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Is it True Ruby Developer Is More Demanded Than PHP Developer?

The Incredible Popularity of Ruby Programming

Unlike in previous article, where we have discussed all the features of hiring Elixir developer, here we are going to speak about a very popular programming language. Ruby, and its Rails web framework, is the platform of choice for many startups in Silicon Valley and beyond. Famous early users of this programming language and its Rails framework include startups such as:

  • Twitter – the social networking platform
  • Basecamp (the originators of the framework) – project management and collaboration software
  • GitHub – source code repository hosting and open source development repos
  • AirBnB – peer-to-peer house-sharing platform
  • Dribbble – Design sharing app for creative professionals

Ruby Platform Suitable for Both Prototyping and Large Applications

With so many outstanding companies using this programming language in their stack, it is no surprise that the language enjoys a golden reputation with tech influencers. The language lends itself well to rapid prototyping while being easy to maintain on large applications.

The usage of Ruby on Rails has, therefore, spread beyond the confines of startups alone to major enterprise companies as well. Ruby has become a trusted programming language with a status that other startup-friendly languages such as PHP have not been able to attain.

Ruby Development Environment History

To understand why this programming language has been so successful, it helps to trace the reasons behind its early adoption.

The language began in the 1990s as the creation of Japanese programmer Yukihiro Matsumoto. From the very start, the language exhibited the same expressiveness that was found in scripting languages like Perl and other dynamic programming languages.

What made the programming language stand out against competitors such as Perl and PHP, however, was the elegance the language brought to programming. From a superficial cursory glance, ditching of curly braces and semicolons made it stand out. The other programming languages largely borrowed their syntax from C, but Ruby chose a different path.

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Ruby vs PHP, Perl, Python and Other Programming Languages

Beyond mere appearances, however, there is a lot more going on with Ruby. Its object-oriented model, along with support for functional programming, are contained in a straightforward, intuitive API. This, along with a rich standard library of data structures and utilities, makes it a pleasure to use.

Adoption of Ruby by Other Programmer Communities

The enthusiastic adoption of the language by programmers coming from other programming languages is testament to this fact. Over the years, the language has welcomed high numbers of former Java programmers, C programmers, PHP programmers, and even Python programmers.

Of these, Python has the most similarity to Ruby, with its use of significant whitespace and syntactical similarity. PHP, however, also shares some traits with both these programming languages due to its highly expressive nature.

Ruby Software Development Compared to PHP

While PHP and Ruby share traits, they have some important differences. When choosing between these two languages, you will want to refer to the following table which affords a summary of the main differences between the two.

ruby programming vs php programming

Markets that Make Heavy Use of Ruby Programming

The language is highly popular in North America as well as in Japan. Given its use at VC-funded startups, Ruby has a constant stream of hip young companies creating MVPs with it. Its reputation in this market is much better than competitors such as PHP, notwithstanding that PHP has seen its fair share of high-profile users.

Where the PHP Programmers Are

Among PHP companies, Facebook and Automattic, the makers of WordPress, stand out. WordPress is far and away the biggest blog platform, while Facebook, likewise, dominates the social media platform segment. Nonetheless, due to the perceived more robust technical standards of Ruby, it is seen as a leader in startup development.

Difficulty of Finding Ruby Developers Compared to PHP

That said, finding a Ruby developer, in many parts of the world, is much harder than to hire a PHP developer. Due to its low learning curve, PHP presents a very low barrier to entry. It therefore attracts young developers as a first programming language.

This has resulted in PHP having one of the largest communities of programmers of any programming language in the world.

PHP vs Ruby Learning Curve for Junior Developers

ruby vs php

 

It is surprisingly easy and quick to get a simple website up and running with vanilla PHP, no frameworks needed.

On the other hand, learning Ruby and other programming languages such as Java, comes with a steeper learning curve. A junior Ruby developer faces a lot more concepts they have to learn before they can be productive. In addition, setting up the development environment is typically harder for languages other than PHP.

While both Ruby and PHP can get similar work done, in practice the subtle differences in the technical culture create some notable tradeoffs.

The Demand of Ruby Teams of Developers vs PHP Developers

Importantly, Ruby developers are in highest demand with technically advanced organizations that want the best engineers. In Silicon Valley, for example, Fortune reports that startups will pay over $100,000 salaries for seasoned Ruby developers. This is because these engineers are able to craft the web and mobile applications for which these startups receive millions of dollars in venture capital. As a result, a Valley startup is willing to pay top dollar to access the best engineers.

Demand for Ruby Developers Is Higher Only in Specific Locations

In some sense, therefore, demand for Ruby teams truly depends on your location. It should be noted, however, that there is a large volume of Ruby and Rails web development work that is done remotely. This is especially true of startups in European cities where there might not be a vibrant Ruby developer population. As a result, it is much more practical for these startups and companies to cast their net wide in the search for talent.

Ruby development, therefore, can be seen as an occupation with a smaller number of engineers who are in high demand. However, the number of companies using the language is smaller, in absolute terms, than that of companies using PHP.

PHP Developers Vastly Outnumber Ruby Developers

PHP developers, in contrast to Ruby developers, are found in high numbers in almost every country where there is good technical education. According to a 2013 report by Zend Technologies, there were over 5,000,000 PHP developers in the world. That figure was described as being second only to Java, which had the most adherents among programming languages worldwide.

PHP has a great reputation for its ease of use and ease of learning. User groups and meetups for PHP, therefore, encourage the proliferation of the language.

What makes it especially easy for programmers to get into PHP is that the language is easy to integrate with HTML pages. This makes coding PHP for the web a very fast and straightforward process.

At the same time, companies both big and small around the world know that they can easily find PHP talent due to the sheer number of PHP developers. From this arises the situation where there is both high demand of PHP development and high supply.

In fact, demand and supply of PHP developers, overall, are both higher than is true for Ruby. The critical difference, as we will explore why below, arises in the salary of these groups. According to the 2016 StackOverflow Developer Survey, about 25% of developers used or knew PHP, compared to only 8.9% for Ruby. In other words, PHP is still more than twice as popular as Ruby in the market.

Ruby Developer Salary Compared to PHP

ruby developer salary

 

Salary Of PHP Developers vs Ruby Developers Worldwide

Above, we plot the salaries for Ruby and PHP developers around the world. Data is taken from Indeed and PayScale. The salaries for Ruby developers, due to the factors alluded to above, tend to be higher than for developers with equivalent PHP experience.

This is partly from the lower supply of Ruby developers compared to PHP developers in just about every country. In addition, the higher salaries stem from the typically better funding of organizations that want to use Ruby for software development.

The Impression that Ruby Demand Is Driven by Better Organizations

A well-known VC firm conducted a statistical analysis of AngelList startups and discovered that the use of Ruby as the programming language at a startup was correlated with higher quality rating of the company. The quality ratings used were those independently assessed by AngelList. The picture for PHP was not so rosy, however, with the company reflecting that, “The likelihood that PHP is being used is strongly anti-correlated with company quality.” All this based on statistical study of the data from AngelList. The data looked at a range of other programming languages, including Python, Javascript, and frameworks like Angular and numerous others.

Is Ruby Worth the Higher Development Costs?

Given that AngelList works with thousands of startups from countless countries around the world, it stands to reason that their data has some accuracy to it. On the other hand, in the use of statistics, we should not confuse correlation with causation.

In other words, many startups with a good AngelList quality rating use Ruby for development, but we should not draw the conclusion that every startup that uses the language has a good quality rating. There are many factors in play for each individual startup. For example, certain PHP companies will have very high quality standards and, thus, high scores.

reasons to hire remote Ruby team

Mobilunity Has Experts in Both Ruby and PHP Development

Mobilunity continues its journey as one of Europe’s premier provider of expert teams for software development. The reason to hire software developers with Mobilunity is that its developers are second to none. They work hands on with the best technologies for your project to create outstanding software, every time. You can achieve superior results than with a local freelance Ruby developer. Whether you need Ruby development or prefer PHP, senior developers with strong experience from years of active development are available.

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