Tucows: Sr. Ruby Engineer

October 23, 2009

Tucows is looking for a Sr. Ruby Engineer:

Work as part of a small Agile team (2-3 developers) to deliver and improve RoR/AJAX/DHTML/Javascript based systems and interfaces that help us meet our business objectives and support an excellent customer experience.

The Good
Tucows is a pretty well-known company, and you can get a glimpse into their finances (they seem to be doing well enough).  They imply they’re small enough that you can make an impact:

We’re a small team with a big mission. Come prepared to hit above your weight.
We believe in taking the time to do it properly while working in a real-time environment. Launch, learn and iterate is favored over taking too long to find the perfect answer.

There are also not a ton of Ruby jobs in this town, so if you’re really into Ruby, there’s no point in leaving stones unturned.

You can also get a little view into Tucows from reading Joey DeVilla’s blog (or go talk to him at one of the many events he attends in town).

What’s Missing?
A fair amount.  What exactly would you be working on?  What are tucows online retail services applications?  What are the other team members like, and what’s their experience with Ruby on Rails?  What’s the compensation like?  Is this at the 96 Mowat location?   What’s the office and work environment like?  What are the challenging problems you’d solve in Tucows retail services applications?  Is it likely that you’ll be proud describing retail services applications, as they suggest?  How do they empower the developers to be creative?

There’s a lot of information in the posting, but most of it just raises more questions for me.

My mileage would definitely vary with this location; that won’t be true for everyone.  It’s not bad if you can get on the gardiner or the lakeshore without too much effort, but there’ll still be days when traffic is evil, and there isn’t really free parking in the area.

The Location
Probably in the King/Dufferin area:

Parkdale has its moments, there’s some good food around, but if you’re not somewhere in the area already, it’s pretty far west for a TTC commute.

In Summary
If you’re interested in doing Ruby on Rails, it’s probably worth talking to Tucows about this position.   Otherwise, I’m not sure there’s enough of the right kind of information to really draw me in.


Follow-Up: Direct Leap: Developer

March 9, 2009

I mentioned Direct Leap last week when David Crow posted their opening for a couple of developers.  Since then, a few more postings have come through (or I was able to correlate them mentally with this position), and there’s enough detail to do a bit more of a writeup:

The Good
The technology’s interesting.  Ruby on Rails working with VoIP, sounds unusual, but interesting.  It also sounds like they’ve got a good cause in mind.  Finally, there aren’t a ton of Ruby jobs in Toronto, and most of them are not especially well-paid.  I’m not sure if I should trust the DevBistro posting in this regard, but the posted salary range of $90-$120k is a pretty solid salary range.  If, in fact, they’re offering a solid compensation package of above-average pay and vacation, plus interesting technology and a good cause, I would think they’re worth a look.  They’re also claiming to be Agile, although there isn’t a lot of supporting material, and lots of companies claim agility.

The Bad
Well, if you’re not into Ruby, the bad might be that it sounds like an interesting opportunity that you don’t have the skillset for?  Despite the dev-bistro posting, I’m still suspicious that this might not be incredibly well-compensated, simply because both the non-profit angle and the ruby on rails angle would typically imply that to me, not to mention the apparent small size of the company.  That said, you’ll need to inquire to learn more about the compensation, and that might not be a primary factor for you. 

What’s Missing?
Is this really a not-for-profit organization with above-average compensation?  That’s not the usual correlation, so I’m a little suspicious that the dev-bistro posting is not quite right.  When they say “part custom distributed network application”, are they still talking Ruby, or is this implemented in something else, and if so, what?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to the social enterprise angle.  For some, that’d be a huge attractor, while others probably won’t care.  I don’t imagine anyone would be put off by this, but you never know.  You might also find automated telephony to be a bit of a bane on modern life, and here you’ll be contributing to it.  That said, automated telephony for a good cause is certainly better than the same thing for, say, warning people about bogus car warranty expiration.

The Location
They seem to be located southwest of Queen and Spadina.  A fun neighbourhood, but possibly a little far afield if you’re not coming from that neck of the woods.  It’s a bit of a hike from the subway, although it’s not totally out-of-question. 

In Summary
If you’re into Ruby and you’re looking for a job, it’s probably worth giving them a shout.

Direct Leap: Developer

March 6, 2009

Direct Leap is looking for two Developers [DavidCrow.ca]:


We are a small but established company building telephony applications with Ruby and Asterisk. Our products are specifically designed for national, non-profit customers. Our growing, long-term customer base have used the products we develop to achieve startling progressive election victories.

Our key product is a part-Rails, part custom distributed network application with an AJAX+Comet interface. We are an Agile/Scrum shop, and do test driven development.

We’re looking to add two permanent full time developers to our growing team. We work hard, but give everyone a minimum one month per year paid vacation. Our office is in a converted textile factory at Queen and Spadina.


There’s not a ton of information there, so I won’t do a full write-up.  It sounds like an interesting company doing something interesting to improve the world using fun technologies.  That part’s all good.  It’s not clear to me whether or not you’ll be well-compensated financially — for a small company in a “do-good” space, that’s not always true.  Then again, if you can afford to adjust your salary expectations for the right gig, this seems like it might be worth a further look.  The location’s not bad from what they say – a little off the beaten path, but in a fun area with lots of other startups.

Toronto Rehab: SIMS Technical Specialist

March 2, 2009

Toronto Rehab is looking for a Technical Specialist for their Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) , and their requirements have really triggered my curiosity:

  • Extensive database transaction-processing experience.
  • Informix, Ruby on Rails, Oracle, Sybase or MUMPS (?!)
  • Unix, Windows or Novell (?!)
  • Java / .NET
  • Extensive use of computers, software and peripherals, including Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project
  • Experience with computer hardware/software vendor processing? (Soylent green is made of vendors, apparently).

And, from the sounds of things, the goal of this position is to migrate an HP-UX/Informix project to “current technologies”, whatever that means given the above list.

Toronto Rehab sounds like a somewhat interesting organization:

Toronto Rehab is Canada’s largest rehabilitation hospital and the University of Toronto’s fully affiliated and specialized teaching hospital dedicated to adult rehabilitation and complex continuing care. We are at the forefront of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today — rehabilitation science.

But I’m not sure that’s enough to get me through the job posting, which has left me pretty thoroughly baffled as to who and what they’re really looking for.

ArtSlant: Developer

January 12, 2009

ArtSlant is looking for a Ruby on Rails developer and they don’t care where you live, which means those of us in Toronto have a shot:


ArtSlant is a virtual company with individuals contributing from all over the world. We don’t care about your degree, your age, your nationality or your location (you can be in India, or Europe, or Russia for example). We only care that you are very creative, extremely effective and committed to accomplishing great things with us.

Do you love being challenged? Want to have fun coding? Ambitious, exceptional developers with strong entrepreneurial interest are encouraged to apply. You must be an absolutely top performing developer – that is our primary concern.

– This is a telecommuting position and will require computer and internet access

– Work with state of the art technology (Ruby on Rails, AJAX, Web 2.0…)

– As much responsibility and challenge as you can handle


The Good
Working on Rails for an art-oriented application with a distributed high-performing team doesn’t sound so bad. 

The Bad
There’s not a lot of detail here, and some of the missing detail could be pretty important to figuring out if you even really want to start a conversation about the opportunity. 

What’s Missing?
There’s not a lot of discussion on the terms, and I get the impression after talking to someone who’s been talking to them in more detail that it might not be totally cut and dried, which is one of the the sugestions you might take away from a phrase like “strong entrepreneurial interest.”  What rates would you get?  Is it full-time work, or some here and some there?  Are they generating revenue, or are they funded?

Your mileage may vary with getting involved with a startup at an early stage where it’s a little more like being a partner than it is being an employee. 

In Summary
If you’re already doing some contract work and you’d like to get involved with ArtSlant on the side, there might be an interesting opportunity in there somewhere, but you’d have to discuss it with them in more detail.

Devver: Ruby Developer

December 11, 2008

Devver is looking for another developer to add to their team, working on “cloud-based tools for Ruby hackers”:


Devver is building cloud-based tools for Ruby hackers – tools that tell you more about your code and make you more productive. We’re looking for a top-notch Ruby hacker to help us build the next generation of developer tools. 

Devver was funded by TechStars in the summer of 2008. We recently closed a funding round that included a major San Francisco VC firm as well as a group of stellar angels. 

We are looking to add another developer to our team. We’re located in Boulder, CO but are comfortable working with a distributed team. This is a full-time position. 

This job will require you to solve new and interesting problems on a daily basis. You’ll help us do everything from fixing bugs to building features to refining our architecture. 

In return for your hard work, you’ll be rewarded with a significant piece of equity along with a competitive salary. 


The Good
The Cloud is at the very least an interesting technology challenge, and possibly the future of development.  Ruby on is at the very least an interesting languages, and possibly the future of  … ok, well, I wouldn’t go that far, although I know some that would.  😉  They sound like they’re focused on getting stuff done, and doing so in a test-driven, iterative way, which is a great thing if they’re serious about it.  One of their tools sounds like it might be distributed-testing-related, which could be interesting.  Mostly, it just sounds like an interesting and funded startup doing interesting things.

The Bad
They’re comfortable with a distributed team, but does that include those of us in Toronto, or just a distributed team in the states?  Boulder is, I gather, a nice place to live if you’re not opposed to move in the long term.

What’s Missing
What’s does Devver consider a competitive compensation?  What’s their funding history — how much money do they have, and what’s the burn rate and revenue?  Is the team already distributed, and if so, how do they manage the distributed work?  What’s the size and composition of the team?  What other tools are they considering building?  What’s the ‘cloud’ they’re using?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to remote work.  I know it’s not my first choice, but for the right company I’d be willing to try and make it work.   Your mileage might also vary when it comes to Ruby, but if that’s true, you probably don’t want this job.

In Summary
If you’re looking for a role in an interesting Ruby startup, and you’re willing to convince Devver that you’re worth the hassle of working with a Torontonian, could be just the thing for you.

RedWire: Senior Rails Developer

September 4, 2008

RedWire is looking for what they’re calling a Senior Rails Developer:

– Web application development
– Network administration
– Information storage
– Network functionality

In addition, you will also be responsible for helping set up email distribution, as well as any other relevant technically related projects as they arise.

• Provable guru status and devoteeism of Ruby on Rails with experience actually deploying applications
• Strong experience with MySQL, version 5+ and beyond
• Background in developing and optimizing GNU/Linux, *nix, and *BSD platforms for mission critical production environments
• Familiar with network infrastructure and design concepts for small networks (<25 machines).
• Proven experience in designing security-hardened web applications, using open cryptographic standards 
• Familiarity with hardware prognostics and normal accident theory 
• Expertise in open-source programs and development • Familiarity with content versioning systems (e.g., Hg, SVN, CVS)

The Good
The technology mix (Ruby/Rails, MySQL, Linux) isn’t a bad one. 

The facebook posting talks about their location at Adelaide and John, which is both reasonably convenient and has a lot of nice stuff around.

Both the redwire and SarahPrevette twitter feeds have bemoaned the lack of good candidates, so if you’re really a good fit, you might have a little leverage to help align the opportunity with what you’re looking for.

The Bad
Not a ton of information about what RedWire will do, how big the company is (is it just Sarah Prevette, or are there more partners/employees), how far along they are, and so forth.  What’s the compensation?  

It’s a startup, so, odds are, the pay’s not fantastic and there aren’t any benefits.  That means they need to make up for it in other ways.  What are those other ways, the “fun” about which the posting speaks, or is there more, like an equity stake?

Making reference to ‘Hg’ under concurrent versioning systems when you’re talking about being a Rails shop is a little odd, since Git seems to be the DVCS of choice for that community these days.  Not sure if I should read something into that or not, so I won’t.

The tone tries really hard to convince you that you want to work at RedWire, from the “Rockstars” to “Fun-zilla”.  Some people go for that, other people find it irritating enough to write an in-depth rant about this particular posting.

It could be a pretty mixed bag of do-it-all technology work, which may either be great, or irritating, depending on how you feel.  As the rant above implies, this sounds like what they really want is more like a ‘CTO’ or at least a technically-oriented partner in the company than it does a Rails developer.

In Summary
This is probably only interesting if you’re a bit of a technological jack-of-all-trades interested in working for/with a start-up in Ruby.  If that sounds like you, drop RedWire / Sarah Prevette a line and try and learn a little more.