Disclosure: Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Best Courses Guides

8 Best Free Ruby & Ruby on Rails Courses for 2024

Here are the best free online courses and resources to learn Ruby, a general-purpose programming language focused on simplicity and productivity.

Ruby, known for its focus on productivity and simplicity, offers an easy-to-learn syntax for beginners. It’s widely popular for the Ruby on Rails framework, essential for building complex web applications.

In this Best Courses Guide, we’ve picked the best online courses, tutorials, and resources to learn Ruby and Ruby on Rails framework.  Some courses are comprehensive with many hours of material and tips for job search, while others will get you coding in Ruby quickly.

Click on the shortcuts for more details:

Here are my top picks. Click to skip to the course details:

What is Ruby?

Ruby is a dynamic, high-level programming language prized for its balance between productivity and simplicity. Created by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, Ruby’s design philosophy (as remarked by the man himself) emphasizes making programming enjoyable and efficient. Matsumoto aimed to blend the best features of his favorite languages, creating a syntax that is both easy to read and write. Ruby stands out for its object-oriented approach, which facilitates code reuse and modular design, but it’s also flexible enough to support multiple programming paradigms, making it adaptable to various types of projects.

Ruby shines in web development, largely due to the Rails framework, or Ruby on Rails. Rails streamlines the creation of web applications by automating repetitive tasks and providing a structured approach to development. This has made Ruby the backbone of many high-profile platforms, including Twitch, Shopify, GitHub, and Airbnb. The success of these platforms highlights Ruby’s capability to power complex, scalable web applications, making it a popular choice among developers and companies alike.

The demand for Ruby developers remains high. It’s the fourth-most top-paying technology according to the 2023 StackOverflow Developer Survey. And with Glassdoor reporting an average annual salary of over $130,000 for Ruby developers, it’s clear that learning Ruby can be a lucrative career path.


Here are some aggregate stats:

  • Together, the courses account for 470K enrollments and over 2M views.
  • All of the courses in this ranking are free or have free limited access.
  • All of the courses except for three are beginner-friendly.
  • The most represented provider is freeCodeCamp with 2 courses.
  • 3.5K people follow Class Central’s Ruby Topic.

Best Overall Ruby/Ruby on Rails Course (The Odin Project)

My number one pick for the best Ruby course is Full Stack Ruby on Rails pathway provided by The Odin Project, a free, open-source coding curriculum. This comprehensive course pulls you into the world of Ruby on Rails to create beautiful responsive websites.

You don’t need any experience with programming to take this course. You’ll start from scratch, learning the basics of Ruby programming before taking Ruby to the next level with the Rails framework.

By the end of the course, you’ll be  job-ready. Want proof? Read the many success stories from course-takers. You’ll also have access to The Odin Project’s friendly Discord community of developers.

You’ll learn primarily by going through the articles and answering the knowledge checks to test your memory. Each section ends with a project where you’ll apply what you’ve been taught. When you are satisfied, you’ll submit your project through GitHub for collaborative learning.

What you’ll learn:

  • Ruby fundamentals: variables, loops, and classic programming methods
  • Object-Oriented Programming (OOP) for organized and reusable code
  • Principles of organizing code into reusable objects
  • Basic computer science
  • Recursion and common data structures
  • Test-driven development for efficient coding
  • Advanced features and professional workflow of Git
  • Apply your knowledge by building a fully-fledged chess game
  • Ruby on Rails; intermediate and advanced HTML and CSS for beautiful web projects
  • Handle databases for efficient data retrieval and storage
  • The Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern in Ruby on Rails
  • Make websites dynamic and interactive with JavaScript.

Note: If you want to only learn Ruby programming, only take the Ruby lessons in this course. But if you’re interested in learning the Ruby on Rails framework for making websites, go ahead and complete all the lessons.

Institution The Odin Project
Level Beginner
Workload 500–1000 hours
Certificate None

Best Ruby on Rails Course to Build an Online Learning Platform (Udemy)

If you want to develop a complex web application, look no further than Ruby on Rails: Learn 25+ gems and build a Startup MVP 2023.

You’ll learn how to build an advanced e-learning platform using Ruby on Rails, making it the most feature-rich Ruby on Rails 6 course available online. It offers a step-by-step guide to developing an application similar to Udemy or Skillshare.

This course is always updated to ensure you’re learning the latest in the field and includes the best practices for utilizing over 25 popular Ruby on Rails gems and modern technologies. It’s not just about coding; it’s about understanding the why and how, troubleshooting issues in development and production, and gaining a broad skill set to create any web application you can imagine.

While some prior knowledge of Ruby and Rails is helpful, this course is designed to teach you how to use new features or master the entire development process.

What you’ll learn:

  • Building an online learning platform with Ruby on Rails, including user authentication, role assignments, and authorization
  • Integrating modern technologies and gems for form creation, data presentation, file storage, and payment processing
  • Utilizing Rails 6 features such as ActionText, ActiveStorage, ActionMailer, and advanced routing and database management techniques
  • Working with supporting technologies: AWS Cloud9, AWS S3, PostgreSQL, Git, GitHub, Heroku, and integrating APIs.

Yaroslav Shmarov is a Ruby on Rails developer and teacher who has built projects to win 7 hackathons.

Provider Udemy
Instructors Yaroslav Shmarov
Level Beginner / Intermediate
Workload 21 hours
Enrollments 4.8K
Rating 4.6 (431)
Certificate Paid

Best Video-Based Ruby Course (freeCodeCamp)

Ruby Programming Language – Full Course by freeCodeCamp will teach you what you need to get started with writing programs in Ruby by developing mini applications like games and calculators to help you get some essential programming skills. By the end of the course, you’ll have a solid foundation of the Ruby programming language.

This course is suitable for complete beginners to programming. You’ll learn by following along with the instructor as he codes.

In this course you will:

  • Install Ruby and set up a text editor
  • Execute your first Ruby program
  • Learn fundamental concepts including variables, data types (strings, numbers)
  • Store user input
  • Explore if statements and loops for program control
  • Utilize constructs with data structures like arrays and hashes
  • Examine object-oriented programming (OOP)
  • Learn about classes, objects, and inheritance
  • Acquire skills in reading/writing files and grouping methods into modules.

freeCodeCamp offers many other courses on various programming languages on their YouTube channel as well as on their website. Meanwhile, Mike has several free courses on various programming topics like MongoDB, C, Ruby, and PHP on his personal website. He is currently working on Dev Simulator, a coding RPG with a fun storyline to help you learn while having fun!

Institution freeCodeCamp
Provider YouTube
Instructor Mike Dane
Level Beginners
Workload 4–5 hours
Views 1M
Likes 20K
Certificate None

Best Ruby Interactive Tutorial (Codecademy)

In this free limited-access Learn Ruby course by Codecademy, you’ll learn the fundamental programming concepts with Ruby language. By the end of the course, you’ll have a firm grasp of Ruby, including the object-oriented paradigm.

No prior knowledge of programming is required to take this course. You’ll learn by going through the interactive tutorials and completing exercises which involve hands-on coding.

If you have Codecademy Pro, you’ll earn a certificate upon completing the course and have access to three portfolio projects to showcase your skills and quizzes to retain your memory of programming concepts.

In this course:

  • Learn about variables and their data types
  • Explore getting user input and printing to the screen
  • Train on conditional statements and loops for program control
  • Introduce arrays and hashes as fundamental data structures
  • Understand their usage and manipulation through in-built methods and loops
  • Explore the process of refactoring for improved code readability
  • Learn best practices, conventions, and tips for writing clean Ruby code
  • Understand similarities and differences between blocks, procs, and lambdas
  • Dive into Object-Oriented Programming (OOP), a crucial paradigm for website development
  • Study classes, objects, and the concept of inheritance
  • Discover advanced OOP aspects: modules, mixins, and method privacy.

Codecademy was co-founded by Zach Sims and Ryan Bubinski, with the goal of giving  anyone in the world the ability to learn the skills they’d need to succeed in the 21st century. They offer free courses in 12 different programming languages, the most popular courses being Python, JavaScript, HTML, and C++.

Institution Codecademy
Level Beginner
Workload 10 hours
Enrolments 416K
Certificate Paid

Best Video-Based Ruby on Rails Course (freeCodeCamp)

freeCodeCamp’s Learn Ruby on Rails teaches Ruby on Rails by guiding you through the development of a friends list app. You’ll learn a lot about web programming and design in this free course by following along as the instructor codes.

To take this course, you’ll need some Ruby programming experience.

The following topics are covered in the course:

  • Basics and installation of Ruby on Rails
  • The Model-View-Controller (MVC) pattern for implementing user interfaces, data, and logic
  • Start building your first webpage using the MVC pattern
  • Create new pages using a provided base template
  • Create a webpage capable of displaying and modifying data stored in an SQL database
  • Style your web application using Bootstrap, a popular CSS framework
  • Implement different views based on user login status
  • Allow users to add friends on your social media website
  • Upload code to GitHub using Git
  • Deploy the final product to Heroku.

John Elder’s Codemy.com channel teaches other programming-related topics, from Python, to Django to HTML and CSS and more. And you can find the Ruby source code here.

Institution freeCodeCamp
Provider YouTube
Instructor John Elder (codemy.com)
Level Intermediate
Workload 4–5 hours
Views 773K
Likes 13K
Certificate None

Best Ruby Exercises for Practice (Exercism)

To become a good programmer, you need to practice. And the best place to practice Ruby programming is on Exercism.

Exercism is a free online coding platform where you can practice your Ruby coding skills through more than 100 well-designed programming exercises.

Not only do the exercises have instant automated feedback upon submission, but your code can also be checked by a human mentor upon request. This means that you can get expert feedback from someone on how to improve your code, which is amazing for learning!

Programmers of all levels of experience can join this platform, as exercises range from easy to challenging.

You will:

  • Start with Ruby fundamentals through various exercises
  • Cover basics like “Hello, World!” and progress to manipulating strings
  • Explore conditionals, loops, raising exceptions, enumerations, and more
  • Engage in practice exercises at three difficulty levels: easy, medium, and hard
  • Easy exercises include converting phrases to acronyms, finding differences of squares, and implementing the Affine Cipher
  • Meanwhile, in the medium difficulty exercises, you’ll work on OCR numbers, compute Pascal’s Triangle, and spell numbers as words
  • And some of the hardest exercises involve tackling Hex/Polygon game results, implementing regex search, and finding the largest bookstore discount.

Exercism provides exercises on 60+ programming languages. Their mission is to help everyone get really good at programming, regardless of their background, share the love of programming, and help people upskill as part of their upward social mobility. Over 250 people have contributed towards the Ruby syllabus and exercises, with more than 1200 mentors available at the time of writing.

Institution Exercism
Level Beginner–Advanced
Workload Self-paced
Enrollments 50K
Certificate None

Best Introductory Course to Ruby on Rails (gorails.com)

Learn Ruby on Rails for Beginners is a free course that teaches you Ruby on Rails by building a Buffer clone with authentication, OAuth, Twitter’s API, and background workers. You’ll learn the ropes on becoming a professional Rails developer as you follow along with the coding demos.

You’ll need some Ruby programming experience to take this course.

In this course, you’ll:

  • Install Ruby on Rails and create your first Rails application
  • Learn how HTTP requests work in the browser
  • Explore the Model-View-Controller (MVC) design pattern
  • Understand routes and route types
  • Enhance your website with Bootstrap CSS and JavaScript for responsiveness
  • Design the Navbar and set up a Git repository
  • Create an account creation system
  • Learn password validation and enhance the user experience
  • Integrate Twitter’s API for in-app tweeting
  • Polish the application for flawless performance
  • Deploy the application to Heroku for public access.

Chris Oliver is the creator of GoRails, Hatchbox.io and Jumpstart. He spends his time creating tutorials and tools to help Ruby on Rails developers build apps better and faster.

Website gorails.com
Instructor Chris Oliver
Level Intermediate
Workload 5 hours
Views 430K
Certificate None

Best Real-World Ruby on Rails Course for Code-Along (Rails Code Along)

Do you have enough experience with Rails to be dangerous, but haven’t gotten your hands dirty at building production-ready applications?

In Learn Ruby On Rails For Free, you’ll build, test, troubleshoot, and launch a real production Rails application — a fitness tracking app.

This course is hands-on. You’ll learn a lot about real-world product development, like troubleshooting, searching documentation and API, as if you are pairing with the instructor.

Learn how to:

  • Install Rails and get familiar with GitHub
  • Implement and configure Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
  • Deploy a Rails app with Heroku
  • Test user models, create system tests, and establish a user authorization system
  • Optimize and offload expensive queries for smoother web application performance
  • Devise different views and build a custom search form
  • Learn to use callbacks for calculations and refactor code as needed.

Steve Polito is a full-stack web developer who specializes in WordPress and Ruby on Rails. You can find the source code of the course’s project here: A simple Strava clone.

Website railscodealong.com
Instructor Steve Polito
Level Intermediate
Workload 14–15 hours
Views 1.3K
Certificate None

Why You Should Trust Us

Class Central, a Tripadvisor for online education, has helped 60 million learners find their next course. We’ve been combing through online education for more than a decade to aggregate a catalog of 200,000 online courses and 200,000 reviews written by our users. And we’re online learners ourselves: combined, the Class Central team has completed over 400 online courses, including online degrees.

How We Made Our Picks and Tested Them

Trying to find “the best” can be daunting, even for those of us who live and breathe online courses. Here’s how we approached this task.

First, I (Elham) combed through Class Central’s Catalog and the internet to find a variety of free and paid open courses on Ruby and Ruby on Rails, some with certificates.

When choosing courses, I considered the following factors:

  • Instructor experience: I sought instructors with extensive experience in Ruby and engaging presentation styles
  • Course content: I examined courses that covered a range of topics and presentation styles, including the basics and more advanced material. I watched some course videos to sample courses I hadn’t already taken
  • Learner reviews: I read through reviews on Class Central, Reddit, and course providers to understand what other learners thought about each course and combined it with my own experience as a learner.

Then, I defined the scope for these recommendations, looking for a range of top-quality courses.

Ultimately, I used a combination of data and my own judgment to make these picks. I’m confident these recommendations will be a reliable way to learn about Ruby and Ruby on Rails.

Pat revised the research and the latest version of this article.

Best Courses Guides. Start Learning, Stop Procrastinating.

Elham Nazif Profile Image

Elham Nazif

Part-time content writer, full-time computer science student.
Pat Bowden Profile Image

Pat Bowden

Online learning specialist, still learning after 200+ online courses completed since 2012. Class Central customer support and help since 2018. I am keen to help others make the most of online learning, so I set up a website:  www.onlinelearningsuccess.org

Comments 0

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. All comments go through moderation, so your comment won't display immediately.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Browse our catalog

Discover thousands of free online courses from top universities around the world like MIT, Stanford, and Harvard.

Browse all subjects