Tuesday, September 3, 2013

We want to pay you to learn Ruby in Baltimore

Update 7/29/14: We are not accepting new applications at this time. When we do this again I will definitely post details here. Check out this summary of how things went!

Update 9/3/13: Pando Daily wrote an article about this, includes a few more details about our motivation

My startup Staq has a big technical challenge to solve, and we are assembling a team of people in Baltimore to tackle it. We're looking for people who have basic technical knowledge and want to become proficient in Ruby programming. This would be a temporary engagement lasting about 3 to 6 months.

The team will be responsible for building our core technology comprising hundreds of small API and web-scraping integration projects using tools like Mechanize, Typhoeus, and CasperJS. We built an internal DSL to make this code easy(-ish) to write, test, and debug, so that once you know what you're doing, most projects take a day or less. Except some of them can take days, so this work is not for the faint of heart! 

These projects are ideal work for an entry-level programmer: they're pretty fun and don't usually require deep knowledge of Ruby. They are very important to the company and core to how we grow the business - which means your work has a great deal of meaning, unlike the busy work many programmers are forced to do. 

We are experiencing rapid growth. In order to support our customers, we need to temporarily accelerate the number of integrations we do per week. Since it's temp work suitable for new programmers, we'd like to use this as a training ground for new Ruby developers in Maryland. We want people to start on the integration team as hourly employees, with the goal of either graduating to a salaried position within Staq or moving on to work at another software company in the area with a reference from me.

We can pay you a decent hourly wage, but you would also get unlimited mentoring and training from me and other Staq programmers. I personally consider talent development one of my main jobs as a CTO, and I will work hard to help you reach you career goals, whatever they are.

General prerequisites: We need people who can solve problems and thrive in a startup environment of low supervision, high accountability, max flexibility, who want to be coached. It can be challenging to figure out the best way to scrape some of these sites, so you'll need to be dogged and persistent. We also want people who are good at communicating and keeping the rest of the team updated. You should have a track record as a volunteer, an organizer, a professional, a parent, a student, a veteran, etc. Bonus: you have a reference from someone I know. Rummage my connections on LinkedIn!

Technical prerequisites: You must be able to prove that you have basic knowledge of programming and working at the command line. You know what variables and methods are, you've written a few small programs, and you understand the basic principals of object-oriented programming. You have a graduation certificate from an online programming course, proof of attendance at a RailsGirls event, a college transcript, or you've worked through all of the exercises in Learn Ruby The Hard Way. Or you have a body of work on Github I can check out. Bonus: you have used any of these before: RVM, Rspec, git, homebrew, or Bundler.

Education prerequisites: None! Some of the best programmers I know are not college graduates, or even high school graduates! Please don't let that hold you back from applying. I didn't go to school for this stuff; I am entirely an audodidact.

Geographic prerequisites: Remote work is possible later on but at the beginning you must be able to commute to our office in Hampden.

Hardware prerequisites: We're a small company and unfortunately, right now we can't afford to buy you a development machine. Most of us us use OS X but that's not a requirement. You should plan to work in a Unix OS though, so if you're on Windows definitely get something like Virtualbox running a Linux variant.

Time commitment: We are looking to work with people from about 3 to 6 months. We can offer you up to 40 hours of work per week and need a minimum of 20 hours.

Interested? Please fill out an application.