First Jr Ruby Job

Do you have any advice for getting your first Jr Ruby Job? Some questions I have include how to know when you know enough to start applying. How much can one expect to learn on the job. How to find a company that will help develop you.

Thanks in advance.

Read books, articles, watch screencasts and then code, refactor code, code and then refactor your code some more after reading more.

Good starting point on deciding on whether you know enough Ruby or RoR to apply for a job is thoughtbot’s trail maps Go through the list and see how much of the stuff you do know. If you know the intermediate stuff you’re in decent shape to go out and apply for a job. If you dont, now you know what to study.

Also dont be afraid to just go and apply at a job whether you think you know enough or not. You learn a lot from doing job interviews. It helps you gauge your level of knowledge against what employers are looking for so you can go back home and study and practice. I know this from personal experience.

You will always learn a lot on the job, it just depends on your position and how much responsibility you are given. This is something you can get a feel for during the interview process when you ask question on how they structure their teams and what they expect from their developers.

Finding the right company that will help you develop is sometimes a shot in the dark. You will just have to stick you neck out there and do plenty of searching or networking. Dont be afraid to ask questions on whether the company promotes learning through taking classes, workshops or doing internal hackathons.

A year and half ago I never even knew what Ruby on Rails was, but thanks to working hard on an on going project and constant studying and improvement. I am finally landing a job as a full stack developer at a web dev shop. After going through about 5 others interviews before that of course. You just gotta keep pushing till you get what you want and a company sees your skills and potential.


I think @erikguzman is absolutely right.

My experience is similar: I come from a Humanities background and started learning Rails a few years ago. Even though I work full-time and have a baby daughter at home, I was able to get a part-time job on a small startup following a path similar to what @erikguzman describes. With resources like Learn and time on your hands I’m sure you’ll be able to advance your career far faster than I was able to.

Just keep practicing, improving your code and getting it up on Github. You’ll build trust in your skills and good things will follow from that :slight_smile:

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Good answer @erikguzman! I’d second what he’s said.

Thanks for the response! I will continue going through the trail maps list and pushing my code to github.


Some practical tips:

Make your Github profile look as good as possible.

Get your LinkedIn profile organized and well written. Be sure you mention Ruby, Rails in your linkedin skills.

Get a Stack Overflow careers profile.

Start contributing to open source (even if at a very, very small level.) For example, for a gem I use frequently, I fixed just a small thing ( I thought it was important, though it only took less than one line of code.) It didn’t take much skill, but still, it was a contribution.

If you’re doing a side project (which you should always be doing,) commit it to github, but be sure you’re acting “as-if” it’s a professional project – meaning, use well formed commit messages, Tim Pope has a great, short commit message style guide you should read.

I guarantee you that you’ll start getting slammed with recruiters trying to get you hired. That of course, doesn’t get you the job, nor are all the jobs from companies that would necessarily work to develop your skills, but if you can confidently move around the rails environment and are grounded in the fundamentals (such as Array manipulation) then you’ll be good enough to get started.

I recommend that you work on your front-end skills as well. The “calling card” app that you build needs to look good – even if the function is awesome, first impressions mean a ton, unfortunately.

I would get your Vim skills up to speed. In my experience some of the best shops for new talent also happen to be Vim shops, which means, if you get to do the pair programming interview, you don’t want to be flustered with the Vim (the programming itself is hard enough!)

I would be TDDing everything you build. If that seems “hard,” Good! You’re going to be learning testing right alongside learning the “code.” If you get an interview and get to do a coding test… Remember to approach it test-first. I would learn Cucumber. First, it’s awesome, secondly, it makes you better at communicating the purpose of something you’re trying to build which helps develop your critical communication skills. I would even Cuke stuff you build for yourself.

Also, I would listen to the Ruby5 podcast – just getting used to the Ruby and Rails community jargon, lingo, argot, will make you yourself more fluent. Remember, fake it til you make it, and you will!

Learn Haml, Sass, Coffeescript. You don’t necessarily have to use them (I think you should!) but many places are looking for those skills and by adding that to your arsenal, you’ll be able to jump into any project and know what you’re looking at. Think of yourself as a Diplomat from the country of NewDeveloperstan – like any diplomat, the better you can relate to the host country (your prospective employer) the more they’ll be willing to hire you, help you and the more they’ll be willing to overlook a relative lack of experience.

This is obviously a highly opinionated response, but hopefully you find some useful bits! Good luck!