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Guide to Hiring Ruby on Rails Developers

  • What is Ruby on Rails, and how is it used?
  • Why is Ruby on Rails popular, and how will it benefit your business?
  • Roles and responsibilities of a Ruby on Rails developer
  • What skills should a Ruby on Rails developer have?

What is Ruby on Rails, and how is it used?

Otherwise known as ‘Rails,’ Ruby on Rails is an open-source, server-side web application framework that allows programmers to save time on app development. Half of the name comes from the framework’s basis in the Ruby programming language; the other half probably just comes from the popular sentiment that the framework is very opinionated and thus places its users ‘on rails.’ But rails gripe notwithstanding, the framework is very popular, with more than 738,956 live websites currently using it, as do many popular tech startups for their backends.

As a full-stack web app development solution, Rails has an offering for both front-end and back-end developers. Moreover, its range of capabilities is simply surreal; it includes page maintenance via WebSockets, cloud storage for uploads, enqueuing jobs for serial execution, rendering HTML templates, and a host of other features.

One issue, though—the platform’s primary programming language is Ruby. Sure, Rails can also be integrated and work seamlessly with other languages like JavaScript, CSS, and HTML. However, programmers will ultimately have to learn Ruby to really master the use of the framework. This is why proficiency with Ruby is a vital qualification firms consider when they hire Ruby on Rails developers.

Why is Ruby on Rails popular, and how will it benefit your business?

Ruby on Rails was created in 2003, which makes it a senior framework compared to younger ones like Laravel. Despite two decades of newer frameworks to contend with, it’s still a favored backend solution for major tech companies like Airbnb, GitHub, and Shopify. Even the popular project management tool Basecamp was built using Ruby on Rails. Moreover, the TIOBE Index for 2023 places Ruby itself among the 20 most-used programming languages.

So why do so many companies and programmers still find Ruby on Rails worth using? There’s the fact that Ruby’s universal and object-oriented code is quite easy to learn. It is so much so, in fact, that most programmers who have used it on Rails consider it a great gateway into the world of programming languages. But that’s not all that gets people’s motors running about this web application framework.

  • Speedy Development: Regarding the speed of web app development, Ruby on Rails appeals strongly to two parties: the programmer who’s simply got no time to waste on complexities and the business enterprise that wants to stay agile and responsive in a fast-evolving niche. Companies hire Ruby on Rails engineers because they have mastery over a programming language and its development framework that enables speed through a convention-based approach as opposed to a configuration-based one.

    The principle is pretty simple: you focus on building your web application, and Ruby on Rails takes care of the nitty-gritty. How? There are several moving parts to the framework’s approach here, but let’s talk about a couple of them.

    First, Ruby on Rails comes with a set of scripts known as generators, which enable a programmer to work on specific tasks without having to do much from scratch. An example is the new application generator, which presents you with the foundations of a new app to build on top of. A Ruby on Rails developer isn’t limited to the built-in generators, however, as they can design their own or customize existing ones.

    Another aspect is Rail’s incorporation of the Agile development model, which is another very important reason businesses hire Ruby on Rails developers. This development model saves businesses loads of time with its reliance on iterative cycles, building progressively toward project completion. It also involves continuous testing, enabling the programmer to detect and fix bugs as they go.
  • MVC Architecture: Rail’s Model-View-Controller architecture is one of its most important features, and it’s key to having a solid command of the framework and many of its functionalities. Before you hire a Ruby on Rails developer, you want to make sure they understand how to navigate this system effectively.

    This architecture basically partitions an application into three parts. ‘Model’ concerns the business logic of the web app and the structures that manage the application data, determining the rules for processing and updating it. The ‘View’ part of the architecture has to do with data representation, with the typical language of views on a Rails app being the Embedded Ruby syntax. The syntax allows programmers to embed Ruby code within an HTML template. This capability means that programmers can generate content dynamically and also integrate data from the Rails ‘Controller’—which is the final aspect of the architecture. The Controller is in charge of the application’s flow, receiving user input from the View, processing it with potential updates from the Model, and displaying the output on the View.
  • Compound and Complete Framework: Ruby on Rails is what you might call a ‘batteries included’ framework, as it contains a suite of ready-made tools and solutions to make app development more seamless. These include some great security defaults that eliminate the need to spend time on security configurations. Additionally, there are WebSockets, excellent caching features, schema migrations, API, and internalization.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Startups, especially those on byte-sized budgets, like to hire Ruby on Rails engineers because the framework is a remarkably cost-effective solution. As we’ve mentioned, Rails takes a pro-convention approach to app development, additionally supplying a suite of ready-made tools to simplify and shorten the app development process. The result is that companies that hire Ruby on Rails engineers can save on many aspects of development that would otherwise add up to sizable expenses on other frameworks.
  • Scalability:The excellent scalability of applications designed with Ruby on Rails is another reason startups and developers love it so much. Rails applications are designed to be readily up-scalable, enabling businesses to grow their operations and improve their ability to handle growing user traffic.

    When you hire Ruby on Rails engineers, they will be able to achieve this by adjusting relevant infrastructure or adding new servers as necessary. Moreover, features and capabilities like horizontal scaling, database sharding, and background processing also allow up-scaling without sacrificing app performance.
  • Ease of Maintenance: So you have been able to hire dedicated Ruby on Rails developers to build your company’s web app, which has been performing well so far. But then, apps have to be maintained to keep them functioning at optimum capacity, and, of course, that’s a whole set of costs to satisfy.

    One beautiful thing about Ruby on Rails is how much it can help you save in such maintenance costs with its built-in testing and debugging tools. Moreover, you get to spend way less time on the maintenance process.
  • Easy to Learn: Ruby on Rails has a very cool, learner-friendly feature in its expressive code, which illuminates the developer on tasks while it performs them. This and its other similar features mean that, depending on your hiring budget and your required level of existing proficiency, it is at least potentially safe to hire a Ruby on Rails developer who is still learning. The framework is such that any focused developer can learn quickly on the job by practical application.

Roles and responsibilities of a Ruby on Rails developer

With the framework’s high scalability, time and cost savings, and very effective app development architecture, it should be no surprise that companies still hire Ruby on Rails developers for their projects. You should definitely consider this web app development framework for your company as well. However, if you’re deciding to hire a Ruby on Rails engineer, it’s important that you know what tasks require this expertise.

  • Designing Web Applications on Rails:Naturally, the primary task a Ruby on Rails programmer performs is utilizing the framework to develop web applications. To do this, the programmer must not only be proficient in the Ruby language, but they must also have good mastery of Ruby on Rails and its functionalities. This means being able to write server-side application logic built around the MVC architecture, connect apps with web services, develop backend components, and provide support for front-end developers.

    However, Ruby is not the only language a programmer will encounter on Rails, as it can integrate and work seamlessly with JavaScript, HTML, and CSS for developing web apps. As such, Ruby on Rails developers for hire should know something about these languages as well.
  • Maintaining, Optimizing, and Troubleshooting Existing Web Apps: App maintenance and optimization on Ruby on Rails is relatively easy, especially given all its really handy tools. However, it must be stressed that a certain level of skill in using this framework’s infrastructure is needed. Essentially, it’s an easy process if you are a developer who knows the ropes. This is why it becomes necessary to hire Ruby on Rails developers to not only build the apps but also keep them worthy of the app store. They will be able to identify and fix bugs, perform extensive app performance testing, and improve functionality.
  • Scaling Web Apps to Meet Heavier Traffic: As your business grows, so does the amount of traffic to your web app. If your company operates like most, you may design your web apps to meet the amount of traffic you get as a startup and scale up the app as necessary over time. You also need to hire Ruby on Rails developers to handle this as well since it falls neatly within their purview. For instance, database sharding is one of the ways of scaling up a Rails app, including Rails 7’s horizontal sharding. This technique allows splitting databases without any fundamental change to code bases and requires some serious redistribution of data to reduce server load—not the kind of thing just anyone should be tasked with handling.
  • Making Project Reports and Presentation of Project Strategies: Making reports and giving presentations before a board of executives may not be something you immediately imagine you need to hire a Ruby on Rails engineer for. However, who best to deliver the pitch on a new web app to stakeholders, provide periodic reports on the development process and progress to executives, and not just design but also present the strategy to be used? Why, it’s the lead engineer of the project, of course, and it makes the most sense for that role to go to a Ruby on Rails engineer.
  • Liaison With Project Team Members: As the lead engineer on the company project, it is the job of the Ruby on Rails developer to play the role of team leader or member. As part of that role, they must coordinate with other members of staff working on the project, gather ideas and suggestions, and incorporate the best ones into any relevant part of the development process.

What skills should a Ruby on Rails developer have?

With the many roles that companies hire Ruby on Rails developers to perform, they must be very adept in order to do their jobs well. As such, there are specific skills and abilities that CTOs on the hunt look for in candidates for the relevant positions. Here are some of those vital skills you need to look for in Ruby on Rails developers for hire.

  • Mastery of Programming Languages: When scouting developers for your Rails application project, you want to make sure your candidate knows their stuff when it comes to programming languages. This applies to the native language of Rails almost as much as it does to other third-party languages. For the purposes of integration and expansion of functionality,  the programmer you hire must also know their way around Python, HTML, CSS, and JavaScript.
  • Experience with Ruby on Rails: Technically, it’s not business suicide to hire Ruby on Rails developers who are significantly green with regard to the framework. After all, one of the reasons developers love Rails is how easy it is to learn even while on the job. However, it’s usually best to hire top-of-the-line candidates who have considerable experience, especially with using the platform’s internal and third-party libraries.
  • Liaison Skills: No matter the skill level of the lead developer, they are likely to deliver substandard finished apps if they can’t coordinate their team to work cohesively, effectively, and efficiently. This is why what your firm needs is a candidate who has great skills in liaison. And if you have the budget for an entire team, you should hire dedicated Ruby on Rails developers who are team players, able to constitute a whole that operates like a well-optimized Rails app.
  • Time Management: Time is money—and customer satisfaction as well. It’s not just executives who get flustered when an app launch doesn’t happen according to schedule; users and customers do as well. So, do you want to avoid the losses in credibility,  corresponding user engagement, and derivative revenue that follow when app launches are delayed? Then, you need to hire a skilled time manager to be the lead Rails engineer on your projects.
  • Problem-Solving Skills: Any software developer who has ever been part of a project will attest that things seldom go entirely to plan. Throughout the development cycle of an app, the world’s emergency generation machine will be active to various degrees, ensuring there is no shortage of new issues to resolve. Smart CTOs know to scout out and hire Ruby on Rails developers who are smart, level-headed, and able to generate or source for a suitable solution to any emergency.

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