Rails developers make $100/hr on average according to Obie Fernandez ?

I found this blog where Obie says the average Rails developer makes
$100/hr:
http://blog.obiefernandez.com/content/2008/01/zed-is-wrong-ra.html

"Most Rails developers worth their salt are contracting, simply
because it is very lucrative right now. Rates for premium Rails talent
is now in the neighborhood of $200/hour and continuing to climb.
Average Rails talent costs at least $100/hour."

Is that really true ?

I couldn't find a Rails jobs back in late 2006 - early 2007 so I
accepted a different position, but I love Rails. I'm a talented
developer and have done a bunch of Rails stuff, I'm not as strong in
Javascript/CSS. I have an extensive background in C++ and a degree in
computer science. I like to work flexible hours, have at least 5 weeks
of vacation and I'm not into working crazy hours, though I did do a
short Rails project at work and found myself getting up at 6:00 AM to
write code, something I never would do if it was PHP. If someone is
interested in talking to me, drop me a line. I have been doing PHP and
similar as of late.

I found this blog where Obie says the average Rails developer makes
$100/hr:
http://blog.obiefernandez.com/content/2008/01/zed-is-wrong-ra.html

"Most Rails developers worth their salt are contracting, simply
because it is very lucrative right now. Rates for premium Rails talent
is now in the neighborhood of $200/hour and continuing to climb.
Average Rails talent costs at least $100/hour."

Is that really true ?

First off, I am not a contractor. I have my reasons:

- I'm risk-averse in general
- I need group health insurance (due to preexisting conditions that make
  individual health insurance prohibitively expensive, not to mention
  intending to have kids in the foreseeable future)
- I like working in an office environment rather than at home
- I like working with and learning from other developers (partly to avoid
  an echo chamber effect)
- I recognize my strengths and weaknesses and would prefer that other
  people do the graphic design, interacting with and finding clients,
  chasing down payment/billing, systems administration, etc. while I design
  and code the functionality
- I like a 40-hour work week and paid vacation

That said, to get the equivalent standard of living to my salary plus
benefits (plus office space, site hosting, etc.) as a contractor I would be
asking somewhere near (or above?) the high end of $100-$200 per hour. I
don't Obie's numbers are far off.

I couldn't find a Rails jobs back in late 2006 - early 2007 so I
accepted a different position, but I love Rails. I'm a talented
developer and have done a bunch of Rails stuff, I'm not as strong in
Javascript/CSS. I have an extensive background in C++ and a degree in
computer science. I like to work flexible hours, have at least 5 weeks
of vacation and I'm not into working crazy hours, though I did do a
short Rails project at work and found myself getting up at 6:00 AM to
write code, something I never would do if it was PHP. If someone is
interested in talking to me, drop me a line. I have been doing PHP and
similar as of late.

Nope, sorry, the PHP has poisoned your mind. No job for you :smiley:

--Greg

I can confirm that for contracting rails developers at least the few I
am familiar with, the average for them is somewhere between 60-100/hr
for a skilled rails developer.

First off, I am not a contractor. I have my reasons:

- I'm risk-averse in general
- I need group health insurance (due to preexisting conditions that make
  individual health insurance prohibitively expensive, not to mention
  intending to have kids in the foreseeable future)
- I like working in an office environment rather than at home

- I like working with and learning from other developers (partly to avoid
  an echo chamber effect)
- I recognize my strengths and weaknesses and would prefer that other
  people do the graphic design, interacting with and finding clients,
  chasing down payment/billing, systems administration, etc. while I design
  and code the functionality

Some contract jobs are similar to office jobs, but anyway ...

That said, to get the equivalent standard of living to my salary plus
benefits (plus office space, site hosting, etc.) as a contractor I would be
asking somewhere near (or above?) the high end of $100-$200 per hour. I
don't Obie's numbers are far off.

It seems high to me, but if that's true it's good to hear.

Say you are paid $100/hour ..

If you work 35 hours a week for 45 weeks out of the year with 7 weeks
off, according to my calculation that is $157,000 and for $200/hr that
would be over $300,000/year

I found a chart that said the average Rails salary is 85k which
sounds more typical ..

The upside to freelancing is you get to pick and choose and that you have a good degree of freedom with respect to where and when you work. The downside is that you are seldom fully employed. Because I can only bill the hours I work and not the time my client is sitting on his butt trying to make decisions, coming up with budgets, and all that crap, I bill a lot fewer hours than 35 per week. But assuming I am massively multiprocessing and can run numerous jobs simultaneously at over $100/hour, there is a potential for real cash there.

Oh, yeah. In the off time when my hands are not on the keyboard working on client code, what I'm supposed to be doing is looking for other work (but as someone pointed out earlier in this thread, that's not all that much fun).

You can't directly compare a "salary" to consulting hourly rates.

As an independent I...
  ... pay my own business and medical insurance
  ... contribute to my 401(k)
  ... pay my own self-employment taxed (i.e., the part of Social Security and Medicare that your employer typically pays)
  ... handle my own billing (which isn't itself a billable activity)
  ... decide for myself what conferences to attend, books to buy, etc.
  ... work with subcontractors (and generate Forms 1099-MISC at year-end)

I tend to invoice an average of 25 hours per week. Would I like that to be higher? Sure, but it's just not realistic. Do I have an occasional 40+ hour week? Yes, but rarely :wink: and I bill for every hour -- most developers on a salary are probably not getting any "overtime" if they put in more than 40 hours. (But I'll contend that the average salaried employee doesn't really have 40 *productive* hours per week anyway.)

Oh, and my annual revenue is well above your "average Rails salary" (even after business deductions).

Being independent certainly isn't for everyone for many of the reasons previously given, but if the entire industry was made up of independents, there'd likely be a lot of those who'd have to find another profession. Some people just aren't good enough to survive for long on their own merits.

-Rob

Rob Biedenharn http://agileconsultingllc.com
Rob@AgileConsultingLLC.com

Are you an expert in all areas of web development - CSS, JavaScript,
Flash, etc ?

I found a salaried position at company that gives me alot of
flexibility. I hope that eventually Rails will catch on with them, but
they mostly do Java and PHP currently.

  If I ever got laid off, I would definitely try to focus on Rails. I
would be happy to work as a Rails contractor even if I had to start
out at less than ideal jobs. The only thing is that I seem to prefer
complex back end programming. I used to support complex C++ apps. Alot
of web development seems more content oriented, which doesn't always
appeal to me quite as much.

First off, I am not a contractor. I have my reasons:

- I'm risk-averse in general
- I need group health insurance (due to preexisting conditions that
make
individual health insurance prohibitively expensive, not to mention
intending to have kids in the foreseeable future)
- I like working in an office environment rather than at home

- I like working with and learning from other developers (partly to
avoid
an echo chamber effect)
- I recognize my strengths and weaknesses and would prefer that other
people do the graphic design, interacting with and finding clients,
chasing down payment/billing, systems administration, etc. while I
design
and code the functionality

Some contract jobs are similar to office jobs, but anyway ...

That said, to get the equivalent standard of living to my salary plus
benefits (plus office space, site hosting, etc.) as a contractor I
would be
asking somewhere near (or above?) the high end of $100-$200 per
hour. I
don't Obie's numbers are far off.

It seems high to me, but if that's true it's good to hear.

Say you are paid $100/hour ..

If you work 35 hours a week for 45 weeks out of the year with 7 weeks
off, according to my calculation that is $157,000 and for $200/hr that
would be over $300,000/year

I found a chart that said the average Rails salary is 85k which
sounds more typical ..

You can't directly compare a "salary" to consulting hourly rates.

As an independent I...
... pay my own business and medical insurance
... contribute to my 401(k)
... pay my own self-employment taxed (i.e., the part of Social
Security and Medicare that your employer typically pays)
... handle my own billing (which isn't itself a billable activity)
... decide for myself what conferences to attend, books to buy, etc.
... work with subcontractors (and generate Forms 1099-MISC at year-
end)

I tend to invoice an average of 25 hours per week. Would I like that
to be higher? Sure, but it's just not realistic. Do I have an
occasional 40+ hour week? Yes, but rarely :wink: and I bill for every
hour -- most developers on a salary are probably not getting any
"overtime" if they put in more than 40 hours. (But I'll contend that
the average salaried employee doesn't really have 40 *productive*
hours per week anyway.)

Oh, and my annual revenue is well above your "average Rails
salary" (even after business deductions).

Being independent certainly isn't for everyone for many of the reasons
previously given, but if the entire industry was made up of
independents, there'd likely be a lot of those who'd have to find
another profession. Some people just aren't good enough to survive
for long on their own merits.

Are you an expert in all areas of web development - CSS, JavaScript,
Flash, etc ?

CSS - Above Average, but not an expert

JavaScript - Above Average, but that's all you need with Prototype and Scriptaculous thrown in (and I've done some modifications down at that level)

Flash - Nope! So far this hasn't been a problem as a designer has been involved if this was needed (wanted), but I'm sure I could pick it up when the need presents itself.

SQL - you didn't ask, but I'd say I'm about as close to an expert as one can get without focusing his efforts on the database

I found a salaried position at company that gives me alot of
flexibility. I hope that eventually Rails will catch on with them, but
they mostly do Java and PHP currently.

If I ever got laid off, I would definitely try to focus on Rails. I
would be happy to work as a Rails contractor even if I had to start
out at less than ideal jobs. The only thing is that I seem to prefer
complex back end programming. I used to support complex C++ apps. Alot
of web development seems more content oriented, which doesn't always
appeal to me quite as much.

Even the jobs that seem like there won't be much in the back-end always end up more complex that you would have predicted. :wink:

-Rob

Rob Biedenharn http://agileconsultingllc.com
Rob@AgileConsultingLLC.com

First off, I am not a contractor. I have my reasons:

- I'm risk-averse in general
- I need group health insurance (due to preexisting conditions that
make
individual health insurance prohibitively expensive, not to mention
intending to have kids in the foreseeable future)
- I like working in an office environment rather than at home

- I like working with and learning from other developers (partly to
avoid
an echo chamber effect)
- I recognize my strengths and weaknesses and would prefer that other
people do the graphic design, interacting with and finding clients,
chasing down payment/billing, systems administration, etc. while I
design
and code the functionality

Some contract jobs are similar to office jobs, but anyway ...

That said, to get the equivalent standard of living to my salary plus
benefits (plus office space, site hosting, etc.) as a contractor I
would be
asking somewhere near (or above?) the high end of $100-$200 per
hour. I
don't Obie's numbers are far off.

It seems high to me, but if that's true it's good to hear.

Say you are paid $100/hour ..

If you work 35 hours a week for 45 weeks out of the year with 7 weeks
off, according to my calculation that is $157,000 and for $200/hr that
would be over $300,000/year

I found a chart that said the average Rails salary is 85k which
sounds more typical ..

Yes but remember salary and contractor rates are totally different in
an industry.....you cant compare the two.
$100+ an hour sounds about right.

Hopefully if I ever had another go of it I would have better luck
finding Rails work. I came from a C++ background and tried to teach
myself Ruby and Rails. I came up with a complex project that had a lot
of backend processing because I felt I wanted to learn Ruby as much as
Rails and alot of Rails stuff didn't really touch on the Ruby language
that much judging from the Rails books I was using. When I tried to
get a job, no one was impressed with my project that I never finished
and I had no real web development on my resume. I know have 1 year of
web development using CSS/PHP/JavaScript and some Java

wbsurfver@yahoo.com wrote:

"Most Rails developers worth their salt are contracting, simply
because it is very lucrative right now. Rates for premium Rails talent
is now in the neighborhood of $200/hour and continuing to climb.
Average Rails talent costs at least $100/hour."

It really saddens me to discover that I'm not "worth my salt". I spent
my first "competent" year as a Rails developer (after 20 odd years of
other software engineering) working for $50/hr. Not an expert, but able
to do all the different parts and make it come out well.

Recently I started looking for my next gig (first major one was a
startup that kept me in beer money for a whole year). I was determined
to make more per hour this time, but kept watching interested parties
loose interest after they had asked for and gotten my rate. Was that
the reason? Who knows.

Within 48 hours of deciding to continue on at $50/hr, a new contract
dropped in my lap. Would they have said yes to more? Maybe, maybe not.

$100/hour sounds nice, and maybe those that are getting it really can
type twice as fast as me and have it mean something. I don't think I'll
be getting there any time soon...here in the real world.

cheers,
jp

"Most Rails developers worth their salt are contracting, simply
because it is very lucrative right now. Rates for premium Rails
talent
is now in the neighborhood of $200/hour and continuing to climb.
Average Rails talent costs at least $100/hour."

It really saddens me to discover that I'm not "worth my salt". I
spent
my first "competent" year as a Rails developer (after 20 odd years of
other software engineering) working for $50/hr. Not an expert, but
able
to do all the different parts and make it come out well.

Recently I started looking for my next gig (first major one was a
startup that kept me in beer money for a whole year). I was
determined
to make more per hour this time, but kept watching interested parties
loose interest after they had asked for and gotten my rate. Was that
the reason? Who knows.

Within 48 hours of deciding to continue on at $50/hr, a new contract
dropped in my lap. Would they have said yes to more? Maybe, maybe
not.

$100/hour sounds nice, and maybe those that are getting it really can
type twice as fast as me and have it mean something. I don't think
I'll
be getting there any time soon...here in the real world.

cheers,
jp

jp its like anything......you can do the same job and get $1 per hour
or $100 per hour......the only difference being who you work for, and
in the case with internet development what you work on.
In a sense the internet invented pay disparity......you are competing
with every indian who knows how to code (that is if you choose too).
I dont think this is a rails issue at all....its no different that
html or any other language in that theres always going to be some beaf
eater who will do it for a 10th of the price.
Choose your projects wisely and focus on the projects where you can
give your clients 10 x their money back by way of automating tedious
tasks etc, the price per hour then becomes irrelevant.
There is no reason at all why you cant make $100+ per hour given that
fact that a coding hour in rails is more effective than any other
language.....in this sense your already one up.

adam

jp its like anything......you can do the same job and get $1 per hour
or $100 per hour......the only difference being who you work for, and
in the case with internet development what you work on.
In a sense the internet invented pay disparity......you are competing
with every indian who knows how to code (that is if you choose too).
I dont think this is a rails issue at all....its no different that
html or any other language in that theres always going to be some beaf
eater who will do it for a 10th of the price.
Choose your projects wisely and focus on the projects where you can
give your clients 10 x their money back by way of automating tedious
tasks etc, the price per hour then becomes irrelevant.
There is no reason at all why you cant make $100+ per hour given that
fact that a coding hour in rails is more effective than any other
language.....in this sense your already one up.

adam

Honestly, anyone that's hitting over $100 is probably a bona fide
expert (as in, published or given many talks at conferences, worked on
many projects, developed a high profile product or library,
established/well known kind of expert) or exploiting their employer.
Of course, there's also a difference in employer. The (very few)
contracts that I've hit $100/hr with have been with very large clients
or the occasional startup.

No offense to you as I'm sure you're skilled and all that, but unless
you're very well known or can fetch large clients (which usually
entails from the first) I wouldn't expect $100/hr every time (maybe
occasionally, but I wouldn't start there by any means).

Of course a lot of this discussion centers on your past experience
with the particular technology (I've used MySQL for years but I don't
try to fetch pgsql consulting gigs), how well known you are (are you
going to be recommended to people? Is your resume really
impressive?), how skilled you actually with Rails (do you have code
samples? Any products you can point to? Any open source work?), how
fast you work (can you hit deadlines? Can you get things done in 3
days like Obie? ;)), who you've worked with (part of that whole well
known thing...), etc. etc.

In other words, it's just like any other industry. It takes time to
get that momentum to fetch the mega $$$.

--Jeremy

In my opinion, someone who's considered an expert at what they do is
in a totally different class then the rest of the labor pool. Rails is
a great decision for a company, what historically would take an entire
team 6 months can be done by 1-2 people in a matter of weeks, or even
days.

The savings alone is worth doubling any average hourly rate, and
hourly definitely is less than a salary when you consider the costs.

I've attempted to do some sort of conversion calculator for hourly vs.
salary:
http://chovy.dyndns.org/salary-calc/

There are probably more costs I haven't included (cost of your own
hardware, software, etc), but this should give you a rough idea.

Unfortunately not here in Brazil! :slight_smile: But that would be really sweet!

Rates here are around R$ 75-100/h, what is pretty good considering our
local life costs.

Cheers, Sazima

Sure, the local rate needs to be compared at a local level...cost of
living, etc.

Someone living in New York City has significant higher costs of living
than someone living in another part of the country.

Wow, $100/hour.

I was getting $25 at my last job.

But averages can lie. One hot shot at 300 and 5 at 60 average 100.
That said for good developers 100 has been a common rate for quite a
while in several technologies. I would say ruby an rails has a higher
caliber of developer than technologies aimed at the enterprise market.

Michael