Ruby on Rails October 1, 2020

Finding Rails devs as a startup and non-tech founder

Tony Dehnke @TonyDehnke

My app is built in Rails with some React front end. I'm struggling to find developers to work on the project.

How are small startups finding Rails devs to work on their project? I'm a non-technical founder so that makes it hard for me to qualify devs.

How are other people finding people or solving this?

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    Hey Tony.

    If you’re a startup, it shouldn’t matter that you’re non-technical.

    Lots of successful startups have a non-tech founder that does things that are so amazing / forcing traction to happen, that they’re able to attract and recruit their technical founders.

    I often see posts about “how can I hire a dev”, but strangely they’re often missing the only information that the great devs want to see! That is: What are you working on? How is it going? How exciting is it, is there budget, etc

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    If you want I can post a listing on my Rails-based bootcamp ( slack. 10k rails devs of varying levels in there.

    1. 1

      Sure I'd be willing to try that out.

      1. 1

        cool send a dm on twitter

  3. 1

    Hi Tony,

    Mark here, I'm dev and techie with 20+ years experience that has just moved into the Rails space (15 months). I'm moving on from current rails based SaaS in a few weeks and I'm looking to get involved with a project that's early in it's life. Ping me directly if you want to discuss further.
    In answer to your question, I had to build a team (2 devs) for my current place. I didn't know rails at the time. We were offering market rates for someone with 3-5 years / 2+ projects experience. What I did was took at a reasonably small problem that I need to solve in the platform. I looked at how I would go about it and came up with a design and P.O.C. I then used that as a take home problem test for the candidates. There was no right or wrong solution, I was looking for; did they understand my reqs, did they engage and ask questions, could they code a working solution, was it close to mine and could I understand their code.
    One of the hardest part about building a team from scratch is that it takes a while for devs to get into context e.g. familiar with the platform, market space and domain language.

    If you bring someone on, there are plenty of code quality tools that you can use as a metric

    There are sites like hackerrank that you could ask potential people to sit a test on.
    I got involved and went to local ruby meetups. It was the fastest I've ever learned a technology, the community is very helpful.


  4. 1

    I'm a Rails dev myself.

    It'll be hard to evaluate someone without the technical background to do so. And it also depends on your budget.

    If your budget is limited, the best path would be to learn a bit of Rails (a lot of books on this). If your budget is huge, check out or similar websites. If you want to hire someone, typically the ones you want (ie. full stack, can build practically anything) are already hired / working at a startup / working on their own things. You'll also be competing with the likes of large Rails shops (eg. Shopify, Github)

    You can join local meetups (hard to do during the pandemic). Most developers (the ones you really want, can build you that polished software) won't jump onto a project pro bono.

    Again, it's a bit hard (speaking as a developer).

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      Thanks.. not looking for free workers at all, looking to find someone to hire. Toptal doesn't work with people who don't have a tech background or have a development staff in place.

      It does feel like Rails is not a good fit for a small non-tech startup these days (Rails itself is great and great if you are a dev that knows it), but the available pool of talent to hire from is too small with out being a tech founder.

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        I've been coding rails in the past 6 years.

        I think that as a non-tech founder, hiring devs for any stack would be considered risky because you're not able to tell the quality of the dev. It's mainly trial and error until you find the right devs.

        The best way to find qualified devs in this case is to get referrals from people you know. If you don't have these, then Toptal, Upwork and the like are also fine, based on previous reviews.

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