What skills should you test while hiring a Ruby on Rails developer?
Published at May 02, 2018

Ruby on Rails is an awesome framework for server-side web application development. If you want to develop web apps using Ruby on Rails for your company or for your clients, you need to hire the right Rails developer. A person with little knowledge cannot give you great outputs. If you hire inexperienced developers, you have to spend so much money on training them.

Are you hiring or planning to hire Rails developers? If yes, this post can be useful for you. Selecting the right guy is not an easy task. It may seem that the developer you have hired will do wonders for your company. But he may not be able to do even the basic tasks for your projects.

Before deciding to select a person for your work, you need to know a lot of things about him. A developer with just Rails skills may not be able to produce satisfactory results for you for many reasons. To give you an example, if he doesn’t have good communication skills, he won’t be able to understand the requirements very well and as a result, he may not be able to produce the result that you want.

Having Ruby on Rails skills and communication skills is not enough. Your developer should also have knowledge of databases, deployment tools, text editors, etc.

This post will give you a list of skills that you should test while hiring a Rails developer. I hope you will find this post helpful.

Basics of Ruby

To be able to work with Ruby on Rails, one must have the basic knowledge of Ruby. If one doesn’t understand Ruby well, they won’t be able to understand how things work in Ruby on Rails. In simple words, a Rails developer must know the basics of Ruby.

A good Rails developer should know the basic syntax of Ruby and should have a good concept of object-oriented programming in Ruby. And knowledge of control flow statements, loops, arrays, hashes, sorting, symbols, blocks, procs, lambdas, etc. is necessary. So while hiring a Ruby on Rails developer, you should test whether the candidate knows these things.

Frontend skills

To develop a web application, one must know HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript because knowing these languages is essential for developing a website. HTML5 is used for structuring a web page, CSS is used for styling, and JavaScript adds interactivity to your web page. You can use JavaScript for client-side data validation.

So you have to test whether your candidate has the basic frontend skills so that he can develop the frontend of your web application.

Knowledge of databases

Knowledge of databases is essential for developing web applications that involve databases. So when hiring a Rails developer, you have to know whether the person knows the basics of SQL, NoSQL, PostgreSQL, MySQL, etc.

Communication skills

People with great communication skills can produce excellent results because through good communication, they will be able to understand your requirements or the requirements of your customers, and an excellent understanding of requirements is essential for producing high-quality outputs.

Besides, a good communicator will be able to motivate people in your company, which is a great advantage. This is why big companies prefer developers with amazing soft skills. Having technical skills is not sufficient. One must know how to express ideas and influence people.

If your candidate is not a native English speaker, test how well he speaks. Can he speak fluently? You can tell him to talk on a particular topic to know whether he is a fluent English speaker.

The main thing a developer does is - he writes code, he develops things. But if you want your Rails developer to write documentation or blog posts for your business, you have to test their writing skills as well.

Ruby on Rails skills

Your Rails developers must be good at Ruby on Rails. They need to possess technical knowledge of Ruby on Rails. A good understanding of the MVC paradigm is required. They should be familiar with continuous integration, REST, HTTP protocol, ERB, Haml, app configuration, ActiveRecord, WebServices, Cucumber testing, unit testing, etc.

Your developer should also be able to write their own classes and models and work with different data models.

The other things that your developer should know about are triggers, query wrapper methods, ORM, etc. They should also be good at debugging.

If your candidate can show you their own Ruby on Rails projects, it would be best because if they have worked on Rails projects, you have to understand that they are very good at Ruby on Rails. If the quality of their sample projects is very high, you can be sure that they will able to produce great quality applications for your business with little or no training from your side.

Ability to write tests

A good Rails developer can generally write tests. So if your candidate has the ability to write tests, you have to know that he has great skills in Rails. If he has already written tests for Rails applications, you can check them to understand his ability to write tests. If the tests are excellent, he is a good developer.

Ability to use different tools

A good Rails developer should have the ability to use different tools / software such as Git, Heroku, Docker, GitHub,  Capistrano, etc. He should also be familiar with project management tools such as Trello, Asana, etc. Besides, he should be able to use text editors such as TextMate, Sublime Text, Atom, Emacs, Vim, etc.


This post talked about the skills that you need to test while hiring a Ruby on Rails developer. To summarize, you have to know whether your candidate has the knowledge of Ruby basics, frontend skills, knowledge of databases, communication skills, Ruby on Rails skills, ability to write tests, and has the ability to use different tools.

Based on your requirements and preferences, you may have to test other skills as well. Only the general skills have been mentioned in this post. You may also need to test very specific skills of your candidate.

While interviewing the candidate, ask him whether he has the specific knowledge, skills, and experience that are required for completing your projects. For example, if your project is about accountancy, your Rails developer should have some knowledge of accountancy although a great knowledge of accountancy may not be required.

I hope this post was useful! Do you need to develop web applications using Ruby on Rails? If yes, you can hire us! Call us at +60197570530 or email us at hello@virtualspirit.me.

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