Best resources to learn Ruby on Rails

Hi, I’m Brian, a former senior software engineer and now software engineering mentor at Pathrise. I have worked with hundreds of software engineers to help them land their dream job. Check out my article on the best resources to learn Ruby on Rails.

Many developers use Ruby on Rails, a service-side web application framework, to build databases, web services, and web pages. Given the language’s versatility and popularity, there are so many resources online for programmers looking to advance their current skills that finding the right one can be difficult.

To help you find the program that best matches your learning and career goals, we have created a list of well known online resources and courses for learning Ruby on Rails so that developers at any level can master new techniques and keep improving.

Codecademy

With free and paid courses, Codecademy is an online tool that teaches Ruby on Rails, as well as other programming languages. While the beginner Ruby course is free, those interested in taking the intermediate Ruby on Rails course need to subscribe to a pro membership plan, which costs about $20-$40 per month. Both courses are interactive, take about 10 hours to complete, and cover core Ruby on Rails concepts, such as how to use the MVC design pattern and how to communicate with databases to persist data.

Coursera

Coursera is an online learning platform with courses that teach Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and other topics. Through their partnership with Coursera, Johns Hopkins University offers a popular 6-course Ruby on Rails web development specialization. While the program recommends that users complete the courses in sequence, students can skip over the topics that they already know. Those in the specialization participate in hands-on projects, recorded lectures, and assignments that teach users how to build websites and applications with Ruby on Rails in conjunction with other programming languages, including HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. The courses can be audited for free, but users must pay a fee to earn a certificate of completion.

Udemy

With over 100,000 offerings, Udemy has a few courses that teach Ruby on Rails. Those with no prior experience in the language can take “Learn Ruby on Rails from Scratch.” This course includes 39 lectures and takes 9.5 hours to complete. An option for programmers with some background in the language is “The Complete Ruby on Rails Developer Course,” which teaches users how to create innovative web applications using Ruby on Rails. A larger commitment, this popular course has 415 lectures, takes 47.5 hours to complete, and is a good alternative to a full-time web development or software engineering bootcamp.

The Odin Project

A free resource, The Odin Project is an online bootcamp that is sponsored by Thinkful. For their full-stack programming track, users can choose from Ruby on Rails or JavaScript. The bootcamp is open source, so advanced software engineers create the curriculum by choosing from the best free online resources. Self-paced, the course takes about 1000 hours to complete and features a mix of tutorials, blogs, reading, and videos. Along the way, students start building their portfolio by completing assignments such as basic scripts, games, and websites. While there is no formal instruction, The Odin Project has an active discussion board where beginner and advanced developers can ask questions and offer assistance.

Codewars

Commonly used as a software engineering interview prep tool, Codewars is a community-created online platform with coding challenges in a number of programming languages, including Ruby. The coding challenges, referred to as “kata,” are written by advanced software engineers. As users complete kata, they move through the ranks and encounter more challenging problems. Users can discuss their solutions and check out their peers’ work on the platform discussion board. To join, users have to prove their skills by solving a challenge in Ruby or another language of their choice, so they need to have some background in programming before signing up.

freeCodeCamp

Like Codewars, freeCodeCamp is an online tool with tutorials for those who are interested in learning more about Ruby on Rails and other programming languages. Their Ruby on Rails tutorials cover topics such as creating apps, databases, and MVS, as well as using Ruby on Rails in conjunction with other tools and languages, such as SQL, jQuery, and reactJS. Users who are interested in connecting with their peers can ask questions and discuss coding challenges on the freeCodeCamp online forum.

Treehouse

Treehouse offers individual courses for those who are new to programming with Ruby on Rails. In addition to modules that teach users the ins and outs of Ruby on Rails applications, users can take courses that cover more advanced topics such as active record associations, servers, deployment with Capistrano, using Rails in conjunction with PostgreSQL, and building apps with Sinatra. Those who are interested in taking the self-paced skill courses can subscribe for a basic or pro membership, while those who are looking to work with mentors and peers to learn front-end or full-stack development with JavaScript can register for the techdegree program. All students have access to recorded lectures, interactive practice sessions, and the online discussion board.

Bloc

A well known tech bootcamp, Bloc offers a self-paced online web development apprenticeship that prepares students for careers in web development by teaching Ruby on Rails, as well as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and jQuery. Before starting the program, students must complete about 20 hours of pre-work in Ruby on Rails. The program prepares students for entry-level web development positions. To help students practice their Ruby skills, Bloc has created Ruby Warrior, a game where users write Ruby code to advance a knight character through levels.

GoRails

An online resource for developers with some experience working with Ruby on Rails, GoRails offers hundreds of episodes (lessons) that teach users how to write complex solutions for advanced design and development problems. Users can watch many of the episodes for free, but they need to pay the subscription fee to access the entire episode library, the community discussion forum, the private Slack community, and the online dashboard, which users can use to keep track of their progress. In addition, GoRails provides free guides that show users how to install and deploy Rails, as well as a list of resources for learning more about Ruby on Rails.

Ruby Tapas

Similarly, RubyTapas is an online resource for those with prior experience programming in Ruby on Rails. They stream 2 episodes (lessons) per week that introduce subscribers to intermediate and advanced Ruby concepts such as object-oriented design and refactoring skills. Each episode is live, as well as recorded, so users can refer back to previous material and keep learning. Most episodes feature short videos, code walkthroughs (with illustrations), and written explanations. While some resources are free, users need to pay a monthly subscription fee to access most of the episodes.

Ruby Koans

Intermediate and advanced Ruby on Rails developers can advance their skills by using Ruby Koans. The program is broken up into 282 koans, which are downloadable files that include lessons on subjects such as arrays, class methods, and constants, as well as larger hands-on projects. While some koans require users to substitute the correct answer for an incorrect one, others ask users to supply their own solutions. The koans should be completed in order, as new lessons build on previous ones. Users are encouraged to consult the Ruby Koans GitHub page for sample user solutions.

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