Jared Nuzzolillo said:
> Hello list. I am in the process of starting a new business venture in
> South Florida.
[snip]
> I would LOVE to use Ruby for this new venture; the agility and
> efficiency it will provide will be vital to our success. But, my
> biggest fear is that, when I need to hire help (probably two more
> programmers in the next six to eight months), I will be unable to find
> experienced Ruby practitioners. I am familiar with the "Python
> Paradox" and I agree with the concepts behind it, I am just wildly
> ignorant of the market conditions down here in South Florida.

I suspect I'm one of the few Ruby programmers in South Florida, at least
of the "old guard", i.e. before the recent growth we have seen from Rails.
Back in 2001 when I went to the first RubyConf, I think I was the only
person who drove (it was in Tampa, FL.) Someone did start a South Florida
Ruby Meetup Group (on meetup.com) at some point (with just himself as a
member when I saw it), but it seems to be gone now. I think that person
was in Ft Lauderdale (I live in Boynton Beach, near West Palm Beach.)

One interesting note is that despite me learning about Ruby in 2001, I'm
still doing Java professionally (though I hope to change that soon.) There
just weren't Ruby jobs before the recent growth we have had (which is
mostly thanks to Rails.) So you must consider the chicken and egg sort of
problem we have here: until there are a good selection of Ruby jobs, there
won't be a good selection of Ruby programmers. There just aren't that many
hobbyists like myself who will become skilled with something like Ruby
just for fun (and even in my case I had a few years where I pretty much
dropped out of the Ruby community.)

Anyhow, unless some people speak up on this list who also live here, I
think the South Florida Ruby programmer population is pretty small. But
despite that, I still think you are on the right track in wanting to use
Ruby, even if the local population of programmers is small. I think being
an early adopter is an advantage in this case, and either way you can help
solve that chicken and egg problem I mentioned above.

> Most likely, I would have to have on-site programmers (I don't know
> that I would have success in convincing my partners otherwise). When I
> start searching for help in six to eight months, will I be able to
> find two or more programmers in a timely manner (say, a month or so
> from when I begin searching)? Have you had trouble finding Ruby
> programmers? Have you had any luck enticing ruby hackers to relocate
> to your area?

While it is certainly nice to have local talent, I think telecommuting is
perfectly fine, especially if Ruby is the main development language. So as
others have said, I would try to sell that to your partners.

Hmmm, if you have a six to eight month time frame, maybe is now the time
for me to start teaching some South Florida Ruby seminars, hehehe. I could
get you some nicely trained Ruby programmers if I did that :)

Regarding relocating, the problem we have with this area is partially the
whole hurricane thing, like Phil Thompson mentioned, but more importantly
is the cost of housing. As you probably know it has been skyrocketing,
which can make people hesitant to move unless they are coming from even
more expensive markets. If a software developer making a good salary can
barely afford a house, something is wrong, but that is a entire different
discussion which I won't go into here.

Finally as Daniel Nugent mentioned, any good programmer should be able to
pick up a new language fairly quickly, and I think Ruby in particular is
pretty easy to pick up.

So, to conclude, I would recommend continuing with your plan to use Ruby,
as the potential problems with that are all quite solvable.

Ryan