Before I was thrown into the Ruby and Rails Community through my work at reInteractive, I had no previous development experience. So, you may be thinking, who am I to tell you that you should choose to learn Ruby, and how can I give you technical advice on picking one programming language over another another? I’ll tell you:
Optimised for Developer Happiness
In most cases, you really could pick any language and build something you want with it. So, again why choose to learn Ruby? Not all programming languages were created equally, so while the chances are that you can build your application with any of them, each was created with a different purpose. The sole purpose for the creation of Ruby was for developer happiness, to create a language where people love doing what they do, writing code!
Ruby allows you to do things fast, the language is simple, and it therefore allows you to write less code than you would in other languages. This means that you can do things more quickly and that you’ll spend less time fixing bugs.
Working at reInteractive, I have attended many meetups and am always surrounded by Ruby developers. I still can’t believe how passionate every developer is about Ruby, and I’m yet to meet a Ruby developer who doesn’t love what they do and isn’t happy to share it!
From a beginner’s perspective it is amazing how much you can do without knowing much. How? First of all there are hundreds of resources, many free (like the InstallFest tutorial guide) that can help you learn, but more importantly because of the amazing amount of open source libraries available for anyone to use.
Ruby is an open source language, and because of this everything in Ruby is free! Thousands of people have contributed to the RubyGem library, that provide packages of code for you to work with. Using gems will save you time and money because so much of the code you need has already been written.
You’re able to leverage the skills of thousands of other developers and can use this to create something of your own. You can build so much, with so little knowledge because of these amazing resources and the thousands of gems available to you.
If you speak to anyone about working with Ruby and Rails, you’ll almost always be told about the two points that I’ve mentioned above. However, what we don’t always get told is how important the Community is when considering which programming language to choose.
Yukihiro ‘Matz’ Matsumoto is the creator of the Ruby programming language, and the Ruby Community have a saying, “Matz is nice, so we are nice”. This basically means, be nice to everyone, and give them a hand when they need it! You’ll find that the Ruby Community worldwide are extremely welcoming and are very passionate about what they do.
So, how does this help you pick a language? It means that when you choose to learn Ruby you are fortunate to have the help of Developers who are paid thousands of dollars for their knowledge, but are happy to give you their time for free to help you learn. I’m not sure where else you could find the best in the industry giving their time for free to train up what could potentially be their future competition?
Mentors in our community have said so many times, “there are no stupid questions!’” For a beginner, just hearing that is a relief! What holds us back in so many situations is just being too afraid to ask a questions, thinking only of how silly we are going to look. You’re almost sure to find someone who is happy to sit with you and patiently help you understand anything that you don’t understand.
So, we should all take advantage of this and start learning Ruby!