Ruby on Rails Developer Hiring Guide
Introduced in 2005, Ruby on Rails (also known just as RoR or Rails) is a versatile computer framework that encourages rapid development. Ruby on Rails is used widely, due to its very complete ecosystem and strong community.
Ruby on Rails: Languages and Tools
Rapid development is the premier capability of Ruby on Rails. Developers who use Ruby on Rails can build web apps in about 40% less time than teams that use other stacks. When you hire Ruby programmers, you can build powerful web applications—which previously might have required weeks or months to develop—in a matter of days. With that said, Ruby on Rails app development has a drawback. As RoR has a relatively slow runtime performance, wise Ruby on Rails developers for hire avoid using Ruby on Rails in gaming and streaming use cases, as well as anything that requires optimized runtime.
Programming and scripting languages
Successful Ruby on Rails developers are usually comfortable with, and experienced in, popular programming and scripting languages, frameworks, and tools. Ruby on Rails is a server-side web application framework written in Ruby. Ruby on Rails is a good solution for standard use cases such as building an e-commerce website or platform.
However, Ruby on Rails is not a single language. Instead, it’s a powerful hybrid, which includes:
- Ruby, a general-purpose programming language, which is incredibly quick to code, and easy to learn.
Rails, a full-stack framework and a software library that enhances the Ruby programming language. A RoR developer’s job includes creating a framework that reduces the amount of code written, promotes fast development, and enables the creation of intelligent applications with minimal effort and fewer components.
Other popular frameworks, which aren’t Rails
Ruby on Rails developers can use other web development frameworks to build web applications and services, which require lightweight construction and rapid development times. These frameworks include:
Sinatra. Some developers argue that Sinatra is not a framework but a domain-specific language used to build websites, web services, and web applications in Ruby. Although Sinatra is a relatively large app as Ruby frameworks go, it emphasizes a minimalistic approach to development. It offers only what is required to process HTTP requests and handoff responses to clients.
- Hanami is a full-stack, Ruby web framework that consists of small, single-purpose Ruby libraries. Hanami is optimized for speed. It builds lightweight applications and is notable for consuming less memory than other Ruby web frameworks.
Grape (generalized rapid API erector) is a REST-like API micro-framework. It complements existing frameworks by providing a simple DSL. It also replaces the API functionality of larger frameworks such as Rails or Sinatra.
Ruby on Rails development tools
There are many lists of popular Ruby on Rails tools. Here is one of them:
- Traceroute: This route-cleaning tool is designed for use in Rails applications. It supports simple rake tasks, which check for routes that are mapped to non-existent controller actions.
- Rack-mini-profiler: Use this tool to find bottlenecks in Ruby on Rails applications.
- Bullet: This gem helps you kill N+1 queries and unnecessarily eager-loaded relations.
- Brakeman: Use this tool to check the security status of Rails applications. Brakeman scans your application and produces a neatly formatted list of potential vulnerabilities. Then, it lists warnings in order of their severity.
But what do Ruby on Rails engineers need to know to make the cut in your development environment?
Hiring the Best Ruby on Rails Developers
Ruby on Rails is not in the top group of most-popular development apps. But demand for its practitioners is still quite strong, so get ready for at least a moderate effort in finding experienced and capable professionals. Here are a few tips for hiring managers in the hunt.
Define Ruby Developer Job Description
There are several things to consider after you’ve decided to hire Ruby on Rails developers. The first step is to define the job title, develop candidate profiles that outline what the developers should know, and write a job description of what the developers will be responsible for. Additionally, you’d benefit from concretely outlining the technical and soft skills in your hiring process.
Experienced Ruby on Rails developer needs to possess the knowledge and skills to write robust code. While not all good developers have an official degree in computer science, if you’re new to hiring RoR developers, you may want to start by focusing on developers with a relevant educational background. Additionally, you’d benefit from asking these types of application-specific knowledge and capabilities when you’re evaluating whether to invite a candidate to join your team:
- Current use trends in Ruby on Rails programming. Ruby on Rails is maintained actively. A new version of Ruby on Rails was launched earlier in 2019. What does your candidate know about these changes?
- The Big Picture of Ruby on Rails website development. Developers can use Ruby on Rails to build entire websites. However, most developers tend to use Ruby on Rails to write only the API and build the front end with another framework such as Next.js. How might your candidates use Ruby on Rails to build a website?
- Following Ruby on Rails conventions. The “convention over configuration” principle underpins the Ruby on Rails framework and makes it easier to write maintainable code. How well do your candidates know — and follow — these rules?
- Supporting your highest-priority use cases. Your unique development environment requires a one-of-a-kind mix of knowledge, skills, and experience. Make sure that your candidate can support your high-value projects.
You know your operations best, so you probably have a set of Ruby interview questions that pertain to your organization’s requirements. But what about general questions related to high-level background knowledge? Look for examples of good Ruby on Rails interview questions in online articles and videos.
Ruby on Rails soft skills
Your candidates might be technical wizards, but they’ll make a more balanced contribution to your team if they also possess exceptional soft skills. It always pays to vet your candidates for clear communications skills, a solid sense of teamwork, and the ability to work in distributed or local workgroup environments. (Because Ruby on Rails development projects are ideal for remote work, remember to explore candidates’ experience and skills working in offsite projects!)
Finding Ruby on Rails Developers for Your Project or Staff
The market for Ruby on Rails developers is cooler than in past years. However, it still pays to take an active stance in finding great Ruby on Rails developers. That means looking for the best candidates, wherever they congregate. There are some great Ruby communities and forums you can leverage to hire Ruby developers.
For those who want to indulge in the social and tech sides to coding, conferences are the places to be. If you’re looking to hire Ruby developers, you’d benefit from attending some of these conferences as they present wonderful networking and hiring opportunities. Here are several example events in the U.S. and overseas:
- RailsConf — Atlanta, Georgia, US
- Rails World — Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam
- RubyConf — San Diego, California, US
After you discover candidates for your developer positions, it’s time to discuss pay.
Ruby on Rails Developer Salary
Levels of development talent, supply and demand, and geographical location are just a few variables that are part of the paycheck equation. Here’s the latest look at Ruby on Rails salaries and hourly rates offered throughout the United States.
Salaries and freelance rates
In the United States, the annual salary of Ruby on Rails developers averages $130,177 and ranges from $41,000 to $179,000. Globally speaking, the average RoR developer salary sits at $78,642. For junior Ruby on Rails developers, the average is $69,413, and for senior RoR developers, the average salary is $94,894. Shifting back to the US, here are some Ruby on Rails programmers' salaries in different states:
- California: $146,250
- Massachusetts: $135,000
- New Hampshire: $105,000
- New York: $132,600
- Washington: $150,000
Salaried developers aren’t the only ones benefiting from the enduring popularity of Ruby on Rails. Freelance Ruby programmers are doing well, too.
Hourly rates for independent Ruby on Rails coders reflect the same highly variable factors that affect salaried workers. The median hourly rate of Ruby on Rails developers is $61-80. Expressed as a national median annual salary, that’s $145,000 FTE.
Hiring developers often requires lots of time and effort. To maximize the returns on your time and effort, consider these suggestions:
- Customize job descriptions carefully for each position. Technologies and IT practices change. So, make sure that each job post reflects the up-to-the-minute value and priorities your company assigns to each position’s skills and experience.
- Don’t forget remote, global candidates. As the manager of distributed workers, you can find a smorgasbord of development talent beyond your locale or region. These are the folks you might not find locally — or must pay local rates.
- Attend face-to-face and virtual events nearby to find the top local and regional talent.
- Stay in tune with changes in pay rates for Ruby on Rails pros to avoid losing good talent and paying too little.