will enjoy listening to the podcasts or watching YouTube tutorial about some particular RoR issue. In the first step, we advise you to describe your current abilities honestly.

If you are a beginner, we recommend you to choose the source of education that also offers the possibility of learning HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. It is beneficial to learn in English because Ruby syntax is pretty similar to English, and you'll become more attractive to a future employer.

You have to be aware that every programmer needs to be up-to-date with IT news, and it could be challenging. That's why this article also shows sources that will help you to keep up with Ruby on Rails. It is essential to visit them regularly.

For more tips on how to become a better programmer, check this article: How to Become a Better Junior Ruby on Rails Developer

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