In article <cae1c428ad4058f303e959b986154943 / fhwang.net>,
Francis Hwang  <sera / fhwang.net> wrote:
>Hi Phil,
>
>I'm an atypical employer, but I'm an employer nonetheless: A few weeks 
>back I posted on Craigslist for a Ruby consulting gig in NYC. This is 
>the second time I've done this, and what strikes me is that the vast 
>majority of emails I got were entirely worthless.
>
>Beyond the spam resumes--literally, I got some emails from people 
>claiming to be the perfect candidate for my investment bank, even 
>though I actually work at an arts-non-profit--I got a lot of 
>half-hearted, cover-your-ass type resumes that didn't give me any 
>passion at all about the job.
>
>If you want to get paid to write Ruby, you should understand that Ruby 
>is not now, and it may never be, the mainstream. That's okay, 
>statistically speaking, because there are millions of jobs in 
>computing, and you only need one of them. But because of that minority 
>position, you will be aiming for minority hirers.
>
>People looking to hire in Ruby are much more likely to be risk-takers 
>themselves. Where some managers are only trying to not get fired, the 
>people hiring for Ruby jobs are more likely to be playing to win. And 
>they are likely to respect and trust other people with similar 
>attitudes. This is what I've looked for when I've scanned the 
>applicants I've received, and it's served me well so far.
>
>So, specifically: Don't be afraid to be passionate in your opinions, as 
>long as you don't go so far as to be dogmatic about them. The middle 
>manager hiring the 120th Java employee at his investment bank probably 
>doesn't care about your opinions, but the founder of a four-person firm 
>which uses Ruby does. He understands that if you use Ruby you enter an 
>area where lots of change is happening all the time, and he will not 
>care as much about your certifications as your sensibilities--because 
>as the landscape changes in six months, it's your sensibilities that 
>will help make decisions.
>
>Of course, opinions should be founded on experience, and if you don't 
>have a Ruby job, it's hard to get Ruby experience. So you should go out 
>and get it on your own. User groups are one way to do this, free 
>software projects are, too. Pick a pet project--by yourself or with 
>others--and start building. If that's a web programming project, fine, 
>but it doesn't have to be. It should be something you are excited 
>about, though. So that when you get a job interview for a Ruby job, and 
>your prospective employer asks you about your Ruby experience, you can 
>say "Well we don't use Ruby at my current job, but in my spare time 
>I've been doing such-and-such-a-program with Ruby, and trying out 
>such-and-such-a-framework and it mostly helps, though it lacks 
>such-and-such-a-feature but maybe that'll be taken care of when the 
>next version comes out, which is supposed to be in about three months." 
>That answer will come quite naturally if you've been engaged in a 
>project you care about, as opposed to something you simply treat as 
>homework.
>
>Basically: Ruby employers want somebody who is not just experienced, 
>but passionate as well. So figure out what exactly about Ruby makes you 
>passionate, find a concrete way to turn that passion into experience, 
>and go out and sell that passion and experience to somebody. 
>Eventually, some employer will give you a chance.
>

Good advice.

Actually I have quite a bit of Ruby experience (including some paid 
gigs - but currenly I'm between gigs).  I was once nearly fired for using 
Ruby on a project even (wow, that's almost exactly four years ago now 
;-).  I ended up leaving before they could do that because I realized I 
needed be be with a more forward-thinking organization.  Now, 
interestingly enough, Ruby has managed to infiltrate that same organization 
from other directions - so I was just a bit ahead of my time.  Ruby 
definately seems more mainstream than it was 4 years ago and perhaps even 
a bit less 'risky'.

My question was more related to web programming: I have no web 
programming experience, but I do have Ruby experience.

Phil