Interview answer from Dr. Nic Williams to a question posed by Yours Truly…

How do you see the market for Ruby Programmers in the work place, and do you see it as primarily tied to Rails and Web related work? Do you see trends in administration or other work? What’s the future for Ruby?

Professionally, at some point though there will be the need to use a wide variety of technologies, languages and frameworks to meet client/real-world requirements. Nonetheless, it is your responsibility as a professional software professional to recommend and ultimately demand that you use the best tools for the job. If that tool, for one or more tasks, is Ruby then so be it. If your boss, or future employers, disagree with you on your selections of technologies for specific tasks then remember one thing:

You only need one job/employer at a time. Surely you can find or train one to care like you care about appropriate tools and technologies. Teach your boss to care about you as a human and then reward them with outrageous displays of awesomeness.

We try to script every sys admin job in Ruby. We’ve started working on a “New computer (OS X) installer” script called Noober that’ll be like a capistrano/deprec set of recipes for installing our favourite apps, bookmarks, preferences, rubygems, etc on new OS X machines. Very awesome; not finished, but awesome. I use Ruby to write unit tests for Objective-C libraries and I’ve heard of Java projects using RSpec + JRuby for testing. I use Ruby to scrape the data usage from my 3G and ADSL carriers’ websites. I use Ruby to script TextMate via its bundles mechanism.

My attitude to life is “how can I make sure I want to do this job for the next 40 years?” Massaging Ruby into as many aspects of my life as possible is a part of my personal answer

See the rest of the interview!