The Ruby programming language, released in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto, was designed as an intuitive platform with a focus on simplicity and productivity. Though it initially attracted a cult following, in recent years Ruby has gained more visibility in the programming community. Have you been curious about expanding your programming skills? Here are nine reasons why you should learn Ruby.

1. It’s easy to Learn

Ruby is a simple programming language that is easy for experienced programmers to pick up and a great introductory language for newbies to start with. It’s an object-oriented language (a language that streamlines the way you group code). In Ruby, all directions are consistent as the rules applying to objects apply to all of Ruby—a major plus when learning a new language.

2. Save time by writing more with less.

Because Ruby’s linguistic syntax is intuitive, writing code is much simpler and easier than other languages—you can kiss semicolons and parentheses goodbye. The language is designed to help you maximize action with fewer command calls, so you get cleaner code that is more functional (this saves de-bugging time—a major headache for programmers at all levels).

3. Write web apps quickly and easily.

Ruby is all about helping you make the things you want. Because the interface is easy-to-use and navigate, you can write web apps easily and quickly. With the introduction of Ruby on Rails, an open source web application framework for the Ruby language, you can create web apps in a matter of days instead of months. Sites like Basecamp, Amazon, Twitter, and Groupon were all created using Ruby on Rails.

4. The community will help you.

The Ruby programming community is welcoming and supportive. Ruby programmers are eager to help newbies starting out and to troubleshoot for experts who may have hit a wall, so you always have a network to reach out to while you’re learning. It also gives you access to new extension libraries to help you do more. Plus, Matz encourages new development in the community, recently collaborating with the Japanese government to offer a ¥1 million prize for the most interesting Ruby program.

5. It’s easy on the pocketbook.

Ruby is totally free of charge, only costing you the investment of time. And not only is it free of charge, it’s also free to use, copy, modify, and distribute.

6. Ruby can be customized.

One of the greatest features of Ruby is its flexibility. Users can alter all of its aspects by adding or removing any methods within the built in classes, as well as adding their own classes as necessary. In fewer words, this means you can easily format Ruby to fit your needs and work as efficiently as possible.

7. It’s portable.

Ruby functions across all platforms and operating systems, so everyone can access it and start learning anytime.

8. You can make your own Domain-Specific language.

For advanced programmers, creating a DSL can be a major help, but it can also be painstaking to make. (Domain-specific languages are programming languages made for a special purpose such as Maxima, which is used for spreadsheet formulas). Ruby’s simplicity and efficiency makes DSLs (such as Rake) much easier to write than in other languages.

9. Learning Ruby will get you more work.

Adding Ruby to your résumé makes you more versatile. The TIOBE index, which ranks the popularity and growth of programming languages, has continually ranked Ruby in the top 10, and its use is only growing in the programming and larger marketplace—even NASA uses Ruby to conduct simulations. With the growing popularity of Ruby on Rails, more large sites will be created using it and you’ll need to be on top of the trend. And now with the recent release of Ruby 1.9.3-p0, there’s no better time to start.

So whether you’re a seasoned programmer, code geek, or total noob, Ruby has something for you. What are you waiting for? Register today for our Ruby for Beginners course.

Page Last Updated: November 2011

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