How to Recruit and Hire The Best Ruby Developers for Your Team

Written by Santiago Castro

One of the most useful software tools available to your developers is likely to be Ruby. Created in 1993 by Yukihiro “Matz” Matsumoto, this dynamic programming language has its roots in Perl and is most often paired with the Ruby on Rails framework.

Developers use Ruby on Rails to code the back end of mobile apps and desktop web applications. As an open-source framework, it comes with a large community of users who discuss issues, troubleshoot bugs, and generally keep it running smoothly. Companies can create and deploy applications quickly and provide ongoing maintenance.

The challenge facing CTOs and HR managers alike is recruiting Ruby experts. Unlike with Java or C#, fewer developers specialize in the language, though many are familiar with Ruby on Rails.

Here are some best practices when it comes time to hire Ruby developers:

Know Their Job

Your knowledge of a Ruby developer’s day-to-day work is key to finding and hiring the best and brightest.

  • Talk the lingo. In your recruitment research, you’ve no doubt encountered terms such as Sinatra, gems, and truthy. Make sure this vocabulary rolls off the tongue easily so that you can get a real sense of your candidate’s experience and capabilities.
  • Encourage collaboration. The ideal Ruby on Rails developer will understand that they don’t code in a silo. They are part of a larger team that collaborates on the company’s overall product development road map. Your future employee will appreciate both the back end and front end of the business.
  • Give them space. Your typical Ruby on Rails developer will be hard at work on new features. Although these can come online quickly, an astute manager knows that developers may need some breathing room to deliver a premium product. Acknowledge this directly with your candidate, and you’ll be a step closer to winning their loyalty.

Test Their Skills

Clearly, expert knowledge in Ruby is at the top of your list for a developer’s skill set. This includes the most recent updates to the language itself and the Rails platform (or whichever platform you use). But not everyone has this level of knowledge. You risk overlooking your next great developer if you hold them to what may be an unreasonable standard. How versatile are they in other languages and frameworks? Likewise, don’t dismiss a candidate who knows Ruby but not Rails. They may, in fact, have a deeper grasp of the language itself.

Generally speaking, unless your candidate is just starting out, real-world experience is far more valuable than certifications. Yes, some developers may have Ruby Association certifications on their resumes, but that doesn’t give you a real sense of their connection to the larger community or their background sweating in the trenches on major projects. It’s better to learn that they’ve worked on open-source projects, spent their time actively posting on Ruby forums, or mentored fellow programmers.

No matter their level of knowledge, your process should be the same: Review their CV, conduct a phone interview, and administer a work sample test. Delve into their knowledge of Rails, skinny models and controllers, fat services, and testing protocols such as rspec and minitest.

Know What They Want

Simply put, Ruby developers want the freedom to produce exceptional work. Good software, like a good stew, takes time. Although Ruby can help developers work quickly, you will have a happier crew if you demonstrate commitment to the process, not just the product.

They also want the flexibility to develop software that’s test-driven and uses pair programming. This approach may cost a little more, but it ensures that knowledge is shared, which often yields a higher-quality product.

Jump into Online Forums

The online community that supports Ruby on Rails users is passionate and knowledgeable, so much so that the framework’s founder, David Heinemeier Hansson, continues to host and contribute to its official forum. Other popular portals are MetaRuby, Ruby-Forum, and Stack Overflow.

Ruby at the Ready for You

Ruby is an incredibly powerful language, and you deserve the best team in the business to implement it into your software. Jobsity has an expert lineup of developers in this and other languages in your time zone, ready to be an organic extension of your team. Drop us a note and let’s chat.


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Written by Santiago Castro

With over +16 years of experience in the technology and software industry and +12 of those years at Jobsity, Santi has performed a variety of roles including UX/UI web designer, senior front-end developer, technical project manager, and account manager. Wearing all of these hats has provided him with a wide range of expertise and the ability to manage teams, create solutions, and understand industry needs. At present, he runs the Operations Department at Jobsity, creating a high-level strategy for the company's success and leading a team of more than 400 professionals in their work on major projects.