A Guide to the Ruby on Rails Developer Salary
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A Guide to the Ruby on Rails Developer Salary

A Guide to the Ruby on Rails Developer Salary

Ruby on Rails (often abbreviated to Rails) is a popular open-source web development tool. Though the Ruby programming language has been around since 1995, its popularity and usage took off in 2004 with the introduction of Rails.

Rails makes developing websites and mobile applications easier by providing a set of Ruby-led configurations. This made Ruby accessible to a broader audience.

Imagine you're trying to build a car. Before Rails, you'd have to build the engine, exhaust, and exterior from scratch. After Rails, these same items came pre-built. Naturally, building cars became easier while still having a good level of customization.

Is Ruby on Rails popular?

There are no current traceable figures highlighting the popularity of Ruby on Rails–though (apparently) there were 300,000 professional Ruby developers as of 2019.

A report on the state of Ruby on Rails Development 2022 has strong indicators that the language is alive and kicking:

  • Over 4 million sites run on Ruby on Rails, and 400,000 in the US alone.

  • The framework has been downloaded over 130 million times.

  • Approximately 5,000 contributors on GitHub

There's no shortage of jobs–just Google "Ruby on Rails developer vacancies." Furthermore, suppose a company hires a Rails developer. In that case, it'll likely need a specialized hiring protocol and HR strategies similar to those for high-net-worth executives because such developers are in high demand.

Also–Ruby still features as one of the top 10 programming languages to learn in 2024.

So, it's safe to say Ruby on Rails is here to stay and worth a developer's time trying to understand and master.

But does it pay well? That's what this blog is about.

We'll dive deep into five factors influencing Ruby on Rails developers' salaries.

1. Experience levels

Naturally, experience levels will dictate your salary.

Taking an average salary across Zip Recruiter, talent.com, Indeed, and salary.com, here's the pay you can expect based on your experience levels:

  • Junior developer: $86,000

  • Mid-level developer: $113,000

  • Senior developer: $145,000

How long you want to remain a junior developer is up to you. You can fly through pay grades by

  1. Building a portfolio of projects that demonstrate your skills. This could be contributions to open-source or personal projects.

  2. Freelance alongside your main job (if they allow it) to build your experience

  3. Stay up to date with the latest Ruby on Rails versions and features.

  4. Take online courses, workshops, and webinars to improve your skills and remain competitive.

  5. There are a lot of Ruby on Rails forums and communities that offer insights, trends, and even job openings.

  6. Consider niching down within the Ruby on Rails universe, such as Video SDK, API development, design, performance optimization, becoming familiar with security practices such as Cloud Workload Protection Platforms (CWPP), or building scalable web applications.

  7. Keep applying for higher-paying jobs — if you don't ask, you won't get it.

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2. Complexity of project

The difficulty of a Ruby on Rails project will influence the pay of a Rails developer because it directly reflects the experience levels and skills needed to overcome technical hurdles. A small project could include creating a basic blog or a straightforward website with static pages, a contact form, and basic Create, Read, Update, Delete (CRUD) activities. These projects are ideal for a beginner Rails developer as they usually require a basic familiarity with Rails, HTML, CSS, and sometimes some JavaScript. A more difficult project would be to create an e-commerce platform that has a connection to real-time inventory tracking, payment processing integration, user authentication, complicated database linkages, a version control system, and API integrations. These kinds of projects would call on the services of an experienced Rails developer who supplements their skills with a knowledge of database management, security, and speed. Rails developers can expect to be paid more when projects are more complicated and require higher code quality.

3. Location

The location has a multifaceted impact on how much earnings an average Ruby developer will take home–because there are things like the economy, digital literacy, demand, and other considerations to make.

The following are the primary reasons location influences Ruby on Rails developers' salaries. Cost of living: Major metropolitan centers such as California (Silicon Valley), New York, and London pay more to compensate for the higher living costs. Developers in these areas get greater incomes to cover housing, transportation, and other living expenses.

The state in which a Ruby on Rails developer resides can have an influence on their salary. Cloud Devs.

The state in which a Ruby on Rails developer resides can have an influence on their salary. Cloud Devs. Local market demand: In areas with a high demand for digital expertise but a scarcity of competent developers, businesses are willing to pay extra to recruit and keep the required staff. Because of the increased demand for startups and tech enterprises, tech hubs, and cities sometimes offer higher compensation. Economic conditions: A region's general economic conditions might impact salary levels. Areas with strong, rising economies may offer higher compensation to reflect the wealth and opportunities available, whereas locations facing economic downturns may offer lower pay. Industry existence: The existence of specific businesses that rely on Ruby on Rails developers, such as technology, finance, or e-commerce, might raise wages in those fields. Regions with a flourishing tech sector or startup ecosystem often pay developers more.

Digital infrastructure: Countries have varying digital priorities. While the US and the West are making advances in AI, places like Nigeria are still working on providing 4G coverage country-wide. Naturally, ‌demand will fluctuate based on needs.

Country's average annual salary

However, living in so-called less-developed countries doesn't necessarily restrict you from higher salaries. Several employers search for software development talent abroad, offering remote jobs as freelances that pay by the hour.

4. Industry and company size

Developers working in the technology business, particularly in organizations focusing on software development, e-commerce, and internet services, are much paid higher wages due to the vital importance of their position in product development and operations.

The banking industry, which includes both fintech startups and traditional financial institutions, would favor Ruby on Rails developers for their ability to create secure, efficient online services and pay competitively to recruit excellent candidates.

A rails developer can fetch up to $220k in financial services. Wellfound.

A rails developer can fetch up to $220k in financial services. Wellfound.

Healthcare, another high-paying business, relies on developers to create and maintain systems that manage patient data, telemedicine services, and other important healthcare infrastructure, recognizing the importance of high-quality development with competitive compensation.

The average Ruby salary at healthcare start-ups. Wellfound.

The average Ruby salary at healthcare start-ups. Wellfound.

In terms of firm size, larger corporations often have more resources and established compensation structures, which can result in higher average salaries and more complete benefits packages, such as bonuses, stock options, and retirement plans.

A developer at a large software company may be paid more and have more benefits than a developer at a smaller startup. Startups may provide a more dynamic work atmosphere with opportunities for rapid career progression, which can be enticing despite perhaps lower initial compensation.

For example, a developer joining an early-stage fintech business may begin with a lower base pay but obtain stock options that might be extremely lucrative if the company expands or goes public.

On the other hand, developers in established industries or larger businesses may earn higher starting wages but advance their careers at a slower rate.

Thus, the interaction between industry, firm size, and compensation shows a trade-off between immediate compensation and long-term career and financial growth prospects.

5. Knowledge of other programming languages

Ruby on Rails engineers may find themselves in situations where knowing the configuration of other programming languages, such as Java, might considerably improve their earning potential.

For example, if a Ruby on Rails application needs to interact with enterprise systems or Java-based applications, understanding Java can help with integration, debugging, and system communication.

Furthermore, full-stack development tasks usually require skill in both backend and frontend languages — knowledge of JavaScript and client-side frameworks such as React or Angular is also valuable.

Technologies typically overlap in web development, particularly in complex, scalable applications that use microservices architecture or when deploying on cloud platforms such as AWS, where familiarity with scripting languages such as Python for automation or infrastructure as code can be advantageous.

In another scenario, understanding database query languages such as SQL or NoSQL improves a developer's ability to manage data effectively across multiple layers of an application.

Developers with a wide range of skill sets, including various programming languages and technologies, are equipped to contribute more thoroughly to projects.

This versatility and ability to bridge diverse technologies can result in greater wages, as it's in an employer's best interest to hire multi-skilled talent.

Wrapping up

Ruby on Rails isn't dead! It remains an important and thriving element of the web development scene. Despite any reservations about its usefulness, Rails continues to provide engineers with a path to rewarding work and high wages. From new developers to seasoned professionals, the potential for financial success is obvious, with options to increase wages through effort, skill development, and wise career moves.

Have we tempted you to start learning Ruby on Rails? Get started now!

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