This guide on how to become a Ruby on Rails developer will show you the process to get this job. You will know the most essential knowledge and skills.
With almost 20 years of working as a Ruby on Rails developer, I can confidently say that this field has potential for you to grow.
Keep reading because I’ll give you a clear picture of what to do in the process!
Ruby on Rails (also called Rails or RoR) is an open-source web application framework using the Ruby language.
This framework was created by David Heinemeier Hansson, first released in 2004, and has been used to create many popular websites you use today, for example, Airbnb and Shopify.
Rails offers a rich set of tools and libraries that accelerate the development of dynamic, database-driven web applications.
One of Rails’ key ideas is to avoid repeating things. It does this by using patterns and shortcuts. For example, it automatically creates some parts of the website based on how you want to store information.
As a RoR developer, my job is to create and take care of websites and web apps using RoR, including:
- Back-end tasks: This is my primary duty. I handle data storage, business logic, and interaction with other services.
- Fixing bugs: Sometimes things go wrong, like when buttons don’t work or pages don’t load. I need to find and fix these bugs.
- Adding new features: If clients or project managers want a new feature on the website, I figure out how to add it. It could be anything from adding a new page to making a button do something special.
- Teamwork: I talk and work with other team members, designers, and managers to ensure we know about project requirements, design decisions, and progress updates.
- Testing: I run tests to ensure the website works before it reaches users.
- Deployment and maintenance: Once the website is ready, I put it online for people to use. I keep an eye on it to fix any issues that might come up.
While these are the overall duties of RoR developers, the specific tasks and emphasis on certain duties vary depending on the project, the team’s composition, and your specialization.
To become a RoR developer, you need to know HTML, CSS, and Ruby language because you will work with them daily.
I break this process into seven steps and set goals for each step. When you get to the end of this process, you will definitely be able to get the job!
To become a RoR developer, your first step is to learn two important things: HTML and CSS. These are the basic tools you need to build websites.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
HTML is the structure of a web page. It defines the content and layout of your site, including headings, paragraphs, images, and links.
Knowing HTML is crucial for working on the front end of a website, as Rails developers often need to integrate their back-end logic with well-structured HTML templates.
CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
As a Rails developer, you need to know CSS to ensure your websites look good. This knowledge becomes essential when customizing the appearance of your Rails-generated views.
Learning these basics isn’t hard, and there are lots of online resources and tutorials to help. Once you have a good grasp of HTML and CSS, you’ll find it much easier to dive into Ruby on Rails and create websites!
The second step to becoming a RoR developer is knowing the Ruby language because it is the language Rails understands and uses to build websites.
You should learn this language after knowing about HTML and CSS because it is much more in-depth and complex. And I recommend learning it after knowing the basics.
Ruby teaches you vital ideas in coding, like using names for things (variables), repeating actions (loops), and making tasks (functions). These ideas are building blocks that work in many programming languages, not just Ruby.
Fortunately, several resources are available to help you get started, including online tutorials and interactive coding platforms.
While it’s possible to learn these things yourself, I recommend finding a RoR course and seriously investing in it.
RoR courses are designed with a clear structure, starting from the basics and gradually progressing to more advanced topics.
This step-by-step approach helps you build a strong foundation and know the framework thoroughly without getting lost in vast information online.
These courses typically cover a wide range of topics, including:
- Setting up a development environment
- Understanding the MVC architecture
- Working with databases
- Creating user interface
- Deploying apps
If you don’t know where to find a quality course, here are my recommendations:
- Online learning platforms: Udemy, Coursera, and edX
- Coding Bootcamps: General Assembly, App Academy, and Microverse
Instructors of these courses are often seasoned developers who have worked extensively with the framework. They provide expert guidance and share best practices in real-world scenarios you might face as a developer.
Many RoR courses offer practical exercises to solidify your learning. You will gain the confidence and skills needed to work on your own projects in the future.
Connecting with experienced RoR developers can help you learn from their knowledge and experiences. They can give you tips to make your learning process easier and new ways to think about problems.
Another essential reason to build a network is it helps you find jobs. Your connections can tell you about job openings or freelance work. I got my first job through these connections.
You can start by joining online communities dedicated to RoR. GitHub is a great place to start because it has nearly 4,800 contributors. You can follow RoR projects, contribute to open-source projects, and engage with other developers.
It’s nice to be part of a community. You can share your experiences, help others, and be a part of something bigger.
The people you meet in your network can stay with you in your career. You might work together on projects and continue learning from each other.
Don’t forget to follow RoR developers and firms on social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Reddit. You can engage with their posts, share your insights, and connect with like-minded individuals.
Becoming a skilled RoR developer isn’t just about reading and learning. It’s about rolling up your sleeves and actually building things.
When you work on actual projects using RoR, you learn how to create different parts of a website, make them work together, and fix things when they go wrong.
Doing hands-on projects also helps you learn how to work with others. In a real work setting, you won’t work alone but are part of a team. So, you will learn how to share your code, review each other’s work, and communicate well.
Another great thing about getting hands-on is to put what you’ve done in your portfolio to show employers what you’re capable of.
To get practical experience, I recommend starting with small projects, maybe building a basic online tool or a simple website. As you get more comfortable, you can tackle more challenging projects.
You can also join open-source projects, where you work with others on free software that anyone can use. Otherwise, if you’re interested in an office environment, you can find internships to gain work experience.
Besides theoretical knowledge in this field, you need to develop relevant skills to be able to complete the tasks of the job, including:
- Ruby programming: Practice writing clean and efficient Ruby code.
- MVC architecture: Learn how to structure your apps using the MVC pattern.
- Database management: Hone your skills in creating, querying, and managing data using tools like ActiveRecord.
- RESTful APIs: Learn how to build and consume RESTful APIs, a common way for websites to communicate with each other.
- Testing: Practice writing tests using tools like RSpec or MiniTest to ensure your code is reliable and maintainable.
- Debugging: Learn to identify and fix issues in your code efficiently.
- Version control (Git): Master using Git for version control, managing code changes, and collaboration.
- Deployment and server management: Learn how to deploy your apps to servers, manage server configurations, and ensure smooth operation.
- Security: Know best practices for securing websites.
Besides the above technical skills, you need to develop these soft skills to work well with others:
- Communication and teamwork
- Time management
- Continuous learning
Remember that skill development takes time and practice. I recommend regularly working on projects, seeking feedback, and actively engaging with the RoR community to improve your skills.
Crafting a solid resume is a final step before applying for this job, as it provides a concise snapshot of your skills, experience, and qualifications to potential employers.
Here are the vital details to put in your resume:
- Relevant skills (technical and soft)
- Projects and experience (including achievements)
- Education and training (RoR courses)
- GitHub profile
- Contact information
To make your resume outstanding, you need to keep it neat and easy to read. You can use keywords in the job description. If the job is looking for certain RoR skills, include them in your resume.
Remember to tailor your resume for each job because each company will have different requirements regarding duties and roles.
The answer is yes. RoR stands out as a user-friendly framework. So, it is a popular starting point for newcomers in web development.
One reason is that the programming language it uses, Ruby, is designed to be easy to read and understand. Thus, the learning curve is smoother if you are new to coding.
Another cool thing is that if you run into problems or questions, there is a big community to give you a lot of solutions. Websites like Stack Overflow have answers for many common issues, so you’re not alone while learning this.
RoR is popular in the tech world. It is trusted by big companies because it helps build websites quickly and has lots of helpful tools.
Already, over 738,000 websites use RoR, including big companies like Airbnb, GitHub, and Groupon. Thus, you can count on its power and reliability.
There are over 178,000 ready-made tools (called gems) you can use with RoR to build websites faster. Also, nearly 4,800 contributors are working on improving RoR. So, it’s always getting better.
In 2023, the average total pay for a RoR developer was around $109,839 per year, with a base pay of approximately $94,880 per year.
The salary range typically falls between $72,539 and $138,694, but some highly skilled developers can earn up to $180,234 annually.
Regarding the job outlook, demand for these developers is expected to increase by 13% from 2018-2028. This growth indicates that more companies recognize the value of Ruby on Rails. They are seeking skilled developers to work for them.
In this process of becoming a Ruby on Rails developer, you need a solid knowledge of HTML, CSS, and Ruby. You can consider online courses or coding Bootcamps to be easier to learn.
Even though Ruby is an old language, RoR development is still attractive and brings a lot of income and job opportunities.
I’m sure you already know what you need to do through the 7-step guide above. Wishing you achieve your dream!