When it comes to creating a robust and maintainable application, you can’t help but think of RoR. This framework is suitable for developing any type of web application: from standard collaboration software to large-scale ERP solutions and analytical systems. No wonder the services of specialists who know all the secrets of using the tool are so popular. Today we’ll talk about what RoR developers do, how they can add value to your project, and how you can hire them.
Getting to know Ruby on Rails: What’s remarkable about the framework?
It is a multilevel MVC framework designed for building web apps that use relational and NoSQL databases. The tool is based on the popular Ruby language, which is suitable not only for ordinary websites but also for web apps with complex business logic. In any case, it endows a product with important characteristics such as speed, fault tolerance, and the ability to handle high loads.
Working with this framework is based on three principles:
- DRY (Don’t repeat yourself). It implements a mechanism for code reuse. It minimizes code duplication and simplifies its understanding, reducing development time and testing of new functions.
- Convention over configuration. By default, the framework contains many conventions. They are typical for most apps. It makes your work on your product much easier and more productive.
- Auto testing. RoR contains tools to perform auto testing (unit, functional, integration). Also, there is a possibility of performing TDD. All this increases the reliability of a product.
RoR developers appreciate the framework for its extensibility. The fact is that a broad ecosystem of plugins is built around it. Everyone can expand their capabilities by selecting the right gems, low-level or high-level. The former help to affect a certain aspect of the product’s inner workings. The latter are separate modules designed to solve a variety of business problems.
The presence of plugins has played an essential role in shaping the tool’s popularity on the market. It is chosen when it is necessary to create a product faster and ensure its absolute reliability. How is this possible? Speed is increased by selectively connecting libraries and plugins. Reliability is guaranteed by the fact that all plugins are well tested. And overall, the tool has a strong community that provides serious support.
Speed and reliability are probably the main reasons why this tool is picked for client-oriented projects and platforms with thousands of visitors. Let’s look at when it makes sense to hire RoR developer.
For which projects should you choose RoR?
It is a great option for apps with high speed and load resistance requirements. The tool helps implement complex business logic and dynamic web interfaces and provides reliability and maintainability.
RoR is suitable for such projects:
- E-commerce. This tool is often chosen to create large marketplaces and other platforms for commerce with heavy traffic. It can provide the scalability required for managing hundreds of transactions simultaneously, data security, and stability. Example: Shopify.
- Social Networks. Products from this category are usually highly visited. Which means they have to withstand high loads. The tool helps create and launch an app for a social network that will function steadily regardless of the circumstances. Example: Twitter.
- Project management. If you need to create a space where employees and teams can work together (plan projects, track tasks, and so on), RoR is the best option. Example: Basecamp.
- Health. Flexibility is the main reason the tool is used to create customized solutions that will later adapt to changes in the audience’s needs. It also applies to apps from the health category. Example: MyFitnessPal.
- Entertainment. This language is used to build multifunctional entertainment sites for a broad audience. Because the code is easy to read and modify, developers can constantly make changes to the final products and improve functionality. Example: Hulu.
In addition, RoR is ideal for MVP implementation. And not only because of the speed. It also provides cost-effectiveness and flexible changes. The same goes for prototyping and testing multiple versions (before developing a complete solution), as well as test updates (before deploying to the final product).
There are some projects which need MVP implementation more than others. They are aimed at attracting potential customers. Naturally, a founder is interested in demonstrating their product to the target audience as soon as possible to see if they will pay for it. The decision to hire Ruby developers, in this case, will be the right one.
However, despite the apparent advantages of the tool, there are many myths about it. For example, the developed products do not meet the claimed scalability and speed. However, the fact that these are just myths proves the experience of many companies who trusted RoR and won world fame.
Which companies trust RoR?
In the previous paragraph, we gave examples of companies that chose this tool. This is a very small fraction of those who have appreciated the power of RoR and built successful digital solutions on it. We have prepared a list of such companies that you are definitely familiar with.
Ten well-known companies using Ruby on Rails:
- Twitter. The social network needs no introduction. Note that the developers initially used jQuery and RoR. It allowed them to create a full-fledged product in a minimum amount of time. Later the social network was rewritten based on Scala. However, Ruby remains an important part of the backend.
- Etsy. The platform connects sellers of handmade and vintage goods with suppliers. It has roughly 2 million vendors and over 50 million registered users. The framework has helped Etsy in multiple ways: system integrations, functionality extensions, and database maintenance.
- Shopify. The well-known e-commerce platform. It can withstand high loads, such as handling 80,000 requests per second, and scales quickly. Ruby on Rails has played a significant role here.
- GitHub. The service is familiar to everyone who deals with IT projects, including developers and startups. And this is more than 1.8 million companies. Ruby on Rails occupies an important place in the “life” of the service. The year 2019 saw the launch of GitHub on Rails 6.0.
- Airbnb. The best helper for the traveler who wants to rent a place and save money. The online platform serves hundreds of thousands of users. It’s based on a number of technologies, including RoR.
- Hulu. The streaming service is not as big as Netflix or HBO GO, but it is pretty popular. The number of active subscribers reaches 28 million. The company appreciates RoR, which has been used here since the beginning.
- Bloomberg. An authoritative source of financial information. The site has 100+ million monthly visitors. RoR is used as the main framework. In addition to it, ASP.NET, PHP, and Express are used.
- MyFitnessPal. Service for tracking nutrition, physical activity, and water consumption. 150 million users trust it. Imagine having both a website and apps built on this framework.
- Dribbble. A favorite place for digital designers and ad creatives. The community has over 500,000 professionals and design enthusiasts. The framework was “involved” in the development of the platform. It also uses jQuery, HTML5 History API.
- Basecamp. Here everything is very interesting. The fact is that the company is known as the creator of Ruby on Rails. It is quite natural that its project management tool Basecamp is impossible without this framework.
It is not a complete list. Crunchbase, Ask.fm, Fab, SlideShare, SoundCloud, Zendesk, Fiverr, Diaspora, Groupon… The number of framework members is really impressive! All of them, at some point, decided to hire Ruby on Rails developer (or even a whole team), and they did not go wrong. They managed to achieve success just by working with professionals.
And what kind of professionals are they? Below we will discuss what such professionals do and what they know and can do.
What do RoR developers do, and what skills do they have?
Let’s start by debunking another myth. Many people think there are no developers in this field. According to Statista 2021, Ruby is the 17th most used language (between Rust and Dart). What about the framework? According to the statistics for the same year, it is in the 13th position (between Laravel и Gatsby).
This can be explained by the fact that the threshold of entry into Ruby is relatively high, and therefore it is rarely chosen to start in programming. As a rule, people come to it after a few years of working with other languages and often from the PHP world (ranked #11 in TOP). As you can see, there are developers. And best of all – they all have a lot of experience under their belt.
Take a look at the experience levels:
- Junior. Experience in the field: up to 1 year. Familiar with web frameworks and MVC architecture, databases, cloud storage, and API.
- Mid-Level. Experience: 1-3 years. Proficient in various MVC-based frameworks, including RoR and other languages (Python, C# и PHP).
- Senior. Experience: 5+ years. Understands all the nuances of RoR, has the status of a lead developer in past projects, and has management skills.
Among the main responsibilities of the specialist are writing code for frontend and backend and database management. They can also solve security issues, run tests, fix bugs, and create technical specifications. All of this involves working closely with other team members to achieve the common goal of completing the project on time and within the stated budget.
Skills that help with these tasks:
- OOP: key concepts and methodology principles.
- RoR: MVC, syntax (modules, classes, loops, etc.), stack, POST, GET, PUT operations, etc., API REST.
- Databases: SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.
2. Soft :
- Communication skills: working in teams and with clients, explaining complex things in simple language, resolving conflict situations.
- Logical thinking: creating logical concepts and turning ideas into working features.
- Analytical thinking: quickly analyzing a situation and choosing a path that benefits the product.
- Self-organization: creating a work environment for self and other team members, faithfully completing tasks without supervision.
- Leadership: control of the entire team, the ability to lead and make decisions to achieve a common goal.
As you can see, it is crucial for someone who interacts with a team to have a whole set of personal qualities. Sometimes it is from them that the success of the project depends. For example, a developer often takes responsibility for picking the only right path. Or for eliminating misunderstandings between employees and setting up a workflow from scratch.
As a rule, it is the team that works on the project. It can be full-time employees or outsourcers explicitly allocated for your project. By the way, a single specialist can be dedicated, but they are also embedded in the team. But freelancers usually work alone. Below we will talk about all the models in more detail.
What is the model for hiring Ruby developers?
It is the traditional type of employment, familiar to everyone. It is practiced by large companies that can afford to keep a whole staff. And there are a lot of expenses: from the rental of offices to monthly payments and dues. Assembling your team, which will lead the project to success, is quite an attractive idea. And it’s perfectly feasible, provided your budget is not limited.
- Dedication. You can ensure that each specialist works exclusively for you and is not distracted from project tasks. All energy and time are devoted to achieving company goals.
- Live communication. Work is done offline, in an office setting, on a specific schedule. You supervise everyone and can solve all the issues “on the spot.”
- Corporate culture. Full-time employees feel like an essential part of the company. They are eager to participate in all activities and bring out their best.
- Limited skills. Finding in-house RoR developers is difficult if the company is located in a small city. In addition, many specialists prefer to work remotely.
- High costs. Renting an office, creating a working environment, salaries, contributions, insurance… It is not a complete list of what you must spend on regularly.
- Lack of alternatives. If an employee gets sick or fired, it can be challenging to replace them because each employee on the staff has a clearly defined set of responsibilities.
- Where to look for candidates on staff: LinkedIn, CareerBuilder, Indeed.
If necessary, you can find a specialist with any skills on the expanse of freelance platforms. In front of you will open a huge selection of candidates from different countries who do not mind starting a job right now. However, you should be careful here. Despite the nice prices, you should not choose this model for a long-term project. You won’t be able to establish the control you want, no matter how much you want.
- Cost-effectiveness. Unlike the previous model, this one is much more cost-effective. You don’t have to cover a ton of expenses. You can choose the freelancer with the most attractive hourly rate (or negotiate a fixed price).
- Large selection. There is a lot of competition at freelance sites, so you have a good chance of quickly finding a person who fully meets your stated requirements.
- Delegation of one-time tasks. When in-house workers are busy with other problems, it makes sense to entrust a specific task to a freelancer.
- Control issues. You can’t know how much time a freelancer is devoted to your task. It’s likely that they are working at the same time on another project and are constantly distracted.
- Experience in question. Many freelance platforms don’t have a mechanism for checking skills. If a freelancer embellishes their Ruby experience, you won’t be able to verify it before you start working.
- Inconsistency. If you engage a freelancer on a long-term project, you won’t have any guarantees. The employee can leave you anytime, for example, move on to a competitor.
Where to look for candidates: Freelancer, Upwork (juniors and middles), Toptal (experts).
It is a more modern way of cooperation that lacks the disadvantages of the previous ones. You state your requirements, and the outsourcer selects specialists with the right skills for you. It can be a multidisciplinary team (programmers, designers, testers, analysts, etc.) or one or two RoR developers. Despite the remote format, you can coordinate the process yourself (or entrust it to an outsourcing company).
- Access to all resources. By contracting with an outsourcer, you get access to relevant skills and all the necessary technology, tools, data.
- Pricing transparency. The budget is determined in advance before the contract is signed. That means you are not in for unpleasant surprises in the form of additional costs.
- Legal reliability. All important terms are discussed and documented in detail. This protects both parties from unforeseen situations.
- Focus on the long term. Agree that it doesn’t make sense to allocate experts (especially a whole team) for one-time tasks. This model is only beneficial for large and long-term projects.
- Time zone difference. It is not a disadvantage but a peculiarity of cooperation. Outsourcers working offshore can be thousands of miles away from you.
Where to hire dedicated Ruby on Rails developers: platforms like Clutch and GoodFirms.
How much does it cost to hire Ruby developers?
It all depends on where you are going to look for a specialist. The hourly rate depends on the region. As a rule, it is cheaper to hire a European developer than an American one. Although in the case of Europe, it is not all so unambiguous: prices in the eastern part are more attractive than in the western.
According to our observations, the U.S. hourly rate ranges from $75 to $200, while in Western Europe, it is $60 to $100. In Eastern Europe, you can find a good Ruby specialist with very nice rates: $40-70 per hour. Similar prices are offered in Asia.
If you do not know which company to choose – from America or Eastern Europe, it is recommended to select the second option. And not only because of the good rates. Eastern European performers stand out clearly for both competence and responsibility, as evidenced by the positive reviews on various resources.
It is important to remember that many factors influence the rates:
- Cooperation model. We also discussed this issue in one of the previous paragraphs. So, a full-time employee will cost you a lot: you will have to pay a regular salary, regardless of the workload. Freelancing will allow you to save money on one-time tasks. Dedicated masters have an impressive price tag (quite justified); they pay off perfectly in the long run.
- Location (for offshore). We have already described this factor. It can be decisive in selecting a remote contractor. Fortunately, with the development of digital technology, distance is no longer an obstacle. You can hire a contractor from the other side of the world to save money.
- Project scale. It makes sense that you will pay much less for a one-time task than a project from scratch. Always clearly describe your requirements and the essence of the project itself so that the candidate can name the exact cost of their services.
- Candidate’s level of experience and skills. You have already determined the scale of the project, which means you understand who you need. For example, you won’t need an advanced handyperson to create a simple business website. Let’s imagine that you are looking for a performer on Upwork.
Here’s what approximate prices might be, depending on experience:
– Junior who is familiar with the basics of the language and framework, databases, and cloud storage – $18.
– Middle, who has worked with other Ruby environments and other back-end languages (Python, C#, and PHP) – $40.
– Expert who is strong in programming in this and other languages, as well as able to manage a project and make complex decisions for the business’s good – $60 or more.
As you can see, hiring a professional at a fair price is realistic. The main thing is to research the market up and down and only then decide. It may sound strange, but to save money – you should not be fixated on the savings. It is much more important to find a balance between quality and price. For example, if you can hire an experienced RoR developer for $50 per hour, you have reached the golden mean.
Here an important question arises: how do you know if the candidate (team) has the experience mentioned on the site? Alas, even reviews on Clutch and similar platforms are not always a guarantee. We recommend that you check the performer yourself in real-time during the interview.
How to test developer skills: 9 questions in a technical interview
It is commonly thought that the interview is only for personal communication. This is not the case in the IT industry. During the interview, you can test the skills and knowledge on which the entire project’s success depends. You can do this yourself or bring in an employee who knows Ruby. Another option is to invite an outside independent expert.
Here are nine technical questions:
- What are the benefits of RoR? Pros: OSS, performance, built-in testing, metaprogramming.
- What are design patterns? It’s a repeatable solution to a frequent problem. There are many of them, like Service Objects, View Objects, Observer pattern, Policy Objects, etc.
- What are Ruby gems? These are libraries that open up new possibilities for using the language.
- Which Ruby gems are the most useful? This question requires the candidate to give their own opinion, which will show their past work experience.
- Why follow the DRY principle? It allows you to divide the system into independent modules that are easier to manage.
- What do you do your deployments with? The candidate can name their favorite tools, e.g., Jenkins, GitLab.
- What is the essence of garbage collection? It is a mechanism for automatically managing memory without any programmer involvement.
- What is Active Job for? It’s a framework that allows you to declare jobs and run them on different backends for queues.
- How to characterize the RoR engine? Essentially, it is a mini-apps responsible for the functionality of host apps.
Of course, this is not the whole list of questions that can be asked to test the knowledge. However, it is a fundamental base. Do not limit yourself to short answers; ask for details on this or that topic. If a candidate is familiar with the language and framework, they can give detailed answers.
There are other ways to test. Before the interview, ask the candidate to send you their portfolio. Study it beforehand, and then, during the interview, clarify important points. How was the work process organized? What methods and approaches were used? What pitfalls were encountered? Another option is to prepare a test and offer to take it before you.
Now you know that hiring Ruby developers is not a problem. The main thing is to be prepared: to describe the tasks clearly, decide on the cooperation model, set a budget, and choose the region with the best prices. Then research the selected market and make a list of favorites. Consistently exclude those who do not meet all the requirements until only one candidate is left.