by Andy Johnston, Student Advisor @ Bloc
Ask a Junior Developer
If you ask a junior developer, early in their career “what language I should learn?”, they’ll likely name whatever language is trending on HackerNews this week. This is because they’re new to the world of software and they want to chase whatever is cutting edge.
Ask a Bootcamp Founder
What happens if you ask a bootcamp founder or employee what language you should learn? Odds are, every bootcamp will push you toward learning whatever language they teach, whether that be MEAN Stack, Ruby/Rails, or Python/Django.
Ask an Experienced Software Engineer
Finally, if you ask an experienced software engineer, someone with some maturity and historical perspective, they’ll tell you what we think is the most honest and authentic answer. Which is that in their years coding, they’ve seen many languages come and go. So don’t focus on learning every language and don’t chase whatever is currently fashionable. Pick one language and framework, go deep, and learn to build great software. Put another way, the programming language you start with simply doesn’t matter.
What Languages Do The Best Coding Bootcamps Teach?
Some of the best bootcamps in the world were recently featured on Course Report to discuss the value of the CS degree versus a bootcamp education. Let’s use those bootcamps as frame of reference and map out which languages they teach:
Startup Institute: Ruby on Rails
Should I Learn Ruby on Rails?
Rails is to this day one of the most popular programming frameworks in the United States. Some of the most popular web applications in the world (AirBnB, Groupon, Hulu and SoundCloud) were built with Ruby on Rails. Many developers will cite the fact that Ruby was built with developer happiness in mind as one of the core reasons why its popularity is so high in the development community. Among coding bootcamps, Ruby on Rails is still taught the most frequently across the board. Furthermore, positions for Ruby on Rails developers are plentiful across job sites like Angelist, Remoteok.io and others.
There is good reason for this demand as the Ruby on Rails framework is well established and has a large, healthy developer community. At the core of Ruby on Rails is developer happiness and another key principle is that Ruby isn’t a directed programming language which means there is room for multiple solutions. One of the biggest advantages for Rails is that it has established conventions which make learning it as a framework much easier. These conventions are blogged about and shared amongst the vibrant Rails community. As a future bootcamp student if you learn Model-View-Controller in Rails, you have a higher probability of transitioning into a company that uses Rails as you have already learned these aforementioned conventions.
Our Recommendation for Beginners at Bloc
New developer frameworks and languages emerge every year and there will always be advantages and tradeoffs of using one or another. This is explained well in a recent talk by Steve Klabnik (minute 39 is the place to start).
Good developers start out by picking one language and framework, digging in, and trying to understand the underlying concepts, design patterns, algorithms and best practices. Great developers have done this enough to understand the tradeoffs of one language versus another, and can pick the right tool for the job. In so doing your skills are future-proof.