Ruby Web Development For Dummies | Wired Sussex

28 Jan 2021

28 Jan 2021

Ruby Web Development For Dummies

A No-Nonsense,  Easy-Peasy Guide For Wannabe Ruby Web Developers

If you’re a web developer who’s learning the tricks of the trade or seeking new strings to add to your bow, the thorniest issue of all can be deciding where to focus your efforts. In an industry that changes so frequently, and with an overwhelming choice of programming languages to learn, it can leave you somewhat stumped. Even once you’ve pinpointed an area of interest, many ‘beginners’ resources use off-putting, inaccessible or unnecessarily complicated jargon. Not at Wired Sussex, though! Today, we’re donning our teacher's hat to answer all your burning questions regarding Ruby web development. More specifically, our no-nonsense, easy peasy guide will cover everything about a Ruby developer job that leaves you feeling puzzled, perplexed and, quite frankly, foolish to ask. We promise to use strictly straightforward, plain and dumbed-down terms, with no cryptic lingo left unturned or unexplained. Now, let the lesson commence and, remember, no talking at the back!

1) First Things First, What Is A Ruby Developer?

A Ruby developer is an expert who writes, develops, tests and implements new software and apps using the Ruby programming language. Launched in 1995 by Japanese developer Yukihiro Matsumoto, Ruby is mainly used to develop desktop applications and is the programming language of choice for many businesses on the web (Hulu, Twitter and Airbnb, to name just a few). Several iterations of the language have followed since the noughties and it is celebrated for its simplicity. Unlike other programming languages, its code reads more like a human language than a machine-based one making it intuitive to get to grips with.

2) Right! So, Is A Ruby Developer The Same As A Ruby On Rails Developer?

As a wannabe Ruby developer, you’ve probably heard both ‘Ruby’ and ‘Ruby on Rails’ used in the same breath. But are they the same thing? Nuh-uh! The standalone term ‘Ruby’ tends to refer to the programming language. Ruby on Rails, simply called ‘Rails’ in many cases, is a web app development framework. A framework is a collection of tools based around specific programming languages that provides you with models and templates for building apps. As you might have guessed, ‘Ruby on Rails’ was developed using ‘Ruby’ as a programming language. Nonetheless, other common programming languages, such as HTML and JavaScript, can also be used within this framework. Pretty simple so far, right? In essence, by using the ‘Ruby on Rails’ framework, you aren’t starting from scratch with each development project but rather you have shortcuts and automated systems for performing routine coding tasks. Although there is technically this distinction between the two, it’s not uncommon for Ruby developer jobs to also be advertised as Ruby on Rails developer jobs.

3) Is Ruby A Front-End Or Back-End Language?

In web development, work is often separated between back-end and front-end. Put simply, the back-end focuses on behind the scenes activities and determines how a website or app functions. Front-end, meanwhile, is more concerned with how an app or website looks to users. The main front-end languages are HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Alternatively, Ruby is a back-end language. It would be easy to assume that, for this reason, Ruby is more difficult or technical to learn, but that’s not the case!

4) Ruby Or Python For Web Development Dummies: Which Is Easier?

Both Ruby and Python are popular programming languages to learn when kickstarting a career in web development. Often pitted against each other, they’re similar in that they both resemble human languages, rather than code, making them equally easy to learn. Instead of comparing how simple they are to master, it’s more worthwhile asking ‘how do I want to work’ and ‘what app do I want to make’? They vary significantly in their approach to solving problems and their suitability for different types of apps.

5) Is Ruby A Dying Language?

For years now, there have been rumours flying about that Ruby is on the brink of extinction. Let us reassure you though, the language, and the Ruby on Rails framework is doing perfectly fine! It has a robust developer community and new contributions are made on GitHub regularly (Not sure what GitHub is? Fast forward to our ‘What Do I Need To Know’ section below). In fact, we often advertise Ruby developer jobs on our jobs board. If you’re considering a career in Ruby development, why not check them out now? Some of the top Ruby developer companies in Brighton, including Buffalo, frequently advertise with us. 

6) What Do I Need To Know Then? Which Ruby Developer Skills Are Essential?

Beyond learning the Ruby language, there are a few core skills you should get acquainted with pronto if you want to gain employment as a Ruby developer.


First, you’ll need to understand what OOP is, aka object-orientated programming. This is more a style of programming than anything else. Whilst it can be tricky to grasp core concepts and best practices for OOP initially, once you get the hang of it, it will feel like second nature to code this way.


Ruby largely dominates web development, one, because it’s an implicitly powerful language but, two, owing to the excellent frameworks available for the language. Some popular frameworks used by Ruby developers include Sanatea, Padrino and Hanami. However, as touched on earlier, it is the industry standard for Ruby developers to mainly be familiar with the Ruby on Rails framework.

HTML, CSS & JavaScript

Whilst we’ve already established that Ruby is a back-end language, ideally, a good Ruby developer should have a basic awareness of front-end web development too: i.e. HTML, CSS and JavaScript. Understanding how these languages interact with back-end web development will only make for an even better, more knowledgeable Ruby developer.  


It’s all well and good being book smart, learning theories to a tee, soaking up all written knowledge available and storing it in your brain BUT it’s all about putting that into practice. You’ll need to start writing actual, functional programmes, understand ways to store them, collaborate with others and show them to prospective employers. How? The way you do this is by using something called a version control tool. Git is one of the most widely used ones and is perfect for learning how software development works in the real world.

7) Finally, What Is An Average Ruby Developer Salary?

Once you graduate from Ruby developer newcomer to a confident professional, you can start applying for Ruby developer jobs! In terms of salary expectations, the average base pay for a Ruby developer in the UK is roughly £43k. Naturally, as you gain more experience and knowledge, and depending on where you live and what company you work for, there’s scope to earn even more than this.  

Next steps....

Are you seeking a Ruby web developer job? At Wired Sussex, we have a history of connecting prospective employees with incredible companies. Why not check out our jobs board? If you prefer working from home, there’s plenty of remote Ruby developer jobs too.