Re: [ruby-112] From a business perspective is it a good idea to build in Rails?

From: Michael L.
Sent on: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 5:04 PM
What do companies think of  A developer & designer apprenticeship program offered by Thoughtbot.

For those that don't want to click links:

What happens during the apprenticeship?
Apprentices will work alongside designers and developers at thoughtbot on real projects, and will be assigned a Mentor who is their primary instructor. Apprentices can take any of the thoughtbot workshops at no charge. They will also work on special projects designed to give them additional time and training in the areas they most need.

What's the relationship between thoughtbot and the apprentices? Are they paid employees?
The apprentices will be paid, W2, employees of thoughtbot during their apprenticeship. The current pay is $500/week.

How long does the apprenticeship last?
The apprenticeship lasts for three months. In the final month, you may receive an offer for a position as a full designer or developer at thoughtbot, or we'll connect you with other great potential employers.

Are there specific time periods apprentices are accepted? When is the application deadline? When does the next class start?
We take applications continually and accept people on a rolling basis, in short, there are no deadlines and there are not batches of apprentices.

What is the time commitment?
Apprentices will work 40 hours per week, at the thoughtbot office. Part-time apprenticeships are not available at this time. If you will be relocating for your apprenticeship, we can provide non-financial assistance with travel and lodging arrangements.

What technologies will the apprentices work with?
Apprentices will learn and work with Ruby on Rails, jQuery, Backbone.js, HTML5, SCSS, git, Unix, and agile software development.

What do you look for in applicants?
A qualified design apprentice will have experience with graphical design for the web or iOS as well as HTML and CSS. The well-qualified developer candidate will be at an intermediate level with Ruby on Rails.

Thoughtbot is arguably one of the most successful companies in our space and they foster one of the best learning environments around.  The Ruby Meetup Group and Hack Nights are great but I don't have time to attend them.  If I was offered a 3 month apprenticeship (assuming I passed the interview process) which supported my basic financial needs, gave me real world experience, and allowed me to work full time with the tech I love I'de jump on it in a heartbeat.

That being said I agree with Kalv.  It’s wrong to make assumptions about individuals, companies, or the community in general.  I realize the above modal won’t work for everyone.

Michael Lee

On April 15, 2014 at 3:44:56 PM, Kalvir Sandhu ([address removed]) wrote:

Hey Eric,

Thanks again for contributing to the mailing list albeit with a bit of passive aggression to the employers in our community. But your truthful opinion on the state of recruitment in Vancouver is fair and yours to share.

I've been working with development positions for sometime and have hired what you call 'Juniors' (i don't really like calling people junior, intermediate, senior), have even encouraged a number of local companies to hire (3 in total and counting, some externally because those here were not *good enough*). I could say I’m doing what I can by running the Ruby meetup and making a good home for developers to learn, share and grow.

Your post is long and has a lot to it, making it difficult to reply but I wanted to add some thoughts to this discussion. Sorry if it's a bit un-structured and reads badly, this is rushed.

I would be surprised to see others reply because of this - something to consider if you want to encourage conversation, maybe make it friendly, open and short. 

Naming companies is not cool mate, I'm sorry but why should I believe your perspective on what Clio does or not. I don't know why they don't want to hire developers at your stage because I don't work there, know their hiring policy, team culture, code quality, etc. Clio is a believer of the community which in turn helps developers grow (they've helped sponsor and run ruby meetups).

Have you ever hired early developers? I have and it's hard for many reasons not all just business but sometimes because experienced developers don't make good mentors, irrelevant of how much they've done. I've worked with some great engineers but they've been awful at teaching.

On your hypotheisis - mostly these are false, I've seen companies hire early developers that fit these opinions (I'm assuming you didn't qualify these with the companies you spoke with "Do you not hire Juniors because you have a CodeClimate GPA over 3"?). If people would like to know of the companies that did hire please ask me at the next ruby meetup or email me. I'm happy to tell you of those companies.

Eric, I find it hard to digest your findings because of your position. You don't run those departments or know the real reasons on why they are hiring or not. Was this based on whether they wanted to hire you or not? As an employer I know that sometimes people don't reveal all about the company and role, in some cases people aren't a good fit because of character team fit.

As for dropping Rails, I worked at a company before that chose a different technology because of talent difficulties, it ended up shifting the problems elsewhere. Sure, select the right tool for the job based on your team experience but you can't really just change from Rails on a web app to Play (one of the Java frameworks) if you can't hire more developers. It's a little harder than that:

- Cost to the business, persuading the board
- New technologies and maintainability awareness, what's the long term effects
- Who is the so-called "senior" now?
- Educating the existing staff
- Existing team might just up end up leaving

Anyhow, I look forward to seeing this passion you have applied in writing emails be applied to the open source projects like Rails or other projects that will make you a better developer and in turn make Vancouver have better quality developers. Something that will matter in this race to find a job as a developer.


On April 15, 2014 at 8:45:17 AM, Eric Brooke ([address removed]) wrote:

Do you have the developers you need onboard?  Is what I ask, now.

There are some companies in Vancouver who have being trying to find senior developers for the last six months without any luck.  I know four companies in Vancouver who have over 10 rails developers who want to double their number by years end. Then there is a bunch of startups (you know under 10 people) who are desperately trying to get, that one extra developer.

Several recruiters, I spoke to said to me they cannot believe the approach that some companies in Vancouver,BC are taking, waiting for that perfect Unicorn, when in time it is taking them to recruit they could have grown a Junior to an Intermediate. Whilst in other markets such as Toronto, Seattle, Portland, Boston, New York and San Francisco.  Companies are looking for the right people to grow.

And that is before you talk about pay.

There is one shining example and that is Clio, who look at all at the full range,  had a great chat with one of their seniors, who showed me the offices, which frankly is the best environment I have seen so far, their mobility between projects is high, as is their tolerance for learning new languages i.e. Objective C. Their tech testing is fair, no rails question but a good set nonetheless.

The simple fact is if we do not grow more rails/ruby developers the framework/language may change to fit the needs of the businesses that want to build their web/mobile applications now and not wait six months to find someone. Six months could kill some businesses.

Here is my current hypothesis for whether a company will employ juniors:
  1. The more Seniors in a company the bigger the reluctance to coaching juniors. 
  2. Where Seniors are not comfortable with collaboration, and human interaction. Sometimes they believe they are great at humans (or really do not care), where as they come off as just arrogant.
  3. Where there is a mix of Intermediates and Seniors there is an openness to coaching juniors.  
  4. Intermediates who are generally more open to coaching, they seem to follow up their words with actions..
  5. Where the organization culture is a true mix of learning/reflection/growth/mobility.
  6. Survival mode companies, do not employ juniors, where the priority is velocity
  7. Where the culture is very competitive and “male”, do not employ juniors, unless you are a math graduate.. 
  8. Where the priority is on culture not just velocity, do.  Sometime driven by business not technology people.
  9. Where there is the wider coverage of tests, then there is less reluctance to bringing on juniors. 
  10. Where the code climate GPA is higher then 3
  11. Where the Seniors have had multiple jobs in the past they tend to be more open. 
  12. Where the Seniors have worked both small and large companies
  13. Confident, open Senior who just thinks it is the right thing to do, because they see coaching as part of their growth and have stepped over the fear. And the business has not oppressed them into survival mode.
  14. Where the technologist actual bought into community, and not a means to an end i.e. their pay.
  15. Polygots in either language or careers are the most open to coaching
So a real mix of culture, personality, and leadership.

If business leaders, lead technologists and Seniors do NOT open their minds, I think they could actually kill their businesses, or they will need to move to a language/framework that has a higher supply. 

Local companies need to step up and provide the community with more then just event venues!

The timing is right for a cultural shift, with two companies producing interns, and many more people joining the community. We decide now if there will be a healthy sustainable rails/ruby community. 

Hire some juniors already!

P.S. I now have a map of those that do, but maybe I will build it in a Javascript framework ;-) 
P.S.S I considered saying a PHP framework, but that was my past, I am almost crying now..

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