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Adding Ruby to your resume plus other ideas for staying ahead

IT careers have an inherent element of risk in them. The technologies you work so hard to master today could be out the door tomorrow.

IT careers have an inherent element of risk in them. The technologies you work so hard to master today could be out the door tomorrow. If you stick with what you know it may feel like the safe thing to do, but not many are as lucky as those proficient in technologies that refuse to die, like mainframes or Cobol. So staying current with the latest IT advances is critical to ensuring your marketability.

One such advancement of interest today is Ruby on Rails, a Web application development framework that you should be familiar with, or may actually be considering to learn if you’re a developer. The lightweight scripting language is winning the hearts and minds of developers for enabling a quick and painless way to build applications. A new article on Dice.com does a great job of covering what it is and if it is right for you. It suggests giving it a test drive:

Is Rails right for you? To find out, give it a quick spin — it works with most Web servers (including Apache or lighttpd, running either FastCGI, SCGI, or Mongrel) and databases (including MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQLite, Oracle, SQL Server, DB2, and Firebird). Numerous Web-hosting sites also offer Rails capabilities. Finally, Apple users will have the ability to tap Ruby for Rails natively starting in spring 2007, when Apple releases Mac OS X 10.5 (Leopard), with Rails built in.

To truly master Ruby on Rails, however, you’ll have to sit down and learn a new programming language — a time-consuming task.

That said, for developers looking to bolster their resume, “I can think of no other language I would recommend higher than Ruby,” says Richard Monson-Haefel, a senior analyst at Burton Group. In particular, he lauds Ruby’s commercial-free development, noting it’s “a delight to work with.”

Adding new programming languages to your skill set boosts your technical expertise, but ensuring you long-term marketability doesn’t stop there. Actively manage your career and protect yourself from the hazards of shifting technologies by understanding your organization’s business needs, gaining industry-specific knowledge, and gaining management experience. This way, you will be recognized for more than your technical capability.