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Post by Rich Moy on Jan 6, 2016, 2:03:04 PM

Ruby on Rails is a popular web framework that many startups choose to build their web applications. Companies and developers like Ruby on Rails because it allows them to develop applications quickly and deploy and maintain them easily. With it becoming a major part of technology stacks everywhere, hiring developers who know how to build applications within it can be especially difficult. Here are a few tips to help you stand out in a crowded market and help you hire a Ruby on Rails developer.

Know Where to Find Ruby on Rails Developers

Ruby on Rails is an open-source framework that boasts of an extremely supportive online community of developers. In fact, its author still hosts and participates in the Ruby on Rails Talk forum. Developers also turn to sites like Ruby-forum.com, Devshed, and Meta Ruby to engage with other people who work with the framework. However, the most obvious source for these developers is Stack Overflow, on which the Ruby on Rails tag is one of the most frequently used each week.

Professionals looking to transition into more technical roles often look to Ruby on Rails as the ideal entry point. To cater to this demand, companies like General Assembly, Skillshare and Code School offer accelerated programs that promise to get people up to speed quickly. The accelerated nature of these programs present a number of unique challenges when it comes to hiring. While a graduate might understand the basics, it’s particularly important to ensure that your tech team is involved in evaluating the quality of code these candidates are able to produce with a limited amount of experience.

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Know the Challenges Ruby on Rails Developers Tackle Everyday

With the availability of free tutorials on how to build simple applications in this framework, it would be easy to assume that even a passive learner could support your business’ application needs. However, there’s much more to what Ruby on Rails developers work on everyday. Here are three things they’re typically responsible for.

  1. Building and testing new application features. This is fairly straightforward, but Ruby on Rails developers spend most of their time working to build new features to support business objectives. This can be particularly tricky as projects grow because even non-technical business leaders are under the impression that the framework allows a developer to launch flawless apps quickly. While it’s true that you can launch a new feature fairly quickly in this framework, developers are often under a good deal of pressure to get it completely right on the first try.

  2. Optimizing the user experience. Even after a new application or feature is launched, Ruby on Rails developers are responsible for monitoring their performance and making the necessary adjustments to ensure a seamless and enjoyable user experience. What makes this especially challenging for a Ruby on Rails developer is the impact it has on how he or she approaches a new feature from the beginning. While it’s often tempting to simply dive in and start building new applications, they often have to consider how they will support a brand new feature long before they begin to develop it.

  3. Drive product development. Ruby on Rails developers aren’t just asked to write code. Often times, they work collaboratively with a number of different teams and play a large role in a company’s product development roadmap. To do this well, however, requires a Ruby on Rails developer to have a strong understanding of both frontend and backend software development.

Know What Gets Them Excited About Coming to Work

Based on the number of accelerated learning programs currently being offered, it’s obvious that Ruby on Rails is a popular framework for new and experienced developers to explore. While you might assume that a software developer will be excited to talk to you simply because you need to hire a Ruby-on-Rails developer, you should still understand some of the finer details about what would attract someone to a pjob. Kevin Wolkober, a NYC-based web developer, spoke to us about what would excite him about a new position working with Ruby on Rails.

  • Understand that good software takes time to build. We’ve discussed how quickly a Ruby on Rails engineer could conceivably be able to build and deploy a new application. However, Wolkober says software developers are particularly attracted to companies that understand that even with these capabilities, they still need a good amount of time to build something.
  • The flexibility to practice Test-Driven Development. Wolkober says that Ruby on Rails has a long history in behavior-driven development. As its name implies, this involves testing applications by behavior, rather than focusing on specific methods. However, he continues by explaining that while it tends to be a bit more expensive, test-driven development coupled with pair programming helps ensure quality and knowledge sharing through the entire software development process.

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