In a recent email about the upcoming Burlington Girl Develop It Ruby Workshop, I was asked “why should someone learn Ruby?” This is a question I often think about, as I chose Ruby as the language to focus my time on and feel strongly about it. Here are my reasons why someone should learn and use Ruby:

  • Ruby, unlike any other language I have used, does not get in the way of developing. The syntax is incredibly friendly and sensible. There are a minimal number wacky syntax rules that may trip people up. It is the only language I have used (having used Java, C++, C#, Obj-C in the past) that lets you express yourself and solve the problem at hand without worry about a bunch of other junk. It is just fun to write code in Ruby.
  • The Ruby community is pretty darn awesome. The people I have communicated with are always helping others out, contributing code to projects and creating open source projects that benefit everyone. The resources out there for learning at all levels is mind-blowing. Whether you are a very beginner or have been going at it for years, there is destined to be a blogs, books and screencasts to help you out.
  • Ruby is still growing, forming and finding its place. I think it is really cool to think that anyone can be a part of shaping Ruby.
  • If someone wants to advance in the “industry” they need to make things, and I think that Ruby helps people create a whole lot faster.
  • Ruby is free. Someone could learn how to develop and deploy a production application all for free. A gigantic portion of the resources out there for developing with Ruby are free.
  • On a personal level, I believe Ruby to be important because it is the most beginner friendly language that contains nearly all of the concepts of programming and object oriented programming. I think that if middle schools and high schools are going to teach programming, they should be teaching Ruby, not PHP or Java or C++. Once a person has experience with the concepts of programming without the syntax baggage that comes with those languages, they will be able to abstract those concepts and apply them to whatever language they are interested in or need to know.

If you are looking to learn programming, I recommend Ruby. Ruby may not be the answer to every technical problem, but you can sure do a whole lot with it and it is always getting better.