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Learn Ruby on Rails for Free With These 6 Websites

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From Airbnb and Hulu to GitHub and Shopify, dozens of tech companies use a single back-end web development framework: Ruby on Rails (RoR). By extending the Ruby programming language with the open-source Rails framework, RoR has formed a powerful technology and has won accolades for its speed of deployment, pre-built modules and plugins, and user-friendly community.

The RoR MVC framework is in demand at many reputable companies thanks to its emphasis on convention over configuration and the principle of don’t repeat yourself (DRY). It’s a strong choice for web developers looking to learn new programming skills. With so many educational resources online in the form of MOOCs, tutorials, and discussion forums, learning Ruby on Rails has never been easier.

Fullstack Academy graduates consistently get jobs at the top-tier companies of their choice, so we have a good idea which resources are most beneficial for beginners. Here’s an overview of the best free Ruby on Rails tutorials to get you up and coding in no time.

Learning how to code

1. Codecademy

Codecademy is one of the most renowned online code schools to offer free programming courses. The website includes separate tutorials for both Ruby and Rails, and by the time you’re done, you will have built eight fully functional web applications.

2. The Ruby on Rails Tutorial

If in-depth reading is more your style, you’ll undoubtedly be drawn to The Ruby on Rails Tutorial by Michael Hartl. Even if you’ve never programmed a single line of Ruby, Hartl’s book will teach you how to build “real, industrial-strength web applications.” The most recent edition of the book has been updated for Rails 5, so you’re guaranteed to learn the most up-to-date RoR practices. The book is available for free online, but pro tip: Purchase the e-book, and you’ll also get access to exclusive screencast videos.

3. Try Ruby

Try Ruby, like Codecademy, is an interactive site for Ruby on Rails beginners that allows you to program within your browser. But unlike Codecademy, it has a super-playful and accessible style. All it takes is completing a series of short exercises and you’ll have mastered the basics of the Ruby language.

4. Ruby Koans

Think you’re already a Ruby expert? Give Ruby Koans a try. In Zen Buddhism, a koan is a paradoxical question or statement that’s intended to provoke thought in the listener. In Ruby Koans, each “koan” is a tricky coding exercise that requires you to use your knowledge of Ruby to get the program working correctly. Exercises are organized into a series of tests you need to pass to keep building with the Rails web framework.

How to learn how to code

5. Rails for Zombies

Rails for Zombies is the counterpart of the Try Ruby tutorial we mentioned earlier. Using video tutorials and an interactive, game-like format, the Rails for Zombies course helps you learn Rails from scratch through a series of programming exercises. The course author is well-known for helping build Envy Labs, Starter Studio, and Code School, and the 10-day free trial should get you up and running before you know it.

6. Roadmap for Learning Rails

So you’ve given Rails a try with some of the other resources, but are you actually ready to use it in production? The Roadmap for Learning Rails will help you master RoR and back-end web development—and that’s not all. The website outlines all the most important concepts for you to know in order to be successful in a career in software development, which includes not just Ruby on Rails but also HTML/CSS, JavaScript, Git, Heroku, and SQL.

Now What?

How to learn Ruby on Rails

These six free resources are a great way to get started with Ruby on Rails, but as your knowledge increases, you’ll need to do more. Try working independently on a few Ruby on Rails projects that interest you. Your skills will undoubtedly get stronger and you’ll still have money in your pocket for more advanced coding bootcamps.

If you’re looking for something even more in-depth, consider the full-time immersive software development courses offered at Fullstack Academy. The curriculum is designed to help you build the skills you need to transition to a career as a full-time web developer.

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