Will Ruby on Rails Remain Relevant in 2017?

Ruby on Rails
Ruby on Rails

Language popularity is a touchy subject among tech pros, but it can have serious implications for your career arc. For example, coding bootcamp Coding Dojo recently announced it was dropping all Ruby on Rails courses by the end of 2017. Does that mean the language, which is used by many tech professionals, is in trouble?

According to Coding Dojo, its decision was driven by a recent study to identify top languages by city. Ruby on Rails was only a top-five language in two cities, Atlanta and San Jose. Coding Dojo said the language showed “moderate demand, at best,” adding “it is perceived as popular and taught in almost all coding bootcamps.”

The bootcamp isn’t replacing Ruby on Rails. Instead, it will focus on its Java course. “At Coding Dojo we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our curriculum,” said Speros Misirlakis, Head of Curriculum at Coding Dojo. “Java is the most heavily-used programming language in the world and our research shows a strong job demand for Java developers nationwide, yet Java is not commonly available from coding bootcamps. We’re proud to break new ground in equipping our students with the best possible skill set for their future careers.”

Ruby on Rails may be too niche a discipline for Coding Dojo. TIOBE data shows Ruby is about as popular as Swift (another Coding Dojo track), following a surge late last year. Like TIOBE, IEEE has Ruby sitting just outside of its top ten, having dropped a few spots since last year. But Ruby is more general purpose; Ruby on Rails is a server-side application framework, which by definition means a smaller pool of users.

Dice’s Salary Survey shows the average Ruby salary is $102,637. That’s down 2.4 percent year-over-year, but hovers in the same earning bracket as Java disciplines.

The focus on Java is a safe, smart play for Coding Dojo. Though Ruby on Rails is still a popular framework and an easy language to learn, Java dominates it at every turn. Long-term, for a coding bootcamp, Java is more stable than Ruby.

Popular coding repository GitHub is built with Ruby on Rails, and much-used websites such as AirBnB, Groupon, Hulu and IndieGogo likewise utilize it. But it was designed for old-guard web standards, when servers did all the heavy lifting, and has thus ceded some synergy to JavaScript. Coding Dojo isn’t the canary in the Ruby on Rails coal mine, as some are positing; it’s not going to drop off the map. Still, Coding Dojo’s move suggests that relying on Rails moving forward is probably not your best bet when it comes to career skills.