Freelance Developer using Rails

Hi all,

    Is anyone doing freelance rails development? I need some advice
before I jump in.

Thanks,

Yes

Me too! I predominately work for one client but if I can help would be glad to.

Yes also.

Not sure what sort of advice you’re looking for, but Mike Gunderloy’s “Rails Freelancing Handbook” is a good read. Much of it would apply to any freelancing. Also, it’s only $9.95. http://www.railsfreelancebook.com

Phil

   Is anyone doing freelance rails development? I need some advice
before I jump in.

Lots of us are... You might also find this group useful (it's pretty quiet these days though, but some good stuff in the archives)

http://groups.google.com/group/rails-business

Is there enough business for one man operations out there?

That's great news to me! I just want to know what kind of skill sets
it takes to make a living at it. And is there enough business out
there for freelancers?

There is a *huge* amount of business out there. I do Java, Groovy/Grails, C#, ColdFusion and Python and I'm pretty well known in the Groovy and Java communities as I speak at a bunch of conferences, but these days most of my projects are in Ruby/Rails and I'm turning down projects on a regular basis.

It always helps if you have good client communication skills, know agile processes (kanban, scrum, lean, etc), understand best practices for requirements and estimation and do a good job of managing your projects. It's a real bonus if you understand architecting for scale, know about NoSQL data stores, and have a handle on writing APIs for mobile and are at least proficient with jQuery, CSS and HTML5. It's nice if you have a good testing story and are comfortable with cucumber, capybara, factory_girl, rspec and vcr with fakeweb, and you want to be competent with the really common gems - Devise, Cancan, OmniAuth, Paperclip, etc. And ideally you'll have a craftsmans feel for good naming, separation of concerns, open/closed classes and API design.

But honestly, if you've finished Rails for Zombies, don't swear at your clients (unless they deserve it :slight_smile: ) and can almost hold a conversation you'll probably be overloaded with work.

Best Wishes,
Peter

Hi Peter,

     I have some experience with Cucumber but I prefer RSpec/Capybara.
I have played with OmniAuth and Devise a bit. I like Mongoid and
MongoDB for No SQL schema less data store. I know some JQuery, CSS,
and HTML5. I am very good with Ruby, Git and Linux in general. I was
wondering if you can throw me a bone :). I am willing to work for you
part time at no cost in order to get real rails experience. Once I
prove my worthiness then you may like to subcontract part of your
projects to me. Once we have a solid business relationship then I will
dump my day job and work with you full time. In any case I appreciate
your detailed input. It was a pleasure conversing with you. I wish you
more success.

Thanks so much,
Alex

Hi all,

I am VP Technology of a Germany based dating portal and I can assure
you there is quite some need for Ruby / Rails / Sinatra / Front-End
technologies developer here in Germany. RoR is still seen as "emerging
technology" - but quite some recently launched portals utilize RoR
technologies (at least we do).

I am actually also looking for RoR / Sinatra and Front-End technology
specialists willing to come over for a (minimum) 3 month project to
Munich. We work agile, following SCRUM paradigms, have just recently
launched a portal and need further assistance to support us there.

So, if anybody is interested - let me know!
https://www.xing.com/profile/Michael_Maretzke

With best regards,
Michael.

Hi all,

I am VP Technology of a Germany based dating portal. We just recently
launched our latest product in this space on RoR technologies (RoR 3.0
- JRuby - mongoDB). What I see here in Germany is quite some portals -
recently launched - utilizing technologies like Ruby / Sinatra /
Rails. Hence it's acutally quite difficult to find experts in this
domain.

I am actually looking for 2 Ruby / Sinatra developers for an API
project and another Front-End specialist with deep knowledge of
HTML5 / jQuery / CSS3 for the dating portal site.

If you know anybody willing to work in Munich on site for at least 3
month time period - let me know. We work agile, with interdisciplinary
teams, follow the SCRUM rule book. Interested? Get in touch:
https://www.xing.com/profile/Michael_Maretzke

With best regards,
Michael.

Is there enough business for one man operations out there?

There is a huge amount of business out there. I do Java, Groovy/Grails, C#, ColdFusion and Python and I’m pretty well known in the Groovy and Java communities as I speak at a bunch of conferences, but these days most of my projects are in Ruby/Rails and I’m turning down projects on a regular basis.

It always helps if you have good client communication skills, know agile processes (kanban, scrum, lean, etc), understand best practices for requirements and estimation and do a good job of managing your projects. It’s a real bonus if you understand architecting for scale, know about NoSQL data stores, and have a handle on writing APIs for mobile and are at least proficient with jQuery, CSS and HTML5. It’s nice if you have a good testing story and are comfortable with cucumber, capybara, factory_girl, rspec and vcr with fakeweb, and you want to be competent with the really common gems - Devise, Cancan, OmniAuth, Paperclip, etc. And ideally you’ll have a craftsmans feel for good naming, separation of concerns, open/closed classes and API design.

But honestly, if you’ve finished Rails for Zombies, don’t swear at your clients (unless they deserve it :slight_smile: ) and can almost hold a conversation you’ll probably be overloaded with work.

I am curious what others are doing to market themselves… personally the bulk of my work or inquiries comes from a past employer as well as just people I meet by ‘chance’, that so I dont really have a strategy, it has just happened. And maybe that is just it for me is that I just go with the flow and who is in front of me. Interested if others are more focused or strategy driven in this respect?

I focus on the positioning I want. I started off doing a lot with DSLs (external and internal) and Software Product Lines so I presented at conferences like ooPSLA, the DSM Forum, Practical Product Lines, etc. Now my focus in more on NoSQL (I just wrote a DZone Refcard which is being published this month), agile architecture, requirements and estimating and scalable architectures (writing something for IBM developer works on architecting cloud apps and doing a presentation at a local Domain Driven Design meetup on event sourcing).

I also present at language specific conferences - mainly Groovy and some ColdFusion. I write for IEEE Software, Dr Dobbs, GroovyMag, Methods and Tools, and present at enterprise JVM conferences like the No Fluff Just Stuff tour and SpringOne2GX.

I also presented recently at a startup school and a CTO school for devs who wanted to make the jump to CTO (I’ve been both). I’m planning on doing more presentations (esp on requirements and estimating) to local design meetups, and I’ve involved in a bunch of local meetups (Grails, Ruby, various NoSQL meetups, etc). Also whenever I go to a town (Boulder, Boston, etc) I try to fit in a presentation at a local meetup.

The best ROI is from presenting in the startup and design community, but by presenting to and with developers it forces me to keep upping my game. I really need to get back into contributing to OSS software (my github sucks) but a lot of my clients haven’t seen the OSS light. Luckily I have enough credibility from what I say and I can always show code samples (and results :slight_smile: ).

Truth be told I don’t really have any spare capacity, but the quality of jobs I get to turn down continues to improve, and I keep learning from really smart people which is a blast. I also get to continue to test higher hourly rates given that I don’t have 80 hours a week to bill (I try to keep at 25 billable hours, working around 50 which gives me time to continue learning and writing/presenting).

Best Wishes,

Peter