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8 Ruby Resources That Will Take Your Code to The Next Rail

If you want to learn to code, you really have a few options: you can go to a full-time programming school, you can take a part-time coding course (in-person or online), or you can be a self-study. Computer science degrees are hot and in-demand, but the truth is that most universities focus their computer science coursework on theory over practice (and most STEM professors are lacking in day-to-day industry experience). While you may dabble in code, you won't graduate ready to take on a full-fledged programming role. It's up to you to take your dev-ed into your own hands by either teaching yourself how to code or signing up for a web development course (or, preferably, a combination of the two).

Learning computer programming is no easy task, but once you become proficient in one language, it becomes worlds easier to pick up others. At Startup Institute, we work with students to master Ruby on Rails because it is in high-demand in the tech community right now, promising that our students will be highly employable. RoR enables developers to get products to market relatively quickly compared to other languages, so in the fast-paced startup world it can give young companies an edge.

We asked some of the top mentors and instructors from our full and part-time Ruby courses to share their top resources for learning Ruby (and Rails). Whether you're ramping up your skills for programming school or you're more of a self-study wondering how to learn ruby, use these tools for support and to have a little bit of fun with your code:[bctt tweet="8 great resources for learning #ruby"]

Ruby on Rails Tutorial:

Learn Web Development With Rails

by Michael Hartl

ruby on rails tutorial: learn web development with rails

Recommended by: Jerome Johnson; software application developer at TKML Technologies + SI Chicago alumnus + instructor

Best for: Beginners

This fantastic resource by Michael Hartl will give you great examples and detailed explanations on the basics of Ruby, Ruby on Rails, and some of the other technologies that are commonly used in conjunction. One of the things that I like best is the fact that, if you follow along with the book, by the end you will have a live, robust, and fully functional Rails application. This way, you will have live code to reference in the future if you decide to build other applications that use similar functionality. This book is also a common starting point for many Rails developers, so if you run into any hurdles, its very likely someone else has encountered them as well and posted a solution on Stack Overflow or in a blog post.

Ruby Warrior

learn programming with Ruby

Recommended by: Samuel Backus; software engineer at KAYAK + SI Boston alumnus

Best for: Beginners

Ruby Warrior is a game about navigating a dangerous dungeon by using Ruby to fight monsters and find priceless treasure. The soundtrack is awesome. It a ton of fun to play and double fun to play with someone else.[bctt tweet="On Ruby Warrior, you #learntocode + fight monsters. All in a day's work. @SamBackus"]

Codecademy: Introduction to Ruby

intro to ruby

Recommended by: Caroline Artz; web developer and designer + SI Chicago instructor

Best for: Beginners

Codecademy’s interactive Intro to Ruby track is well-executed, engaging, and set in a beautiful UI. If you're an absolute beginner, I think this is a fantastic place to start. I love that the course material is broken down into manageable modules and steps that make it easy to digest, navigate, and then reference later on. As a newbie, getting the hang of things is often challenging, but something about visualizing those lovely little green checks by the sections you’ve struggled with-- and then ultimately rocked-- can be just the confidence boost you need.[bctt tweet="[bctt tweet=".@Codecademy #Ruby course is well-executed w/ great UI, says @StartupInstCHI instructor @carolineartz" via="no"]


Learn to code

Recommended by: John Carmichael; director of operations at WeSpire + SI Boston instructor

Best for: Beginners, Intermediate, or Advanced coders

I've found Treehouse ( to be very valuable in my own learning of Ruby and Rails. I'm an old school software developer-- my first software job was in C++. After spending a few years breaking software as a security consultant and then building products as a technical lead, I felt a little out of touch with technologies like Rails and Node. Treehouse courses have helped me build a foundation in these technologies so I can better evaluate their usages on projects and it has had the side effect of getting me started with a few personal side projects, which is always lots of fun.[bctt tweet="[bctt tweet="Learning #Ruby? @StartupInstBOS instructor @JohnnyC115 suggests building foundations w/ @Treehouse" via="no"]

The Odin Project

learn web development for free

Recommended by:Joe Wagner; developer at MobileX Labs + SI Chicago RampUp instructor

Best for: Beginner to Intermediate coders

This was built by a former coding bootcamp grad, Erik Trautman. After graduating, Erik wanted to give people access to a free resource as well as help them meet other students along the way. The Odin Project is open source and anyone can contribute to the curriculum.

The Odin Project is an excellent resource since it begins with the basic building blocks of Ruby. This way students have a strong understanding before they continue to build on these concepts. By the end of the course, students will build a handful projects including tic tac toe, hangman, a web server and chess![bctt tweet="Build #Ruby basics w/ The Odin Project, says @StartupInstCHI instructor @bangner" via="no"]

Why's (poignant) Guide to Ruby

by Why the Lucky Stiff

guide to ruby

Recommended by: Joe Wagner (again!); developer at MobileX Labs + SI Chicago RampUp instructor

Best for: Beginners

Why’s (poignant) Guide to Ruby by Why The Lucky Stiff (Jonathan Gillet) is free and a great resource for beginners. It’s not the typical programming book: there are a ton of cartoons, strange humor and may motifs have become inside jokes in the Ruby community.[bctt tweet="Read Why's guide to #Ruby to learn to code w/ cartoons, says @StartupInstCHI instructor @bangner" via="no"]

Eloquent Ruby by Russ Olsen

learn programming ruby

Recommended by: Ethan Puzarne; software developer at Swipely + SI Boston alumnus and instructor

Best for: Intermediate coders

Anyone can write Ruby, but to write succinct, self-explanatory, DRY Ruby requires an understanding of the Ruby conventions. Olsen's voice entertains and informs through casual humor and a friendly voice. This is not a beginner's book. This is a book for the Ruby programmer looking to take their code to the next level.[bctt tweet="Read Eloquent #Ruby to take your code to the next level, says @StartupInstBOS instructor @toppy42" via="no"]

Code School

Screen Shot 2015-04-07 at 4.13.43 PM

Recommended by:Bach Bui; technology director at Startup Institute

Best for: Beginners

Code School is similar to Codecademy, but is more up-to-date, and allows users to deep dive into niche electives according to the languages and frameworks they're most interested in.

We're big fans of Ruby on Rails here at Startup Institute, but the more languages you experiment with the stronger a developer you'll become. Check out New York instructor Richard Lau's post on why you should be a Jack of all languages (and a master of one).

For more resources to help you learn Ruby, visit Similarly, aggregates coding resources to allow you to design your own coding coursework (check out their coding coursework here). Or, dive in deeper and learn from the greats with our full-time or part-time web development program. Want to learn more? Download the syllabus.

Photo credit: Jeroen Bennink via Flickrcc