Why did you choose Ruby and Javascript as the primary languages to use on the course?

Understanding what languages we teach and why we teach them.

An answer in three parts:

  1.  We teach two languages for these reasons:
    1. As with natural languages, it becomes a lot easier to learn a third language once you already know two. By teaching developers two different languages, we are helping developers make the separation between what is inherent to programming and what is specific to one language.
    2. Learning one language for the back-end (the part of a website that runs on the server) and one language for the front-end (the part of a website that runs on the user’s browser) makes it easier to differentiate between these two things initially.
  2. We teach Ruby for a number of reasons:
    1. It looks simple. When teaching, it is important to remove cognitive overload. Anything not immediately useful to the understanding just distracts from the matter at hand. Because Ruby almost looks like English, beginners are less likely to be intimidated or distracted by unfamiliar symbols and syntax.

      Compare these two pieces of code that do exactly the same thing in Ruby and Java (as an example) (PS: Java is not Javascript):


      print “Hello”

      a = 2

      print a


      class Main {

               public static void main(String[] args) {

                      System.out.println("Hello world!");

               int a = 2;




    1. The Ruby community is very welcoming for beginners. This is actually not a given in the programming world, with some community making beginners feel stupid, refusing to answer questions about basics, or having very little documentation aimed towards new learners.
    2. Ruby syntax looks similar to Python. The languages themselves are very different, but similar syntax does help by reducing the number of new things introduced at once. It makes learning Python less intimidating.
  1. We teach Javascript because:
    1. No other language can run in the browser. Because of this, it is not really possible to create modern websites without javascript.
    2. It is the most used language in the world and currently one of the most in-demand programming languages.
    3. Javascript syntax looks similar to a number of more traditional programming languages (Java, C#, C++). Again, the languages themselves are very different, but it does help by reducing the number of new things introduced at once. It makes learning these languages less intimidating.