Boost your tech industry knowledge with our FREE RESOURCES - Explore our collection
Back to all articles

May 16, 2024 - 5 minutes

JavaScript vs. Ruby: What Language is Best for Beginners?

Javascript or Ruby? Let’s decide once and for all.

Juliette Carreiro - Tech Writer

If you’re considering learning how to code, you have probably been wondering what programming language you should start with. And that’s a great question, because choosing your first programming language will definitely have consequences in terms of what kind of projects you are going to be able to build and what companies you might work in one day.

That’s why we chose to make a comparison between JavaScript and Ruby, which are both good languages with which to kick off your coding journey; both have advantages and disadvantages, of course, and the right choice will ultimately depend on what your goals are.

Ruby was invented in 1995 by Yukihiro Matsumoto, who “really wanted a genuine object-oriented with easy-to-use scripting language.” JavaScript was also invented in 1995, but was built in just 10 days by Brendan Eich and was initially thought to be only used in the browser as a front-end language. 

Ruby’s syntax is easier than JavaScript’s; it’s short, easy to visualize, and often has only one way of achieving a result. JavaScript, on the other hand, has a lot of curly braces, multiple ways of achieving a result, and other “weird” punctuation which might seem a bit off-putting for beginners. It also has multiple ways of achieving a result. 

What do these differences mean ultimately for your choice? Let’s dive right in. 

Uses of JavaScript vs. Ruby

All in all, you might be asking yourself: should I learn JavaScript or Ruby? It seems like a lot of work for similar results, doesn’t it?

Well, diving into Ruby is indeed an easy first step to learn how to code. But learning how to code is rarely the end-result you are seeking. There’s probably a reason why you want to learn to code, usually building projects, landing a job in tech, or interacting better with developers. And since its introduction in 1995, JavaScript has evolved into quite a sophisticated and powerful language:

  • One of the biggest changes in JavaScript’s evolution is the creation of Node.js, which has transformed it into a front-end and back-end language. 

  • That means that you can actually build a full-stack web application using only ONE language. 

  • Released by Facebook in 2011, React is another framework that has made JavaScript more powerful on the front-end side of Web applications.

  • React and Node.js are the top two most wanted technologies by developers according to Stack Overflow’s 2018 survey, meaning these are the frameworks most current developers want to learn. 

  • As far as programming languages go, JavaScript is #2 in the most wanted list (at 19%), right behind Python (at 25.1%) which we teach in our Data Analytics Bootcamp, while Ruby sits at the 16th position at 5.7%.

Another factor to consider is speed; speed is crucial to a programming language because it defines how fast your application will be able to perform tasks. For certain tasks, JavaScript can be up to twenty times quicker than Ruby, making it a good choice to reduce your costs as your application scales to millions of users. In addition, performing the same task with JavaScript requires less computing power than with Ruby, meaning that your server infrastructure needs to be a lot more robust if you are using Ruby and desire the same output as if you were using JavaScript.

All in all, the fact that JavaScript can be used to build a full-stack application and that it is a lot faster than Ruby has turned it into a more popular language. Uber, Paypal, LinkedIn are some examples of companies who have switched from Ruby to JavaScript in recent years.

Therefore, as you can probably guess, there are a lot more web development jobs looking for applicants with JavaScript knowledge than there are for Ruby. If your aim is to land a job in tech, there is no question: you should choose JavaScript over Ruby.

If you want to launch a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for your future billion-dollar startup, then maybe Ruby is the way to go because you’ll spend less time learning and more time building. Consider the fact, however, that you will probably have to switch to another language if you are indeed successful!

Why Do Bootcamps Teach Ruby?

When most bootcamps were launched in 2012-2013, Ruby was getting all the hype because it was easy to learn and quite useful. Back then, everyone wanted a Ruby developer; once Node.js and React came along, it changed everything. Now, we’re not saying Ruby is useless today–in fact, Ruby is still a great and viable option if you are in a “learn fast build fast” mindset, especially if you’re looking to quickly build a website without much delay or previous experience. 

At Ironhack, we adapt quickly to market demands, and we’ve selected JavaScript and React as the focuses of our Web Development Bootcamp, ensuring that students are well-prepared for their future in tech. And that’s also why we teach Python in our Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence Engineering, and Data Science and Machine Learning Bootcamps, as Python is #1 for any data-related jobs.

Our bootcamps are designed for tech beginners looking to launch their tech career. Up for the challenge? We’ll see you in class. 

Related Articles

Recommended for you

Ready to join?

More than 10,000 career changers and entrepreneurs launched their careers in the tech industry with Ironhack's bootcamps. Start your new career journey, and join the tech revolution!