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I'm going to be very frank: There is absolutely no reason why you shouldn't learn Ruby on Rails (RoR).
If you love technology and computers, want to learn how to create robust apps, and hate boring tasks, Ruby on Rails has your name written all over it.
If you want to join the web app movement and help businesses and people connect in order to boost productivity, that's another reason why Ruby on Rails would be a great skill for you to learn.
Ruby on Rails is the most straightforward app framework you can learn. It's flexible, open source, and it's also a coveted skill if you're looking to get hired. If you learn Ruby on Rails, you'll be able to build web apps for any company.
Whether you're already familiar with the Ruby programming language, you know a bit of HTML and CSS, or you know absolutely nothing about programming whatsoever, Ruby on Rails is a great resource for you to learn today.
The history of RoR stems from a product management tool.
Ruby on Rails is a framework for creating powerful web applications without needing to write endless lines of code. It allows you to accomplish more in less time by making assumptions based on the code you do input.
The Rails framework was created in 2003 by David Heinemeier Hansson as a byproduct of Basecamp, the product management tool, which makes perfect sense considering how much RoR can boost your productivity.
Within a year of creating Ruby on Rails (version 0.8.0), Hansson made RoR open source, but it wasn't until 2006, when Apple included RoR in a software bundle, that the framework took off and became part of the web design mainstream.
It's come a long way since then; at the time of writing this article, I'm using version 5.2.1.
RoR isn't going anywhere, so let's talk about why you should learn it now!
Learn RoR because it's easy.
If you are an absolute novice with no coding experience, the idea of learning a new framework or programming language may be a little daunting. That's fair though—some frameworks and languages are intimidating.
Rails is different because it was built to be an easy web application framework. It's easy to learn Rails not only because it's entirely open source, but also because it's flexible and lenient.
You will, however, have to have an intro to Ruby, a newbie-friendly programming language, to use the Rails framework. The good news is that you won't need to put off learning RoR until after you learn Ruby because you can learn them both at the same time.
If you do have some coding experience, you will whiz right through Ruby and Ruby on Rails lessons.
There's plenty of room for mistakes; it's okay if you leave out a parenthesis or a semicolon though because RoR will assume that there should be something there. You don't need to pay too much attention to the finicky syntax details to make fabulous web applications.
If you get stuck, help is always available.
If you do find anything confusing or challenging while you learn Ruby or Ruby on Rails, help is just a few mouse clicks away.
Since RoR is open source, and because so many developers use Rails, there is always someone available to help you if or when you get stuck. There are some great Rails communities and forums such as within the Ruby on Rail community and even Reddit who will help you whenever you get confused.
RoR is so popular that there are countless Ruby on Rails developers in every time zone available to help you; it doesn't matter if it's three in the morning and you need some guidance, you can get 24/7 support from other developers online.
Learn RoR to be a better coder.
You'll become a better coder with every language and framework you study, but Ruby on Rails will make you better at coding in less time.
If you've never done any coding before, learning the Ruby package will help you form a solid foundation for learning web development.
RoR is also a great way to kick off your career in software development because you get to learn the big picture basics of coding without spending time worrying about the mistakes you make. I often wish all web app frameworks were as forgiving as RoR, as the struggles every programmer knows are seemingly endless, if not nearly dauntingly insurmountable!
Learn Ruby and RoR to get hired easily.
With some of the most used websites using it to build their web applications, the Rails framework is more relevant than ever.
It's not just the famous and popular companies such as Airbnb, GitHub, and myfitnesspal that use RoR to build their apps. I mean, doesn't it seem like every company, big or small, has an app these days?
Society is relying on technology more and more, and small and local businesses need to stay up to speed, which is one of the many reasons to become a programmer in today's day and age.
The demand for fast, robust web applications isn't going away any time soon. If you learn how to build web applications using Ruby and Ruby on Rails, you'll be a valuable asset to almost any company—especially startups.
By dedicating a few months studying and mastering agile web development with Rails, you could have a six-figure salary by the end of the year!
You wouldn't have to spend a penny in the process either because, again, Ruby on Rails is open source, so there are countless free learning materials on the internet (I'll share some of them with you shortly so you can start learning ASAP).
Of course, it helps if you have experience with other programming languages and frameworks, so you'll probably have to wait a bit longer to get rich if you're starting from scratch or only know the basics of HTML and CSS.
Ready to start learning?
If the answer is yes, you clearly understand the value of spending time learning new, useful skills. Good for you! Now, it's time to start learning Rails!
The first resource that comes to my mind is Michael Hartl's The Ruby on Rails Tutorial. The book is brilliant and continuously revised to reflect every Rails update that takes place. You can read it online for free, or you can pay a fee to download the ebook, which includes a happy bonus of 14 screencast video lessons (I recommend!).
If you don't already know Ruby, you should get a handle on it before you read The Ruby on Rails Tutorial. Furthermore, you should supplement the book with hands-on tools so you can get practice as you read.
Codecademy is one of the best online sources for learning any code. Its lessons are highly interactive, which makes it easy to quickly get comfortable learning Ruby on Rails.
Another great resource is Plural Sight's Code School: Rails for Zombies. Though it costs $300 for a yearly subscription ($35 monthly), membership allows you to access Plural Sight's entire course library. It's a great deal, and they do offer a 10-day free trial. Their Rails course is comprehensive and takes you through every element of RoR, step-by-step, at the speed you feel comfortable with, ensuring your success as a future programmer in the years to come.