Interview answer from Jay Fields 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?

The market for Ruby programmers is the best programmer market I’ve ever seen. I missed the dotcom bubble, and I hear it was better back then, but not by much.

Last year, a bank offered me $174k a year to do Ruby (Rails). I know independent contractors asking for $100-$150 an hour, and getting more work than they can handle.

It’s not just about the money though, the companies that are hiring Ruby developers are usually fun, forward-thinking, and agile organizations. Even if you aren’t getting paid buckets of money, chances are the work environment is a good one.

I get several emails a week about opportunities. Most sound like great places to work, though I’m always a bit skeptical about some of the start-ups. Justin Ghetland once told me to avoid any start-up work unless there’s no doubt in my mind that the idea is going to work. I think Justin’s advice is spot on. Last year I almost joined a start-up that was going to pay me quite well, and they already had customers lined up. It seemed like a good situation, but the timing ended up being problematic. In the end, I got lucky, they ran out of cash about 6 months into it. There’s just so many great jobs out there that going with a start-up right now doesn’t seem like a risk worth taking.

If I were looking for a job right now I’d be talking to Forward, Relevance, and Hashrocket. If I were just learning Ruby, I’d be reading the blogs that those guys maintain and I’d be emailing them for ideas on how to improve.

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