Ruby vs. JavaScript: Which Should You Learn First?

Coding for Beginners
Written by:
App Academy
Published on:
March 27, 2023

Explore the differences between Ruby and JavaScript to determine which programming language is best to learn first. This comparison will guide you in making an informed decision based on your coding needs and goals.

If you’re just getting started in programming, or you’re looking to improve your coding skills, you might be facing the confusing and overwhelming decision of which programming languages to learn first. You might ask yourself, does order matter when learning to code? Are there certain languages I should learn before others?

The programming languages you choose to learn and the order in which you learn them can have a major impact on your career as a student and a professional software engineer. The difficulty level, ease of getting a job, and marketability of your skills can all be affected by these decisions. Let’s take a closer look at Ruby on Rails vs. JavaScript specifically and help answer the question, “Should I learn Ruby or JavaScript first?”

What is Ruby?

Ruby is an open-source, dynamic language with a strong emphasis on ease of use and efficiency of development. It’s simple to learn and write, and its sophisticated syntax makes for a pleasant experience. People often use various naming conventions including Ruby, Ruby on Rails (RoR), or simply Rails. Ruby on Rails is a framework that’s built on the Ruby programming language.

Ruby is a high-level language. It’s optimized for programmer productivity and code readability. It does not have complex data structures or functions, making it relatively easy to learn.

It’s used in a wide variety of applications, and it’s known for its ability to build robust and modern web applications. It can be used to build websites, web applications, develop games, create automations, process data, perform data analytics, build internet interfaces, and more.

The Advantages of Ruby

Many developers use Ruby because it’s simple to use and easy to learn. It can be used for both simple and complex tasks, and most databases support Ruby, which allows developers to easily connect their applications with existing databases without needing additional software or libraries.

Model View Controller (MVC) architecture is a common method of structuring code for online applications, and Ruby on Rails uses it well. This makes it a viable development framework for getting web applications built quickly.

Ruby also has tons of community support, meaning that many developers are contributing to forums, creating tutorials, and answering questions about Ruby. If you ever run into an issue with your code, you’ll most likely find a solution by running a quick online search for your question.

Finally, Ruby is productive. It’s easy to get things done quickly without sacrificing code quality or maintainability. Its elegant syntax and built-in testing features allow developers to focus on their work rather than fighting with syntax rules or constantly debugging their code.

So, to sum up, Ruby:

  • Is simple to use and easy to learn
  • Can be used for both simple and complex tasks
  • Uses an MVC architecture method, which helps web applications get built quickly
  • Has community support
  • Has elegant syntax and built-in testing features

The Disadvantages of Ruby

One of the most significant factors that turn developers away from Ruby is that it performs slowly compared to some other programming languages, like Python. This can potentially cause issues when it comes to the scalability of an application.

Also, Ruby’s community-built tools and libraries, in addition to the framework itself, cause the language to often undergo various developments. It’s always updated with new features, so to stay updated on what’s going on, it’s important to actively participate in the community.

Finally, while Ruby shines in web development, using it for other types of projects can sometimes be more challenging. The language uses pretty standard features, so if you need something unique, Ruby may not provide the flexibility you need to do your work efficiently.

To sum up, Ruby:

  • Can perform slowly
  • May be undergoing various new developments
  • May not be best for a wide range of more specific projects

What is JavaScript?

JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages in use today. It was first used to make websites more interactive, and now it’s used to build mobile applications and back-end code for all kinds of projects.

JavaScript runs on your browser, meaning it runs on the user’s computer, not the server. It’s used to create interactive effects like animations and games and to add functionality to web pages.

It can be used in many different ways on your website. You can use it to build user interfaces (UI), like defining page layouts or adding animations that users can interact with. You can also use it to display information in a user interface, like adding buttons or checkboxes. Or it can be used to respond to events, like when someone clicks on something on the page or scrolls through it.

Continue Reading: What is JavaScript?

The Advantages of JavaScript

JavaScript is easy to learn. The syntax is consistent with many other programming languages. There are also different ways to learn and write JavaScript code, including various IDEs, online editors, and online tutorials you can use for free.

JavaScript makes it easy for developers to add functionality to their websites without modifying the existing code. This makes it possible for developers who don’t necessarily have access to backend systems to contribute to building rich user experiences.

JavaScript also enables developers to create their own custom elements. This is known as creating an API (application programming interface), and the most common use of APIs for JavaScript is creating libraries, which enables developers to write less code and simplify complex tasks.

JavaScript is extremely powerful when used in conjunction with other frameworks. It can also execute very quickly since it runs directly in the browser.

To sum up, JavaScript:

  • Is easy to learn
  • Makes it easy to add functionality and interactivity to websites
  • Enables the creation of custom elements
  • Is powerful when used in conjunction with other frameworks

The Disadvantages of JavaScript

One of the main issues with JavaScript, especially for programmers new to coding, is the lack of debugging features. While debugging is available in some HTML editors, its effectiveness can be limited. It can also be difficult for developers to identify the issue because the browser does not report an error.

Older browsers also may not support certain JavaScript operations, so testing and debugging can get complicated when it comes to developing applications to work on older browsers.

Lastly, JavaScript can sometimes pose a security issue. The fact that the user can see the JavaScript code makes it vulnerable to third-party abuse. For example, a DOM-based JavaScript injection vulnerability occurs when a script runs user-controlled data as interpreted JavaScript. An attacker may explore this flaw by creating a URL that allows the attacker-supplied JavaScript to run in another user’s browser.

To sum up, JavaScript:

  • Lacks debugging features
  • May not be supported on older browsers
  • Can sometimes pose a security risk

Ruby and JavaScript Similarities

When it comes to Ruby vs. JavaScript or Ruby on Rails vs. JavaScript frameworks, you may be surprised to know they share several similarities:

  • Both are object-oriented languages
  • Both are interpreted, meaning they’re run on the fly rather than compiled into machine code before being run
  • Both have a rich array of third-party libraries available for download
  • Both have highly active and engaged communities
  • Both are among the most popular programming languages
  • Both can be used for back-end development, based on the framework

Ruby and JavaScript Differences

There are also some notable differences between Ruby vs. JavaScript or Ruby on Rails vs. JavaScript frameworks:

  • JavaScript may be used as a front- or back-end language, but Ruby is reserved for back-end development
  • Ruby can track how much memory is being used, but JavaScript does not
  • The syntax of Ruby is far more straightforward than JavaScript’s — JavaScript is full of curly braces and other punctuation marks
  • Ruby is better for developing programs that require a lot of processing power from the computer’s CPU
  • JavaScript’s highly optimized engine makes it faster than Ruby, performance-wise

Ruby vs. JavaScript Developers: Career Outlook

It’s no secret that the demand for Ruby developers is rising. It’s also no secret that JavaScript is the programming language of the web, and, in many cases, its uses extend beyond that. As a result, Ruby and JavaScript are both popular programming languages with high demand and plenty of growth opportunities.

If you want to get into web development, JavaScript is probably the best starting point. JavaScript is one of the most popular programming languages used among full-stack developers, software engineers, and web developers. When it comes to compensation, the average national salary for JavaScript developers is around $104,739 a year, but this can vary by location.

On the other hand, Ruby developers tend to be highly technical people who love solving problems creatively. They’re usually hired by companies that want them to build new products from scratch, not just maintain existing ones. Salary-wise, compensation for Ruby developers averages $119,529 per year on the national level. This can also vary by location.

Should I Learn Ruby or JavaScript First?

If you’re asking the question, “Should I learn Ruby or JavaScript first?” the answer is: it depends.

The programming languages that are best for you to learn first will depend on your current skill level as well as your career or professional growth goals.

If you’re aiming to work for a certain company, consider whether the programmers there use JavaScript, Ruby, or even a different option. If you’re working toward a career as a full-stack developer, consider learning JavaScript first since it can be used on the front and back end of applications.

If you have some experience in other languages, you may find it easier to learn JavaScript rather than Ruby. On the other hand, some people find Ruby easier to understand than JavaScript because of its less complicated syntax.

Ruby is the first language we teach in our Campus Programs at App Academy. Its straightforward syntax and ease of use make it a great choice for beginners. Plus, because its structure is similar to English, it’s easy to understand even for those who have little to no programming experience. At App Academy, we teach Ruby first to give you a solid foundation for building your future knowledge base.

Whatever You Start with, You’re on the Right Track with App Academy

When it comes to programming languages, choosing which one to learn can be overwhelming, but it really comes down to you. Whatever direction you go in, learning to code is the first step in the right direction for leveling up your career.

App Academy teaches Ruby in our in-person Campus Programs in New York & San Francisco, and we teach JavaScript across all of our programs (online and in-person). If you’re considering taking that first step, take a closer look at our curriculum, or apply for our Campus or Online Programs today!

In-Person Campus Programs (Ruby & JavaScript) - New York & San Francisco Campus Programs

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