How rails has changed how I seek for a job

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For nine years, I have developed for the web. Over the years I’ve programmed in C, C++, Python, Java, ASP, PHP, Perl, and most recently, Ruby.
Since my first job as a developer, I’ve never looked for a new job: all of my job transitions have come through friends or co-workers.

In mid 2007 I was happy working with Perl. One day a friend told me about a Ruby on Rails job. Back in 2007, Rails developers in Brazil were rare. Because of that, the employer was seeking someone who fit the company instead of someone with Rails experience. That was great for me!

After a pleasant summer, the new job’s charm wore off and I decided that I wanted to move on but continue to program with Rails. Finally, I left my job.

When I started to send out resumes I soon realized that Rails’ culture fundamentally changed the way that a Rails job search functioned. In addition to the traditional resume or CV, Rails jobs demanded to know about Working With Rails, LinkedIn, GitHub, Twitter, personal blogs and sites, discussion forum posts, participation in open source projects, and a multitude of other online presences. These new demands made me realize that I hadn’t been cultivating a comprehensive web presence, which is not uncommon for female programmers, in my experience.

At first, this realization was disturbing. Though it’s still possible to get a Rails job without a vast web presence, I was upset to realize that I hadn’t been adhering to this best practice. It was particularly jarring the first time I was unable to answer these questions to potential employer.
The practice of software development as a craft is constantly reinventing itself and this includes the processes around job seeking and reputation building. Despite all of the hours, projects, languages, and jobs I’ve previously invested in, I now realize that I need to adapt to this new developer reality of being social and visible with my work in order to win back my standing as a desirable developer and potential candidate for a Rails position. The details of how I’ll implement that strategy will be the subject of an upcoming post, but I look forward to the possibilities ahead.

To read in portuguese.

6 Responses to “How rails has changed how I seek for a job”

  1. dana

    You mentioned participation in open source projects, and I’d like to highlight that because I think it’s far more valuable than your presence on Twitter or LinkedIn. Three or four patches to high-profile projects will fill up several pages on Google for you, and they’ll show that other people think your code is good enough to include in their own software. If I were checking out job candidates, I’d be *way* more interested in someone whose web presence consisted primarily of change log entries than I would be someone who seemed to spend most of their time on forums and Twitter.

    (Then again, I also pine for the days when C was still considered “high-level,” so maybe I’m just old school.)

  2. Sumana Harihareswara

    Yes! Open source is social, every commit and post is searchable, and it’s important to be enterpreneurial with one’s reputation (at work, and in one’s hobby FLOSS projects). I look forward to the next post.

  3. Prudential West

    I completely agree. Being involved in social networking has become increasingly important for almost every field out there, but especially for anybody involved with online marketing, web design/development, SEO etc.

  4. Amber

    “It’s great that more and more developers are realizing that is important to be visible and get social.”

    Is it? I mean, it sounds like it worked out for her, so that’s fine. And it is certainly easier for an employer to go out on the web and finds lots of stuff about a programmer, on forums or open source. But if that doesn’t lead to better programmers, then it’s a false positive and better left alone.

    Where does coding skill figure into all of this? Supposedly the most important, and yet someone with informative forum posts could be coming in over someone with more talent, but with a family life.


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