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May’s Ruby Jobs Update

By Peter Cooper / June 1, 2007

Looking at the stats from the Ruby Inside Job Board, the best position, so far, got 114 applicants from Ruby Inside readers. Wow! So if you want your job to be seen by thousands of hardcore Ruby and Rails developers, consider posting. Only one new job made it to the Ruby Inside Job Board in May, but it's a good one!

Affinity Labs is looking for a Rails developer to work in downtown San Francisco with competitive pay, stock options, health and dental cover, etc. Ideally they're hoping for a strong knowledge of Ruby, Rails, ERB, AJAX, RJS, YAML, REST and Capistrano.. so it's a great opportunity for someone who's hardcore into Ruby and Rails. You can even choose how you work.. whether on a desktop or laptop, and what platform you use (Mac, Linux or Windows). A fully stocked fridge with snacks and soda also awaits.

Ooga Labs also deserves a second mention for being an early job board poster, and for providing me with more information about their work environment. They say they're always looking for more Ruby/Rails developers in San Francisco, so check out their About page. Evan Pon provided me with some useful tidbits about the company:

Ooga was founded on the idea that everything requires iteration - we have to always keep trying things and testing things, if we want to improve them. It's the philosophy we follow when building our websites, and also try to apply it to the company itself.

Some of the things that we have arrived at that make us different from most other startups:

- multiple products in the company. This is a no-brainer for us. It increases the chance of getting a major success, while decreasing the risk of total failure (kind of like a movie studio - we can take multiple shots at creating that giant blockbuster). Every employee gets equity in every product (as each product is setup as a separate company). It keeps things much more interesting - there is always something new going on. You also get a lot of cross-pollination between products, as we keep the different product teams constantly interacting with each other. Currently, we're working on sharing more and more resources between the different products. For example, we've been refactoring a lot of our code into plugins that are then included in the various projects.

- small teams on each product. We're big believers that the less people you have on a project, the quicker you can move. All of our product teams are composed of 2 people - one responsible for the back-end (MySQL, Rails) and the other responsible for the front-end (design, HTML, CSS, Flash). Both people will work on the javascript/AJAX. They also need to overlap responsibilities a bit - back-end guy will need to know HTML/CSS, and the front-end guy will need to know basic Ruby, and the structure of Rails.

- extremely flat organization. Every team meets several times a week (at a minimum) with the CEO and CTO. These meetings are used to discuss product features, language, marketing, etc. Otherwise, each team is expected to to be fairly autonomous, and manage it's time and resources properly. This also means that every person has a tremendous impact on the product - you are fully or partially responsible for almost every single aspect of the product. Possibly the biggest thing we are looking to evaluate in potential employees is their judgment - since we will be relying on them to make so many decisions.

Rails is a natural fit for us for a variety of reasons. It allows us to prototype sites much faster, which is key when you work the way we do (large number of projects, each undergoing heavy iteration). It makes it much easier for a single engineer to develop the whole stack. I think it may become unwieldy when large teams are working on it, but we don't have to worry about that. It's designed for consumer internet sites, and that is all we build. Finally, part of the appeal is that it is the new hot thing - which means that finding engineers who already know Rails, also gets you engineers who are excited and interesting in technology.

In a nutshell, the reason why Ooga is unique is that our engineers cannot just be an engineer. There are so many other responsibilities that we give them, that if they are only interested in programming, they will not be a good fit. We're looking for people who want to be involved in everything - who enjoy coming up with ways to monetize a product just as much as they enjoy building the product.

Lastly, I've had word from Jonathan George, the owner of Ruby Rockstars, a free Ruby jobs board, that Ruby Rockstars published 209 jobs in the last three months, with 68 as contract work, 24 as hourly work, and 117 as salaried positions. The US led the pack with 163 jobs, the UK following with 11, 9 in India, and 7 in Canada. Jonathan also feels the trend is rapidly moving towards full-time positions.. a sign of maturity in the industry?

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