Hiring a Ruby on Rails programmer nowadays can be difficult due to a number of reasons. First, with the surging demand for Rails developers hiring one would mean competing with offers from other clients or software development companies. And with this increased demand comes increased programming fees – currently the going rate is $100, though this can go higher the more experienced the programmer. And finally, there is that inherent difficulty to evaluate candidates. Unlike Java or .NET, which has been around for more than a decade, the Rails framework has only been around for about 3 years.
As you spend more time working with Ruby on Rails programmers and involved in Rails projects, the easier it will be for you to hire and deal with programmers in the future. But to make things easier for you, we have compiled some simple tips on hiring Ruby on Rails developers:
- Don’t just rely on the Internet. Although the web is the main go-to place for Ruby on Rails programmers, it’s not the only way you can find them. Instead, use your feet and find out where Ruby on Rails programmers congregate and go there. If you are near San Francisco you can visit the Ruby Meetups, or if you are somewhere in Toronto you can check out PubNite. Going to these meetups and gatherings will let you meet and greet Ruby on Rails programmers in the flesh, which is always better than through a computer screen.
- Do not hire a Ruby on Rails programmer who has only a working knowledge of RoR and Rails. Rails is well known to be very easy to get started with, and there are a lot of people who get their first Rails application up and running only after a couple of minutes browsing the Ruby on Rails website. As a rule of thumb, don’t hire a Rails developer who hasn’t at least developed a handful of projects and understands both the advantages and disadvantages of using Rails.
- Check if the programmer has made open-source contributions. Being knowledgeable of the open-source intricacies of the open-source community is important, as contributions such as releasing new Rails plugins, identifying and fixing bugs on Beast or other Rails projects indicates the Ruby on Rails programmer’s exposure to other Rails code bases.
- Before you hire a Ruby on Rails programmer, check his or her blog first. Most if not all Rails developers have a blog to engage the community. In the same manner, ask programmers applying for your project to list down their favorite Rails blogs or show their newreader. A good Ruby on Rails developer knows most of the top Rails-centric blogs and the people behind them.
- Most people look for a Computer Science degree when vetting programmers, but this is actually not important. A lot of great Ruby on Rails programmers have not taken up Computer Science in college or in other related courses. Some programmers haven’t even gone to college at all. Instead, you should concentrate on the programmer’s actual field experience such as the apps they have made and open-source projects they have been involved in.
- Steer clear of so-called “superstar” programmers. While these highly sought after Ruby on Rails developers might live up to expectations, they also garner huge salaries and often have huge egos to the point that they won’t hesitate to leave a project if they felt like it. There are many other programmers out there who are just as talented but more discreet.
- If possible, have some special compensation for any Ruby on Rails programmers you hire. Money is just one of the tools of persuasion. Many companies usually supply their programmers with new equipment, such as high-end laptops or high-resolution screens, or a ticket to the RailsConf. You may not have to be as generous with your programmer, though the occasional free pizza or a grande from Starbucks sure wouldn’t hurt.