Sep 7, 2022

The complete Ruby career roadmap

Eliza Power
6 minutes

The first step to growing your career is identifying what you want. Are you a mid-level developer seeking to move to senior level? Do you want a new challenge in your daily role? Or are you looking for a complete career change?

It’s very easy to get too comfortable at work, particularly after a long period of time in a role, leaving you ‘stuck in a rut, unable to move on to your next opportunity. This can undermine your confidence, and reduce your ambition.

What is the trick to avoiding career stagnancy? Build your career roadmap!

This week, we’re discussing all things Ruby – namely, how you can rise through the ranks to land a senior-level Ruby or Rails role!

What is Ruby?

When it comes to programming languages, there are plenty to choose from, from Python to C# and beyond. But if you’re looking to develop applications quickly, with clean and easy-to-understand code, Ruby is the language for you.

Ruby is an open-source scripting language, invented in the mid-90s by Yukihiro Matsumoto. Matsumoto created Ruby to leverage object-oriented programming and increase code reuse to help speed up development, using simple language and syntax to handle data and logic to solve problems.

Ruby is great choice for building and developing desktop applications, data processing services, static websites, and automation tools. It’s an essential tool for web servers, DevOps, and web scraping and crawling. When combined with Rails, you can create even more, especially database-driven web applications.

From Ruby to Rails

Ruby is a programming language, while Ruby on Rails (or simply Rails) is a web application framework – a collection of pre-written code that simplifies website building. Rails extends the Ruby language and solves everyday problems, ensuring ease of use when building applications and websites.

The general rule of thumb is to ensure you’ve mastered Ruby before you consider adding Rails to your toolbox. Rails offers great solutions out of the box; but when you face more serious issues, you’ll have to struggle with the Ruby code. Ruby on Rails is also an essential skill for a progressive career as it is open source.

The popularity and demand for Ruby on Rails is growing. Ruby and RoR are fast becoming the most popular Web application frameworks, with companies like GitHub, eBay, and Twitter capitalizing on the Ruby on Rails framework. Even smaller organizations are expected to join the long list of Ruby on Rails enthusiasts, seeking skilled Ruby and ROR developers to join their ranks.

Ruby pays!

As the need for talented Ruby on Rails technologists continues to grow, developers with Ruby experience are profiting significantly. Indeed noted that the average salary for Ruby on Rails is 86% higher than the average salary for all job postings nationwide.

And according to the 2022 Stack Overflow report, Ruby is 5th on the list of top-paying programming languages – so it literally pays to embrace Ruby.

The Traditional Ruby/Rails career path

career path for a ror developer

From Junior to Senior
Once you’ve mastered Ruby and RoR, it’s time to level up. Senior Ruby/RoR developers generally have over five years of experience in the field. And while they’ve sharpened their programming language proficiency, they should have also honed their interpersonal skills, technical project management skills, and architecting skills.

The number of years of experience working as a developer can make all the difference to your success as a Senior Ruby Developer. The longer you’ve spent on Ruby or Rails projects, the more challenges you’re likely to have faced. And the more challenges you face, the more you can hone your skills and ensure you’re prepared to provide the right solutions. Long-term experience with Ruby and Rails will also equip you with innovative, skilled ways to approach new projects and ensure efficiency.

As a Senior Ruby/ Rails Developer, you should develop a keen knowledge of Ruby Metaprogramming, database modeling, monitoring skills, and planning and estimation. It’s also essential to sharpen your analytical capabilities, particularly in identifying memory and performance issues.

What roles are out there?

For a skilled, senior developer with Ruby and Rails expertise, there are several career path options available, including:

  • Senior Ruby Developer
  • Senior Ruby on Rails Developer
  • Senior JavaScript Web Developer
  • Senior Rails Developer
  • Senior Full Stack Developer
  • Senior Software Engineer

And according to Pluralsight, the highest-paying Ruby and Rails job titles are:

  • Ruby Engineer
  • Senior Ruby on Rails Engineer
  • Full Stack Ruby Developer
  • Senior Ruby Developer
  • Full Stack Ruby on Rails Developer

Do you need a degree?
According to Zippia,, 75.4% of Ruby developers have bachelor’s degrees. A degree in a related field, such as Computer Science or Software Engineering, can be beneficial and help you build the foundations for your career. However, it isn’t essential – you still need to learn the framework. Expertise and experience in Ruby and Rails are key to successfully building a career in Ruby and Rails.

Where can you work?
As we mentioned, some of the world’s most innovative organizations desperately seek Senior Ruby and RoR developers to revitalize their web applications and beyond. GitHub, one of the most popular software hosting services with a huge open-source library, relies on RoR applications to process large numbers of requests quickly and efficiently. In fact, Ruby on Rails accounts for most of GitHub’s code.

Ideamotive have recommended the top 50 companies who use Ruby/Rails – check out their list here.


Senior Ruby/Rails Developer responsibilities can change daily depending on the project you’re working on. However, some responsibilities can include:

  • Performing coding assignments.
  • Designing and building clean, efficient Ruby on Rails code
  • Working with libraries such as RSpec and Resque
  • Building databases
  • Integrating multiple data sources and databases into one system
  • Collaborating with project managers, front-end developers, designers and other stakeholders across each stage of project life cycle
  • Reviewing code work for accuracy and functionality.
  • Creating and implementing design plans.
  • Analyzing code segments regularly.
  • Keeping up-to-date with industry trends and technology developments.

Skills, skills, skills

To level up your career in Ruby/Rail development, you’ll need to hone your skills in other areas, especially when it comes to programming and coding. Focusing on syntax knowledge for Ruby and object-oriented programming skills for Ruby on Rails is essential, and it’s also beneficial to have a working knowledge of the model view controller (MVC) framework, REST APIs, and active record.

As a Senior Ruby/Rails developer, you’ll work with a database, which can include SQL, MySQL, and PostgreSQL.

Here are some examples of must-have tech skills/databases for Senior Ruby/Rails developers:

  1. Syntax: You’ll need to write some basic language including: loops, conditional statements, classes, modules, etc.
  2. OOP Programming: As you’ll work with object-oriented programming, you need to know some of the concepts of OOP in Ruby, such as classes, objects, inheritance versus composition, blocks, and module expansion.
  3. MVC Pattern: As mentioned above, MVC is a structure of the Ruby on Rails framework. You need to know what each layer is responsible for and how you can organize your program to know where each section is located and what it looks like.
  4. ERB / ​​Haml: Two of the most common formatting/viewing systems.
  5. Test unit with RSpec: Testing is a common approach for projects built with Ruby/Rails.
  6. API + JSON
  7. HTTP and REST protocol
  8. HTML5
  9. JavaScript
  10. CSS
  11. SQL Basics
  12. MySQL / PostgreSQL, two common database engines.
  13. Git: This is an essential tool for managing code and helps when creating a new directory.
  14. Project / Management Tools: Trello, Asana, Pivotal, GitHub and many more.

Aside from the ‘tech stuff’ there are other areas where you should consider developing your expertise – particularly when it comes to interpersonal skills.

Senior developer roles demand elements of leadership, project management, and the ability to present to high-level management and manage expectations from clients and stakeholders. You also need to excel at time management, avoid burnout and embrace collaboration!

At Andela, we’ve already created some blog resources to help you perfect these interpersonal skills!

Discover how to master time management

Read these tips to avoid burnout

Learn the importance of collaboration

You’ll need to master additional management skills when leveling up your Senior Ruby/Rails Developer career:

Leadership: Communication, collaboration, and responsibility

As a Senior Ruby/Rails Developer, you need to be a great leader, taking responsibility for the entire lifecycle process of a project, from start to delivery. You’ll be collaborating across teams to ensure the successful rollout of your projects, which requires excellent communication skills, patience, and the ability to be open-minded to feedback, criticism, and input.

You may even be required to form and manage your team, assigning tasks and monitoring performance.

As a Senior Ruby/Rails Developer, your team will rely on you to guide a project’s journey. By sharing your knowledge and experience with your team, you’ll offer them something essential to their career development – mentoring. By sharing your expertise and experience, you’ll ensure your team can work seamlessly together while helping your teammates hone their skills.

Decision-making and problem-solving

As your team’s leader, you’ll be responsible for making important decisions to plan and execute a project, from choosing the technologies to use and indicating and sourcing the resources needed to finalize the project. An eye for detail is essential, as is the foresight to consider and predict any challenges before encountering problems.

Senior Ruby/Rails developers must be adept at identifying risks, taking particular notice of design patterns and problems evolving throughout a project’s progress.

We hope this Ruby/Rails career roadmap inspired you to take the next step in your career.

Are you interested in learning more about Ruby and Rails? Then check out our Andela Learning Community.

Looking for a new Ruby based role? Find out how Andela can partner with you to help you grow your career.

Want to be part of the Andela Community? Then join the Andela Talent Network!

With more than 175,000 technologists in our community, in over 90 countries, we’re committed to creating diverse remote engineering teams with the world’s top talent. And our network members enjoy being part of a talented community, through activities, benefits, collaboration, and virtual and in-person meetups.

All you need to do to join the Andela Talent Network is to follow our simple sign-up process.

Submit your details via our online application then…

Complete an English fluency test – 15 minutes.

Complete a technical assessment on your chosen skill (Python, Golang, etc.) – 1 hour.

Meet with one of our Senior Developers for a technical interview – 1 hour.

Visit the Andela Talent Network sign-up page to find out more.

If you found this blog useful, check out our other blog posts for more essential insights!

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