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By Brook RiggioNovember 19, 2013

7 Ways Beginners can Learn Ruby on Rails

Since everyone has different learning styles, there’s no single right way to learn a coding language. However, there are some basic principles that beginners can apply to get a jump start, and tailor the resources to their learning style along the way.

While learning Ruby on its own will make some things in Rails a little clearer, you can certainly learn them simultaneously and, as this blog post will show, there are ample resources to do so. However, before launching into this language, find a project you’re excited about that will keep you motivated through the challenges you’ll face.

1. One-On-One Mentoring

The best way to learn something is to sit down with an expert who knows what you know, how you learn, and where you need to go next. Paring this type of instruction with targeted learning exercises provides the helpful and necessary direction, repetition, and correction to propel learning. However, this method is the least practical on this list, as experienced instructors are rare and expensive.

2. Live or online training workshops

This is where the quality of in-person instruction and convenient, affordable training intersect. These types of learning opportunities give you the chance to ask questions, get direct instruction, and benefit from the community of learners who are on your same learning level.

3. Interactive Videos

Pairing action with instruction is proven to be an effective way to learn a skill, and Code School takes that principle and applies it with interactive videos. Although they lack access to an instructor, they create affordable access to a learning method that is both fun and effective.

4. Live Training Events

Live training programs are often the most effective way to learn Ruby on Rails at a high level. They typically provide in-class instruction and community and are all good options for learning Ruby on Rails. While these options get high marks for being thorough and high-quality, training schools can be expensive, and if there isn’t one offered in your area, travel expenses on top of tuition (plus the heavy time commitment) make these options unrealistic for beginners. You can see available bootcamps on Course Report, or you can check out the classes we offer.

5. Screencast Videos

Even though they don’t offer an interactive element, screencast videos can still be an effective tool to learn Ruby on Rails. Pluralsight and Rails Cast are two great resources for online instruction videos. The benefit of screencast videos is that they get to a certain point conceptually and let you explore deeper on your one, which can be a great way to learn and reinforce this language. You get to see what is possible and how someone else works.

Tip: Use this learning method once you’re over the learning curve and have a solid understanding of the basic concepts.

6. The Blogosphere

Take advantage of the huge community around Ruby on Rails. Blogs, forums, videos, and Q&As are all at your fingertips for free – all you have to do is spend a little extra time wading through the information. Whether you need the resolution to a single problem or want full-length tutorials, the Blogosphere is a great resource and bustling community. Plus, the content is created fresh every day from people who are constantly facing and solving problems that you’ll probably run into at some point.

7. Books

While they don’t have the benefit of being updated daily with new information like the Blogosphere does, books can be a fabulous resource. Doing a straight read-through may work for some people, but books on Rails will probably be most useful as an occasional resource or reference.

If you’d like more information about how you can learn Ruby on Rails with us, check out our upcoming classes.