The surprisingly powerful programming language loved by Stripe and Shopify

The surprisingly powerful programming language loved by Stripe and Shopify

After Black Friday and Cyber Monday drove consumers to eCommerce sites in their millions, two fintechs appeared to have dealt with the surge in users rather well. eCommerce giant Shopify and Stripe, the company that processes its payments, have both flaunted their technological prowess, and they've got something in common: their programming language of choice.

Stripe and Shopify both use Ruby. Stripe has described itself as a Ruby monolith, and Shopify CEO Tobi Lutke contributed to Ruby in open-source before founding the firm.

Using Ruby in their stacks, both fintechs handled a lot of volume. Stripe processed over 303m transactions from the Friday to Monday, giving over 31k businesses their best ever day using Stripe. Shopify meanwhile processed over 5 terrabytes of data per minute on Friday. This is all the more impressive given one of the most common slights against the language is that it doesn't scale, and Lutke's response was notably sassy on that topic.

So should you learn Ruby if you want a job at either of these fintechs or just fintech in general? Not necessarily. A developer from Stripe says, "knowing Ruby won't help you get a job here one bit," and that the only real benefit you'd get from learning it comes after you're hired.

The developer also notes that "half of Stripe uses Java and Go." Java at least is a far better option for employment prospects, given its stalwart status in the top 4 of the TIOBE index. Go isn't quite as popular, but still ranks higher than Ruby (13th compared to 19th) and is used at major tech firms like Uber and Netflix.

Ruby may not be particularly fun to code in, either. One engineer on Hacker News said they "got burnt out on Rails after the third app in a row that I was responsible for upgrading." One Amazon engineer said they used to code in Ruby, but were lucky to have stopped and moved on.

Stripe, however, doesn't use the popular Ruby on Rails framework, opting to build its own, which some employees have called "relaxing" and "delightful" to work with.

Article written by Alex McMurray at