The time has come once again to delve back into old passions. Nagging whispers from the past have turned into persistent shouts, commanding me. “Return to Rails!” “Rails is your passion!” “Java is an albatross, dragging you into the inescapable depths of XML hell!” In case I didn’t mention it, these voices use run-on sentences to impress me, but I’m not falling for it.
Three years ago, I was born again. Not in a spritual sense, but in a software sense. After working with Java for ten years, I had the opportunity to work with something different. It was a relatively new technology. There were hardly any good resources for learning it, save for a Pragmatic Programmers book or two and an IRC channel.
This new technology turned me upside down and shook me until all the loose change, keys, Chapstick, and USB drives fell out of my trouser pockets onto the floor. It gave me a b-slap or two to wake me up to the real world, then picked me up, dusted me off, and filled those same pockets with heaping helpings of awesome. Of course, the technology that forever changed my thinking about software and web application development was Ruby on Rails.
For a year, Rails and I were one. After that whirlwind year, I looked for more chances to work with Rails, to reunite. But it was not to be. The world still had not seen the beauty of Rails, and alas, we were separated. In the proceeding years, Rails and I would bump into each other at random times, crossing paths briefly then diverging again. But the winds of change were a-blowin’, and here I am today.
Yes, I said “a-blowin’.” Awkward.
Times have changed, and the market has changed. Where once you would get blank stares if you mentioned Ruby on Rails, now you get the “I think I’ve heard of that” look. Gone are the days when a search for “Rails” on a job board would return three links to railroad engineer positions. Now a search for “Rails” returns many positions in many companies, from small equity-only startups to large Fortune 500 companies. There finally exists a job market in which a Ruby on Rails guru can make a full-fledged career. This is especially true in certain cities, such as San Francisco (which has been the case for a long time), New York (which all of a sudden has a booming Ruby on Rails community), and to a lesser degree Chicago, Denver, and college towns like Ann Arbor.
Today is the day reunions with old friends occur, when careers change, ambitions grow, and dreams coalesce into action. Today I am a Ruby on Rails developer again, and the future looks good.