Rails Girls Learning Tools – Commented Link List

[Update: Übersetzung dieses Artikels ins Deutsche bei femgeeks (German Translation available)]
The following is a collection of links to useful online learning resources I presented today at the first Rails Girls Hamburg workshop. Most of them are available for free. I obviously didn’t do all of them, but I tried to share my experience in some short comments so I hope it helps you to find the best learning way for you.

Free Online Universities

If you learn Ruby on Rails as your first programming language, you might get to a point where you want to understand a bit more about Computer Science. Fortunately, you can now take the introduction classes from the best universities simply from your home computer without spending a penny! If you want to master them, you should bring some time, cause there is usually a bunch of homework to do.


  • New free online education project from MIT, Harvard and Berkeley
  • CS50 (Great education show from Harvard for beginners, starting on Oct. 15th)
  • SaaS (Software as a Service, using Ruby on Rails and explaining all the stuff around it, highly recommended for a bit advanced learners, starting on Sept. 24th)



  • Private organization seeks to democratize education
  • 12 courses with „open enrollment“
  • Programming classes use the Python language

Frontend Magic: HTML, CSS & JavaScript

Any application you make will need a layout, so you need at least some basic knowledge on Frontend Design. As HTML and CSS are easier to understand than Ruby, maybe you wanna learn them first. Luckily, there are a lot of interactive lessons you can do in your browser:



  • Online courses in a fun way

Khan Academy

  • Interesting for art and games

Rails Girls Hamburg

Video Courses and Screencasts

Rails doesn’t come alone, it’s whole magic reveals with a bunch of accessories (the so called „gems“) and tools. There are a lot of video tutorials available to explain all the weird sounding things.

Code School

  • learning in lovely designed game-styles
  • explaining videos, downloadable slides and many small excercises
  • some free courses like Rails For Zombies and Try Git
  • monthly membership for 20 $ (if you use your credits from the courses)
  • get to know a bunch of extra tools for developing within the Rails framework like Git, RSpec, CoffeeScript etc.
  • different skill levels
  • see my profile as an example

RailsCasts & PeepCode

  • Screencasts about advanced Rails topics

Books and Tutorials

Apart from all the interactive stuff, there is the good old text format that let’s you work with the real development environment. You should read and follow them if you want to dig deep into Ruby and Rails from the ground. There are a lot of books/text tutorrials to learn Ruby and Rails, some of them are good and free.

Learn to Program, by Chris Pine

  • General and fun programming introduction using the Ruby language with a lot of exercises (google the solutions if you get stuck)
  • Online version with many translations for free, newer book version available to buy
  • Good point to start if you never programmed before!

Ruby on Rails Tutorial, by Michael Hartl

  • The „Must-Have“ under the Rails Tutorials
  • Building a Twitter Clone on industrial strength
  • Text for free, 15 hrs Screencasts for purchase

Ruby auf Schienen, by Stefan Wintermeyer

  • Detailed introduction in German


  • a lot of information. but maybe not so easy for beginners

Offline Learning

  • In case you prefer to learn with other people in a real classroom, check out if there are any community courses available in your town. The Hamburger Volkshochschule for example offers a bunch of programming classses which aren’t for free, but a lot cheaper than commercial courses. And a lot of them a teached by women!
  • You can also try to sneak into your local university lectures – but they are usually on working hours and if you are not a registered student you probably won’t get your homework revisited …
  • If you know other people learning you might find it helpful to form a study group

Not enough?

For more tutorials and other useful programming learning stuff see the Rails Girls Materials (specially for the „First Try“) and my board „nerdy resources“ on Pinterest which I update continously.


Schlagwörter: , , , , , , , , , ,

About birtona

coding feminist mum

5 responses to “Rails Girls Learning Tools – Commented Link List”

  1. Kerstin says :

    links about networking and communities (another lightning talk at the railsgirls Hamburg 2012) http://www.kpuschke.eu/wiki/bin/view/Main/CommunityLinks

  2. PragTob says :

    Hi there!
    Thank you for putting up this list and I hope that Rails Girls Hamburg went well 🙂

    And thanks for showing me „Ruby auf Schienen“, have been looking for an all german tutorial for quite some time.

    If someone is looking for more material, I got a resources section up at my blog with dedicated sections about learning Ruby and learning Rails, which I continually update: http://pragtob.wordpress.com/resources/#LearningRuby

    I also have a little slide deck, which I used at our Rails Girls Berlin workshops featuring some resources: http://pragtob.wordpress.com/2012/08/17/updated-where-to-go-from-here-slides/

    Most notably I found oen of my favorite resources missing here and on pinterest: The ruby monk: http://rubymonk.com/ – officially endorsed by Matz himself 🙂
    And the famous „why’s poignant guide to ruby“: http://mislav.uniqpath.com/poignant-guide/

    Ruby on + greetings from Berlin!

  3. birtona says :

    Hi Tobi, thanks for your comment! I just pinned your linklist 🙂 The limitation of pinterest for this purpose is the need for pinnable images – that’s why i couldn’t pin the ruby monk, although I guess I’ve already found it a while ago. I got why’s poignant guide on my board, but as I wanted to make a selection for this list, I didn’t include it here because I guess I liked other tutorials better.
    Did you know that recently Code Academy added a Ruby Course as well? http://www.codecademy.com/de/tracks/ruby

Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Linkliste 00000010 « fiona lernt programmieren - September 26, 2012
  2. Rails Girls Learning Tools: Update | birtona - August 17, 2013

Kommentar verfassen

Trage deine Daten unten ein oder klicke ein Icon um dich einzuloggen:


Du kommentierst mit Deinem WordPress.com-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit Deinem Twitter-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )


Du kommentierst mit Deinem Facebook-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Google+ Foto

Du kommentierst mit Deinem Google+-Konto. Abmelden / Ändern )

Verbinde mit %s

%d Bloggern gefällt das: