Since its launch in December 2005, Ruby on Rails has become the Web application framework of choice for a wide variety of consumer-facing companies. According to one estimate, over 600,000 websites are now running on Ruby on Rails, threatening Java’s dominance. That’s all good news for RoR developers.
Growth Generated Across Sectors
“From a macro perspective, Ruby continues to be in really strong demand,” says Doug Schade, principal consultant at WinterWyman Technology Search in Boston. “Last year we did a study of our own searches and found that 10 percent of our roles were Ruby-based, and this year it’s already 15 percent. So we’re on track for continued growth.”
Schade thinks the need is driven by Boston’s robust startup sector, as well as the continued strength of the city’s small- and medium-sized companies. He’s observed the same response to RoR from employers in New York and beyond.
Matt Brosseau, director of information technology at Chicago consultant Instant Technology, says that not only are more people asking for RoR skills, but the need is crossing industries. “A couple years ago it was mostly Web development shops and places that kind of solved customized software solutions,” he says. “But nowadays I have financial firms and security firms reach out, as well as healthcare organizations. I even had an auto salvage dealership looking for Ruby people.”
Complimentary Tool Kit
Brosseau has noticed a critical need for developers with a good grasp of Web standards and a strong knowledge of HTML5 and CSS 4. “They tend to be pretty applicable since all of the applications have to (a) be responsive and (b) be seen through a website.”
Ruby developers get paid well. In Chicago, Brosseau sometimes finds it a challenge to fill full-time positions because the money is too good to pass up as a freelancer. “A lot of the consultants can command $100 an hour, or working through an agency as a full-fledged contractor we’re seeing salaries from $150,000 to $175,000,” he says.