What Employers Are Looking For in a Junior Rails Developer

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Businesswoman interviewing man on Picspree

If you think those same old attributes of willingness to work, working hard and staying motivated are all the ones you need, think again. These days, employers are looking for the job-seeker in slightly different ways. It’s the technical side of the position that is of increasing interest.

The Junior Rails Developer should be experienced and have at least a cursory familiarity with the Rails Guides.  While experience is obvious, more specific knowledge includes the following:

  • Models, Controllers, and Views
  • Routing
  • ActiveRecord validations, callbacks, and associations
  • Layouts
  • Bundler and Gem installation
  • Debugging skills
  • The ability to read the documentation

When learned together, Ruby and Ruby Rails can present difficult challenges in maintaining their own identities.  It can often be confusing when working on both at the same time.  That’s why it’s important to present a working knowledge of such peripheral technologies as:

  • Ruby
  • Linus administration
  • JavaScript

(As an aside, it’s important to remember that Ruby’s coding style and syntax are very loose, and coders should follow a consistent style.)


It’s rare for a job to involve only Ruby.  Therefore, it’s important to know both HTML and CSS.


JavaScript is important to a Rails developer. Applicants with a knowledge of such JavaScript frameworks as Backbone, Ember, and Angular will be ahead of the hiring game. These frameworks should be familiar as valuable alternatives to the popular jQuery.


There’s a database race going on and applicants looking for a junior director job should be aware of it.  Although NOSQL is gaining in popularity, MySQL is still the industry leader.  Also in the run is Postgres.  There’s a reason the LAMP stack includes MySQL.

Unit Testing

If you’re attempting to fix code you wrote weeks or months ago, it’s not a bad idea to be familiar with unit testing.  It’s difficult to learn when coupled with learning Ruby, but well worth the effort when applying for jobs.


Testing tools are a must within the Ruby community, and many have adopted RSpec for clarity and ease of use.  Although not included in the default Rails stack, it’s showing up in more job postings include it.


Git is the go-to version-control system.  While others, such as Mercurial and Subversion are in use, a Ruby Rails director needs to know Git.

Linux Administration

The coder who wants to write programs that help control the infrastructure of an application has to know the Linux system.  A junior developer must know how it’s laid out, how to navigate within it, and how to install and troubleshoot the software issues.

Agile Methodology

Other than real-life experience in an agile environment, reading (and, lots of it) is necessary to learn the different ways companies practice agile development.  It’s a tough spot for applicants who have not had the experience, but the question is coming up in more and more interviews.


When applying for a junior Rails developer, be prepared to offer more talent that simply knowing how to code!