I believe the answers are ambiguous because there must not be an answer!
The answers given are true of any field. Tech publications publish
“median, high and low” rates for many programming languages. The OP is
trying to figure out if Rails has published numbers or if people out
here in the community would be willing to share what they are receiving
(roughly). I believe it is a fair question and hopefully someone will
give some sort of guidance.
I have the same questions, but from a consultant basis, not an employee
basis. I have spoken with a few consulting firms that do rails work and
when I throw out my rate they have kicked right back and said that those
aren’t what they are seeing. My expectations may be unrealistic, but I
desire over $100 per hour. This is probably low for DHH but high for a
good number of people. I can assure you that I’m less intelligent, less
creative and overall more high maintenance than probably 98% of the
people on this list. Regardless, I have my desires and when I don’t get
them, I do something different - which is why I’m now on Rails and
shipping cars instead of building claims processing systems for
insurance companies! (www.crmonrails.com) BTW, shipping cars is
not nearly as fun as writing software all day! But so far, it isn’t
outsourced! (read: my job went to … and I’m horrible at
That said, I believe the following to be true without a single ounce of
Full-time employment - Limited options for Rails only. Look at the
37Signals board to find potential employers. Life will be easier if you
have been in open source community for a while and have something in
addition to Rails to offer.
Consulting - ~50 to ~75 per hour for Rails projects for the “above
average person.” Options probably unlimited for the guru’s out there.
Make your own - Roll out your own product/website/etc… and enjoy
the fruits of your labor. Rails has made it very possible for non-web
people to build really cool web apps and there is a lot of opportunity
for those with a little perseverance and skill.
Two years from now we won’t have these questions. Rails will exit
the early adopter phase and opportunities will be all over the place.
The people writing rails based open source apps, plug-ins, helpers,
etc… now are going to be very busy and have to turn down gigs.
The above points are opinion only and based on speculative beliefs that
I feel are true. I hope they are accurate because I am taking a gamble
on this framework based on my beliefs.
Finally - are you good? Are you worth more than 45K per year? Prove
it! Give something cool to the community. Take the time to build
something really helpful. Respond to questions. Do whatever to get
yourself known. This will support your resume if you even need a resume
to find a job.