GigPark: Ruby on Rails Developer

June 18, 2009

GigPark is looking for a Ruby on Rails developer:

  • GigPark is a Toronto-based web startup that’s growing fast
  • Built with Ruby on Rails and hosted on EC2
  • We’re not religious about technology. We believe in using the right tool for the job
  • You believe that database design is part of application development and you know your responsibility doesn’t end when your code is deployed
  • You have opinions on better tools & technologies and love to try new things. You are also pragmatic and choose the best tool for the job
  • You have a solid understanding of software fundamentals including: programming languages, scalability, security and source code management

If you’ve also got some design chops, you might want to check out their Ruby on Rails Designer/Developer position instead.  I haven’t met that many people that do a particularly solid job of both, but if GigPark can find one at a price they can afford, they should certainly hire him or her (you?)

The Good
It’s a live, working application you can use.  If you’re not already familiar with GigPark, register, and see if it’s something you’d be interested in working on.  This is always a really big plus to my eye, because there are lots of jobs where you won’t know what you’ll be really doing until long after it’s too late to decide if it’s interesting.  It’s also using fun technologies, both Ruby on Rails and EC2 are interesting to many of the developers I know, as well as myself.  They also closed a deal with Metro recently which is probably good for business.

The Bad
There’s nothing overtly bad in what’s there.  The posting’s a little low on specifics, but I think it probably gets the general gist across clearly enough that most people can decide whether or not it’s something that’s interesting to them.

What’s Missing?
What exactly does competitive salary really mean in this case?  I’m assuming startup employment without benefits at this stage of GigPark’s growth?  Are they profitable at this stage, and if not, how are they funded, and how long will that last?  It’s somewhat true that most of the Ruby jobs in town don’t pay quite as well as the enterprisey Java and .NET work, in part because they tend to be for startups.  If pay is a big deal for you, this is something you might want to probe in detail.  What’s the size and composition of the team?  How regularly do they release?  What’s their process like, from design through development, testing and operations?  What do they use for testing, and how do they ensure their code is well-tested?  (If, for instance, they’re using code coverage, what kind of coverage do they aim for and achieve?)

Some people like sharply defined roles and responsibilities.  They want to work on the server-side code, not the database or the client code, and certainly not the operational side.  Most startups don’t really work that way, and it sounds like GigPark is definitely hoping to find a generalist or a specializing generalist.   Then again, that’s often part and parcel of working for a startup, so this might not come as a shock.  It looks like a young crowd — most people would be fine with that, but it might be worth knowing.

The Location
Looks like GigPark is located at Lansdowne and Dupont.  That’s a fair way west for most of you, but still central enough that it’s not a brilliant place for highway commuters.  Basically, it’s well-suited to people who are already taking the subway a fair ways, and particularly those in the west end of town.  I don’t know the area especially well; there are certainly some nice things down by High Park, but that’s just far enough to be inconvenient.  You’ve also got the Junction around  you, which might supply some interesting shops and restaurants.  Ultimately, it’s out of the way, but not horrific.

In Summary
There are only so many Ruby on Rails jobs in town, mostly for startups like GigPark.  If that appeals to you, then you’re probably already interested.  If it doesn’t, then you’re probably not the right fit anyway.


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.

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.

Unspecified: Ruby on Rails Developer

June 29, 2008

Some unspecified company is apparently looking for a Ruby on Rails developer in Toronto:

We are a Toronto-based software development company looking for someone who is passionate about writing software. You will be working with a small team of Ruby/Rails developers where your input will have a direct impact on the outcome of a project.

Inquiring to get a little more information got me nowhere; not sure if this is a sign that there’s no-one on the other end, it’s email harvesting, or there’s a live job, and they just don’t want to give me any more information.

The Good
Rails, git, Merb, JQuery.  Ruby’s your thing, sounds like a reasonable stack.

The Bad
Who are they?  What are they doing, and what are they using to make it happen?  Where would you fit in?  What do you get in return?  It’s all open to question.  Plus, the complete lack of response to inquiry is mildly suspicious.

For some, Ruby on Rails is already off the beaten track, and Merb is over the cliff.  That said, if you weren’t interested in being on the edge, why would you be looking at a Ruby job at all?  No matter how much it’s grown, it’s still not the ‘safe’ choice.

In Summary
I’m a little wary the lack of response to my email, but if you’re looking for a Rails and Merb job in Toronto, you might have to take what you can find, and perhaps you’ll have more luck than I did.  If you do, report back and let us know what you find, willya?

Apptastics: Ruby on Rails Developer

May 12, 2008

Apptastics is looking for a Ruby on Rails developer in Philadelphia, PA, San Francisco, CA, or remote:

We’re currently operating in stealth mode. We are looking for 1-3 full-time developers who are well versed in ROR who want to immerse themselves completely into our apps and help lead the development.

Ideally you should have strong experience developing with Rails, have successfully deployed a publicly accessible rails based website, have expertise in relational database design and optimization, experience with deploying and scaling production Rails applications, a detailed approach in design, coding and testing, familiarity with a broad range of web technologies including ajax, javascript, CSS, XML, open APIs.

Experience with social networking app implementations is a bonus.

Their idea of remote might be still be in the United States of America. Canada might be more remote than they have in mind. That said, if this sounds like your opportunity, there’s no harm in asking, right?

Zazengo: Senior Ruby Developer

April 29, 2008

Zazengo is looking for a Senior Ruby Developer

Zazengo is seeking the right person to take our technical team and
platform from pre-beta through launch and scaling to sustainable
profitability. The right candidate will combine the following:

• An excellent working knowledge (and love) of programming in Ruby and
Ruby on Rails. Up-to-date on latest Edge Rails technology and tools

• A strong understanding of emerging web technologies and practices
including widgets, advertising engines, RSS/Atom feeds, CMS tools,
social network connectivity, APIs, and standards including OpenId and
OpenSocial, especially in regards to their implementation using Ruby
and Rails.

The Good
There’s a lot of interesting bits in the posting.  It looks like Zazengo is into empowering not-for-profits, so, again, a good cause.

They’re working with interesting technology: Edge (Ruby on) Rails, Git, OpenSocial, OpenId, RSS.  They’re looking for someone with good writing/speaking skills, so community involvement may be a factor.  They seem to be test-driven, with mentions of Test::Unit and RSpec.

Mostly, it sounds like fun.

The Bad
There’s not much information about compensation.  Since Ruby jobs tend to vary significantly in compensation, I inquired, but received no response.  I’m not sure if you should read into that, so I’ll let you decide.  They’re looking for someone senior, current with edge rails, and up to speed on a lot of technology, so I’d hope they’d compensate accordingly, but not all startups can afford to, particularly those working with not-for-profits.

There’s not a ton of detail about the process or the company, so you may want to probe on those.

They’re a distributed/virtual team, and that might mean working from home.  Some people will love the idea, others will dislike it.

In Summary
If you’re looking for edge rails work and willing to work in a distributed team for a good cause, it’s worth having a deeper conversation with Zazengo about their compensation, process and the company.

mdlogix: Ruby on Rails Software Engineer

April 17, 2008

mdlogix is looking for a Ruby on Rails Software Engineer:

You will be embedded in a small Scrum team, working closely with your teammates, the Product Owner, and the Scrum Master to leverage Ruby on Rails and deliver innovative medical research support software. You will use your exceptional skills and experience in web development to create dynamic functionality.

The Good
They’re a relatively small company using Ruby on Rails to work on medical research software, which seems like a good cause.  They’ve got some expertise with Rails in-house, including Virtuous Code‘s Avdi Grimm (‘Monkey-Patching is Destroying Ruby‘).  And they’ve just brought on a soon-to-be-ex-colleague of mine, who’s a nice chap (yes, he has some British background), so you could work with him.

The Bad
Well, for starters, there’s not a lot of information in their posting.  Where’s the Toronto location?  What kind of compensation do they offer?  What might you be working on?  What’s their process like in detail?  There’s a pile of things a candidate would like to know, and clearly you’re going to have to open discussions before you’ll find out.

Secondly, after some initial conversations, I was able to determine that while mdlogix salaries are pretty good compared to many Rails salaries in Toronto, they still lag behind the high end of the positions for doing Java work, so depending on your background, you might need to verify or alter your expectations.

Your mileage may vary about having to start a conversation with mdlogix before you can find out the basics about where they are and what you might be working on.

I believe they’re located near Queen and Spadina, right next to b5media.  As I said for b5:

Their location’s good and bad; Spadina and Queen is a fine place to hang around, get lunch, have some fun.  Depending on where you live, though it’s an awkward place to commute to.  The Spadina car and Queen car are both sluggish during rush hour, and it’s just far enough from the subway line to make walking a healthy, yet time-consuming exercise on a twice-daily basis.  It’s not incredibly far from the highways, but it’s far enough and on a slow-enough thoroughfare that getting from the Gardiner to Queen/Spadina is often irritatingly slow.

In Summary
If you want a Rails job in Toronto, I wouldn’t suggest you leave stones unturned, and I suspect you’ll find that mdlogix isn’t a bad choice, but ultimately, you’re going to have to talk to them to find that out.