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node aritcle6

Tips on Hiring Your Node.js Developer

Node.js has been getting a lot of attention in the technical press.  Node.js catapults JavaScript out of the browser onto the server.  There are a lot of benefits from this arrangement.  Companies such as LinkedIn, Microsoft, and Walmart, among many others, have adopted Node.js to act as API and web publishing endpoints for many of their applications.  Node’s lightweight asynchronous architecture means that it can reliably support thousands of current connections with only a moderate amount of hardware.  For the web developer, this has offered a whole new world of opportunities.  Web developers can now compliment their front end work with back end services without relying on already overworked back end developers.


If you have decided to bring Node.js into your organization, or your developers are clamoring to use it, then you will probably need some Node.js development talent.  The way JavaScript is employed in Node is not exactly the same as the browser, so web development experience is not necessarily enough to make a good Node.js developer.  Here are some things to know that will help you to identify and find the best Node.js talent out there.


“JavaScript is a cross-platform, object-oriented scripting language…Inside a host environment, JavaScript can be connected to the objects of its environment to provide programmatic control over them.”


JavaScript is JavaScript is JavaScript

JavaScript in the browser is the same as JavaScript on the server which is the same JavaScript running on a Raspberry Pi.  This is one of the attractive features of JavaScript.  The language is the same on all the platforms it has been ported to.  This means that JavaScript developers can work in all kinds of environments: browsers, servers, drones, Internet of Things, etc.


It is important for candidates to understand the ubiquitous parts of JavaScript that are used on all those platforms.  In other words, spend time finding the candidate’s comfort level with just JavaScript.  This is different than gauging their browser based JavaScript knowledge.  It is important that the candidate understand the language itself.  It’s best to search for resources like Front End Developer Interview Questions that have sections devoted to non-browser specific JavaScript questions.  Questions about asynchronous operations, objects, prototypical inheritance, and basic flow operations are key.


JavaScript works roughly the same in all those environments, but working in one environment doesn’t mean the developer has the skills to work in another.  Using JavaScript in Node.js is syntactically the same as the browser, but you can’t perform all the same operations.  When interviewing for a Node.js developer spend some time to make sure the candidate can answer some Node.js specific interview questions, such as 10 Interview Questions on Node.js or Top 25 Interview Questions on Node.js.

“The very collaborative environment that all these facets of Node.js development generates permeates the Node.js community.”

The Community

Node.js started as an open source project with contributions coming in from many developers around the world.  It allows developers to extend it’s functionality with modules that are also open source.  Modules have been created by even more developers for different purposes.  The very collaborative environment that all these facets of Node.js development generates permeates the Node.js community.  Ideally, your candidate has played some part in this giant ecosystem.


The vast majority of Node.js developers will not have contributed to Node.js itself, but may have contributed to a module in the Node.js ecosystem.  The main index for Node.js modules is located at  If you have a candidate that can point to a module they created, or assisted on, then you know you have a good candidate.


Most modules are hosted on giving all Node.js developers decent experience using the Github repository system.  Any developer who has contributed to a Node.js module, Node.js itself, or their own Node.js experiments will have a profile on Github showing their contributions.  There are still many more Node.js developers who have never contributed to a module but most will have projects or experiments on Github. An active profile on Github is a characteristic of an experienced Node.js developer.

Talking to The Prospect Directly

The best place to find Node.js developers is going to be in the places they are most likely to frequent.  The main Node.js site is run by Joyent at  This is the main hub of all Node.js activities.  This site contains all the important information about Node.js: downloads, documentation, and outreach.  There is a job board at  Having a position listed here is bound to get developer attention.


The runner up for most Node.js developer activity is npm.  Npm is where all developers go to research modules they need for their projects or to find projects to contribute to.  Npm has a page devoted to listing companies trying to hire developers, and you can have your company listed there.  The page is located at  There is an email address at the bottom of the page to contact if you want to place your company on the list. 


We mentioned Cooper Press in our Ruby on Rails article last month, and are mentioning them again here.  Cooper Press is one of the best places to go to speak to a specific technological demographic and Node is no exception.  Cooper Press publishes Node Weekly and JavaScript Weekly both of which are great ways to get your position in front of a potential Node.js developer candidate.

“Node.js is a server side technology and will often need to talk to other back end components.”

Additional Skills

Node.js is a server side technology and will often need to talk to other back end components.  A good Node.js developer is going to be familiar with NoSQL databases.  Understanding flat databases also applies to being able to implement a caching system to improve performance.  MongoDB is one of the current favorite NoSQL databases, and Redis is the best supported cache at this time.  Although most Node.js applications will talk to NoSQL databases, all strong Node.js candidates should be familiar with the basics of a relational database system, like MySQL or MariaDB..


Node.js is for more than back end operations.  Node.js is popular as a platform for process heavy operations that compliment the front end.  For example, templating can be resource intensive and is a common task assigned to Node.js servers.  Client devices (phones, tablets, computers) are not guaranteed to be powerful so having a template resolved on the server can be a huge performance gain.  A good Node.js developer will understand templating as one of several front end performance improvement techniques along with websockets and offloading work to child processes among others.

Good Luck

Node.js is a very popular technology in the already hot market for JavaScript developers.  Node.js developers can be flexible and can often be fielding opportunities for both Node.js and traditional front-end roles.  One thing most Node.js developers will have in common is a desire to experiment and take risks.  Providing an environment where they can grow as Node.js continues to grow will go a long way towards enticing a great developer.

Update 7/31/15: An earlier version of the article mistakenly referred to MariaDB as a NoSQL database. MariaDB is a fork of MySQL.


Tips on Hiring Your Rails Developer

Ruby on Rails is a very powerful framework in the web application space.  It is a very popular framework that runs many current web sites and there are always new sites being built with it.  If you find yourself in need of a Ruby on Rails developer you will face stiff competition in the marketplace to hire one.  Here are some tips you can use to help find talented Rails developers to join your team.


 “Rails is opinionated software. It makes the assumption that there is the “best” way to do things, and it’s designed to encourage that way – and in some cases to discourage alternatives.”


The Rails Way

Ruby on Rails, often shortened to Rails, is a highly opinionated framework.  Arguably, it is the most opinionated web development framework being used today.  Software is said to be opinionated when it encourages specific practices by the nature of it’s design.  Opinionated software is built with the idea that there is a right way and wrong way to write to code.  This approach can be great for rapid application development and deployment.  It also creates a community focused on solving problems the same way which makes looking for ideas to solve problems easier.


One negative that opinionated software can create is a lack of understanding of why things work. The how to do a thing can become a lot easier to figure out without understanding why the thing works the way it does.  Any skilled Rails developer will be able to tell you why the framework makes certain choices and how commonly used plug-ins (called gems in ruby parlance) work.  When crafting your interview plan, make sure to include some time for walking through why Rails makes some of the decisions it does.  Try to avoid deep technical discussion, instead stick to abstract concepts to see if the developer understands Rails under the covers.


Interview Questions

If you like to include code tests in your interview process there is a wealth of articles out there to help you find some good questions to use.  Online learning sites and independent bloggers will often post articles about great interview questions to help both candidates and employers find those who are good with Rails.  One such source is This online learning site has great articles to look at, including 19 Ruby & Ruby on Rails Interview Questions and Answers.


Your technical questions should focus on common tasks.  It is true that edge cases occur all the time on developing projects, however, regardless of how talented the developer is, it is unlikely that you will get the best answers from candidates in a high pressure time limited interview.  Stick to questions about data handling, authorization operations, page building, among other potential topics.  Since Ruby is so opinionated there are going to be preferred and common approaches to most of these types of questions.


 “Rails has a strong and thriving community.


The Community

Rails has a strong and thriving community.  It is an open source framework which means people are always adding, changing, and improving it.  Rails currently stands at 3,940 contributors.  Many strong Rails developers will have helped improve the framework itself and will appear on the list.  Being a contributor displays an understanding of how Rails performs operations, not just what it does.  Check the contributor list to see if the candidate you are interviewing is one of the 3,940 displaying the moxie required to be on that list.  The contributor list is available at


There are also an abundance of online resources you can check to see if your candidate is an active member of the community.  Since Rails fosters a strong community, a strong Rails developer will probably have contributed to the community themselves.  Consider searching the main ruby group to see if your candidate has been giving back to the community.  The main Rails Google group is at!forum/rubyonrails-talk.


“One of the best ways to find great Rails candidates is to make your needs known directly.”


Talking to The Prospect Directly

One of the best ways to find great Rails candidates is to make your needs known directly. Posting job requirements to,, and other job sites will work.  Unfortunately, you may get overwhelmed by a barrage of candidates without the deep skill set you want to attract.  Consider posting your requirements to Ruby developers directly where they congregate.  There are job boards that focus directly on Ruby developers.  Putting a post up on a site like or is much more likely to get you qualified candidates than a general job board.


Ruby Now has a great track record:

“Since 2005, RubyNow has been the trusted Ruby job board with over 5,370+ job posts. Get expert recruiting advice, email your job to our 2,000+ opt-in developer list, and broadcast it on RubyNow, Twitter, Facebook & RSS.”


Imagine if you could let a dedicated audience of Ruby developer intent on staying abreast of their field know that you have an open position?  Consider placing a job posting in Cooper Press’ Ruby Weekly.  Cooper Press puts out weekly newsletters that aggregate information on the most used web technologies used today.  Placing a posting in this newsletter gets you access to a wide audience of developers who care enough about Ruby to keep up to date on the developments in the field every week.  Ruby Weekly can be seen at, Cooper Press can be contacted at


Additional Skills

Finally, make sure your Rails developer knows how to use other languages that are essential for successful web development.  All web development requires a good knowledge of JavaScript and CSS.  An online portfolio is a great first stop for this kind of information.  A strong candidate will either have online work you can look at, or samples on a site or code repository that you can review.  Make sure their use of JavaScript and CSS includes more than knowing how jQuery works.  A strong Rails developer is also going to have experience with a JavaScript framework like AngularJs, Ember, Backbone, among others.  There are lots of them out there.  Knowing how to use one is more important than which one the candidate has experience with.


Good Luck

Web development is a thriving segment of the IT industry.  Good developers can appear on the market and be hired within days.  The suggestions above will help you quickly focus on those Rails developers worth competing for.







By: David Posin


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