person sitting cross-legged on the floor practicing coding on her laptop Ruby vs Python: Which One Should Be Your First Programming Language?

Ruby vs Python: Which Programming Language Should I Learn First?

Python vs Ruby. Ruby vs Python. Which should you learn? The answer to this question depends on how you intend to use these programming languages. This article dives into the differences and similarities between Ruby and Python and the top 10 factors to help you pick the best coding language for you. 

Python or Ruby: Which Coding Language Should I Study as a Beginner?

Python is a popular language for coding, yet Ruby also has its benefits. Generally speaking, Ruby is better for web development and design. Python is best for data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence applications. 

Ruby and Python are similar in terms of being beginner-friendly and compatible with multiple platforms. To get a clear idea of which of these popular programming languages you should learn first as a beginner, have a look at the similarities and differences between Python and Ruby. 

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Top Similarities

  • Python and Ruby are both server-side, general-purpose, cross-platform, high-level languages for coding. 
  • The commands for these programming languages are in English, so Anglophone users find each an enjoyable language for coding. 
  • As open source coding languages, Python and Ruby don’t require a license to use or distribute. 
  • Ruby and Python are suited to beginners. They are ideal for learning code because of their clean syntax and how quickly you can write lines of code. 
  • Ruby and Python are both object oriented programming (OOP) languages. In other words, these coding languages rely on the concept of objects to function. 

Top Differences

  • Python is used for machine learning, deep learning, and artificial intelligence. Ruby is better for web development frameworks and functional programming. 
  • Python isn’t fully object oriented, whereas Ruby is. Ruby relies solely on the concept of objects, but you can write Python without using Python classes.  
  • Python’s programming framework is Django, and for Ruby, it’s Ruby on Rails. 
  • The range of libraries for Python is wider than that of Ruby’s. Working with Python is a lot quicker as you have access to much more prewritten code.
  • Ruby doesn’t have functions, but Python does. Instead of functions, Ruby uses methods and Procs. 

Which Is Better, Ruby or Python?

Choosing between Ruby or Python is tricky for many tech beginners. To help you, check out these 10 factors to consider for choosing Ruby or Python. 

Demand in the Job Market 

Python and Ruby both have elegant syntax. However, Python is in higher demand. We’re going to look at a few sources to demonstrate this. 

According to StackOverflow’s 2020 survey of developers, 44 percent use Python, and only seven percent have Ruby expertise. An annual survey by CodinGame reveals that 48 percent of HR Professionals and developers feel that Python is in demand. Ruby didn’t feature on this survey’s top 10 list at all. 

ZipRecruiter confirms that Python is one of the 10 top skills mentioned in job listing descriptions. Again, Ruby doesn’t feature on this list at all. Judging by the data, Python has a higher demand than Ruby. This is probably the most important difference between the two languages. 

Community 

Both the Python and Ruby communities are passionate and each genuinely wants to spread the good word about their favorite programming language. You can find multiple websites hosting group discussions, tutorials, and guides for Python and Ruby.

According to a recent report by Dice citing the latest industry data, there are 10.1 million Python developers around the globe and only 1.8 Ruby developers. This means that the Python community is over five times larger than the Ruby community. 

Coding Libraries 

We know that Python has a larger library than Ruby. The standard libraries for Python include Ramp, NumPy, Pandas, Dash, NLTK, Theano, SciPy, MILK, PyBrain, PyTorch, Bob, TensorFlow, Bokeh, Seaborn, and Chainer, and there are around 136,000 others. 

Ruby has around 133,000 libraries that are known as gems. Some common gems in the developer community are Rubocop, Overcommit, Byebug, Better_errors, Rspec, Capybara, Factory Bot, Shoulda Matchers, Simplecov, and Faker. 

Python and Ruby have an excellent selection of libraries, but Python’s libraries work better for scientific calculation. So, if scientific calculation isn’t a priority for you, Ruby is a great option. Yet if you’re planning to work with machine learning and data science, Python is the better choice. 

Web Development 

If you want to learn web development, choosing between Ruby or Python is a tough choice. On the one hand, Python is much faster, but Ruby is much more flexible. Plus, the new release of Ruby 3 is three times faster than Ruby 2.

What you need to consider are the coding libraries for web development. Ruby’s libraries are better for web development as they have software for debugging, testing, code quality, authentication, authorization, and deployment. These libraries have everything you need to build a functional, responsive website.

Learning Curve 

Ruby and Python are two of the easiest programming languages to learn, but Python is easier. Ruby is more complicated to learn because of how flexible it is. Tech newbies might not understand how to work with Ruby and it can take about six months to learn.

Python is simple from the get-go as this language is clearly structured. When it comes to programming languages for beginners, Python is a well-known top choice. You can learn the fundamentals of Python within three months. 

Web Frameworks 

Python relies on the Django framework, and for Ruby, it’s Ruby on Rails. These frameworks are both open source, yet they also have significant differences. Ruby on Rails is faster than Django, provides better stability, and offers organizations improved scalability. 

Django is easier to learn and configure compared to Ruby on Rails, and HTML templating is easier. Fundamentally, both Django and Ruby on Rails are fantastic web frameworks. Choosing the right one just depends on the software you want to develop.

Famous examples of Ruby on Rails in action include Airbnb, Hulu, SlideShare, Crunchbase, and Basecamp. Software like Instagram, Spotify, YouTube, and The Washington Post are developed with Django. 

Syntax 

Python and Ruby both have beginner-friendly syntax. Ruby’s high flexibility allows developers to experiment with code, yet it’s a lot harder to check for bugs. Consequently, developers using Ruby will spend much more time testing databases and the software. 

The main objective of Python is to be simple to read and understand. Unlike Ruby, Python’s simple syntax has no special characters, keywords, or semicolons. Developers using Python can quickly fix bugs and create innovative software. When it comes to syntax, Python is better. 

Use Cases 

With Python, you have a much more diverse range of use cases. These use cases include geographic information systems, test automation systems, data science algorithms, data analytics solutions, mathematical algorithms, machine learning applications, and deep learning solutions. 

Developers can only use Ruby for web development, prototyping, web systems, and data analysis. These uses are limited and might make it difficult for developers to build end-to-end software with all their desired features. 

Performance 

Your programming language of choice needs to provide optimal performance for your development project. So, let’s review how Ruby and Python compare in terms of performance.

Ruby on Rails is faster than Django, but Ruby on Rails is much more problematic. As a result, you’ll find yourself checking errors constantly and having to fix more complicated flaws. 

Python doesn’t involve as many coding errors because of how simple the syntax is. This gives you a smooth performance in your development process and less difficult challenges. You can expect a project to be much quicker using Python and its wide range of libraries. 

Resources and Programs 

Ruby might be a flexible language, but Python is much more popular. There are many more resources, strong communities, tutorials, and programs that focus on Python. 

Finding programs that focus on Ruby alone is not common. Since the community is smaller, resources and tutorials aren’t as abundant as they are for Python. 

If you’re a seasoned programmer or developer, this might not be so much of a deal-breaker. However, beginners in tech might find it challenging to find Ruby solutions through self-taught learning. 

How to Learn Python and Ruby

A coder reading a book with his laptop open in front of him Ruby vs Python: Which One Should Be Your First Programming Language?
Take an immersive approach to programming with a Ruby or Python bootcamp.

You can learn Python or Ruby through various learning pathways, including online courses, degree programs, self-studying, and bootcamp programs. Degree programs are more rigid and expensive compared to other learning options. Online courses and bootcamp programs allow you to study at your desired pace while paying half the cost of a degree program.

Professionals can also use websites and communities for self-study, learning Ruby or Python through videos, guides, and lectures. However, you won’t have as much guidance as you would with a bootcamp, which are the fastest and most efficient option of all. Let’s take a look at some of the top bootcamps for learning Ruby and Python. 

Best Python Bootcamps

Bootcamp Location Program Tuition
Nucamp Remote Back End, SQL, and DevOps Developer with Python $1,480
Udacity Remote Intermediate Python $399 per month
General Assembly Remote Python Programming $3,950
Noble Desktop Remote, New York City Python for Data Science Bootcamp
Python Developer Certificate
$1,495
$3,995

Best Ruby Bootcamps

Bootcamp Locations Program Tuition
Le Wagon Remote, Amsterdam, Bali, Barcelona, Belo Horionte, Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Beunos Aires, Casablanca, Cologne, Dubai, Istanbul, Lausanne, Lille, Lima, Lisbon, London, Lyon, Madrid, Marseille, Mauritius, Melbourne, Mexico, Milan, Montreal, Munich, Nantes, Nice, Oslo, Paris, Rennes, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Singapore, Stockholm, São Paulo, Tel Aviv, Tokyo Web Development Course $7,614
Microverse Remote Software Development Bootcamp $15,000
CodeCore College Vancouver Web Development Bootcamp $10,700 – $12,700
Altcademy Remote Backend Web Development $990 – $1,190

What Programming Language Should I Learn First?

The Ruby and Python programming languages are similar yet offer different advantages and use cases. While Ruby is more flexible, Python is easier to learn and developers can use this coding language for a wider range of tasks. More developers also use Python than Ruby, meaning Python has a higher demand in the job market. 

We suggest learning Python before Ruby. Doing this will help you gain a competitive edge when searching for jobs, and Python is extremely beginner-friendly. Once you have a handle on Python, you can proceed to learn Ruby. 

Python vs Ruby FAQ

Should I learn Ruby or Python?

Whether you should learn Ruby or Python depends on the applications you want to use programming languages for. Ruby is more difficult to learn than Python and is best for web development and design. Python is ideal for data science use cases, and it’s best for tech newbies.

What is easier, Ruby or Python?

Python is simpler than Ruby because Ruby is more flexible and prone to errors. Python doesn’t include special characters, semicolons, or keywords, making it easier to interpret and use.

Is Ruby or Python more popular?

In terms of popularity, Python takes the cake. Around 44 percent of developers use Python compared to the seven percent who use Ruby. The Python community is also about five times bigger than the Ruby community.

Is Ruby good for beginners?

Ruby is one of the programming languages that are ideal for beginners. This scripting language is easy to read and flexible. However, learning Ruby has a steeper learning curve, and it may take six months to learn this programming language.

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