Published: June 30, 2022 • 2 min read
Why should someone learn Ruby in 2022?
Ruby was my first programming language, and although I’ve drifted elsewhere, I write Ruby every day. Many people in my network are Ruby diehards. As a result, it’s been a long time since I’ve gotten to sell someone on Ruby.
I’d recommend Ruby because it is optimized for developer happiness, it’s an exceptional scripting language, it grants access to Ruby on Rails, it has a fantastic community, and it provides stable work.
No language is perfect. Ruby has been critiqued by many, and I won’t rehash or challenge their arguments here. This is a sales pitch.
Ruby is a joy to write!
Ruby creator Matz tried to create a language optimizing “developer happiness.” Consider this Ruby code:
3.times do print 'Welcome ' end
This code looks like a sentence. People can figure out what it does.
Ruby is an elegant and expressive language, and a pleasure to work with.
Perhaps related to my previous point, Ruby is one of the best scripting languages ever.
My colleague Jack calls it a ‘glue language’ because you can stick together all kinds of ideas into one working, coherent stream of logic. People use Ruby to manage DevOps, write scripts and automation, build command-line tools, process data, and scrape the web. It’s good at a lot of things.
Ruby makes hard things easy.
Beyond the language is Ruby on Rails, one of the most successful software products of all time.
The story of Ruby is that it was a passionate hobbyist’s language until DHH wrote Ruby on Rails with it. Certainly, Rails elevated Ruby into a top-ten programming language, and together they formed an ideal platform for many kinds of web applications.
Rails is a survivor: it gracefully forked into API-driven as server-rendered apps lost their shine. If you’re a frontend dev who wants to learn a backend language, consider Ruby.
Ruby has a fantastic community!
Today there are many programmers who have written Ruby for most of their careers. They’re accessible, and I’ve found they are mostly brimming with MINASWAN (“Matz is nice and so we are nice”) energy.
The ecosystem, Rubygems, is vast and active. Tough problems in web development were solved years ago by gems, offering solutions that have been battle-tested in production for a decade or more.
Ruby offers job stability.
I remember the last few times Ruby was pronounced dead. “X language/framework is the future of web dev” was the crackle in the air. And yet I know many programmers who have been writing Ruby code since ~2008, getting paid well and delivering valuable software.
Ruby isn’t the ‘it’ language anymore, or the languages of bootcamps, but it has become a perfectly boring technology: it’s stable, it works, and it powers many an enterprise.
If job stability is a goal, Ruby is a good choice.
Ruby is an amazing piece of technology. If you’re interested in it, give it a try! I bet you’ll be hooked.
If you enjoyed this post, I wrote something similar about Elixir a few years ago.
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Blog of Jake Worth, software engineer in Maine.