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Preparing for a Ruby on Rails developer interview: Questions to expect

Are you preparing yourself for a Ruby on Rails developer interview? Here are 60 questions you can expect tailored to your experience level with additional tips.

August 11, 2023

6 minutes

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Preparing for a Ruby on Rails developer interview: Questions to expect

A man with black glasses, a beard, and a grey jacket, having a job interview, smiling and shaking hands with his interviewer and future employer.

Preparing for a Ruby on Rails developer interview is equally important as getting the job. This can be stressful, daunting, and a bit scary. No matter if you are a developer, designer, or writer, everyone wants their interview to go flawlessly. That’s why we are here to help.

We covered what skills you need to have, how to be a good RoR developer, and how long it takes to become one. We prepared 60 questions that you can expect in your interview and how to prepare for them. Let’s start. 

How to interview a Rails developer?

If you want to hire Ruby on Rails developers, you need to know how to interview them. The interviewing process is different for each role. Each job position requires specific soft,  technical, and social skills. Also, there should be a prepared task that a developer should successfully finish. Only in this way they can justify their knowledge and experience.

In the following, we discussed which skills RoR developers should have. We covered and included what type of soft skills such developers should have. We also included the 60 most common technical questions you can expect in your job interview. 

What skills do you need to be a Ruby on Rails developer?

Since RoR is a full-stack framework, you need to have at least basic knowledge of it. You need to know both front-end and back-end development. You will need to know how to write clean and efficient code using the RoR framework. This means that you need to be proficient with code versioning tools like:

  • Git
  • Github
  • SVN
  • Mercurial

Good RoR developers have experience with AngularJS or BackboneJS. And it is always a plus to be familiar with:

  • Mocking
  • MVC
  • ORM.
  • RESTful

You need to know the RoR framework and its syntax. You need to have basic knowledge of Ruby programming languages. But also knowledge of other programming languages, including HTML and CSS, is necessary.

All of these things are included in the daily role of a Ruby on Rails developer. But your tasks and obligations will depend on the type of RoR developer you are. 

How can I be a good Ruby on Rails developer?

A businesswoman with black glasses and a black jacket, smiling at her job interview with two people sitting across her.
Image by yanalya on Freepik

By constantly practicing and staying updated with the latest Ruby on Rails trends. Get involved in the RoR community, track the trends, learn about new things, and practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Here are a few tips on how to become a Ruby on Rails developer.

How to become a Ruby On Rails developer

By combining different sources of learning. You can choose to go to the University and get a degree in computer science or be a self-learner. In both cases, you can learn and expand your knowledge by:

  • Taking free and paid online education courses
  • Learning from the RoR books
  • Joining the Ruby on Rail community
  • Watching YouTube videos and podcasts
  • Reading blogs and other educational content

Combine all of these methods. This way, your learning will be much more fun and interactive. Besides learning, don’t forget to practice. Each time you learn something new, turn on your computer and try it. Your knowledge is useless if you don’t know how to implement it into practice. 

How long does it take to become a Ruby on Rails developer?

Around three to four months. This time frame implies that you have related experience in other programming languages or web frameworks. If not, if you are a total beginner, it can take you around a year. But the exact time will depend on three main factors:

  • Your previous experience and knowledge
  • Your skillset
  • Your time for learning

If you have more time for learning, you will catch up faster. Even if you have no experience at all. But remember, the career path of a Ruby on Rails developer is not finished when you learn everything for your job. Being a RoR developer means constant improvements. But also contributing to the RoR community.

How to prepare for the Ruby on Rails interview?

The best way to prepare for your Ruby on Rails interview is to know the questions the interviewer will ask you. But how can you know that? Well, there are some general rules for each job position. And getting prepared for them is the best thing you can do.

Also, besides answering questions about your expertise, ensure to leave a good impression. This means knowing your resume and portfolio. Explain your past experience, and show off the work you’ve done and the things you are working on. 

Ensure to show your soft skills as well. Explain situations where you worked with other colleagues and teams and how did that go. Collaboration is extremely important as a developer. Let’s check what are the most important soft skills for Ruby on Rails developer.

  • Attention to detail - Ruby on Rails developers have to have great attention to detail. Only this way you can provide outstanding code quality and user experience. 

  • Problem-solving skills - If you are planning to be a RoR software developer, you need to have a good set of problem-solving skills. Show your ability to break down complex things into manageable parts.

  • Well-organized abilities - To be efficient in your work, you need to know how to disturb your time. To finish projects successfully and on time, you need to be well-organized and have strong time management skills.

  • Critical thinking - In order to fix problems, you need to have a good set of critical-thinking abilities. This is also essential when looking for new solutions.

  • A good set of social and communicational skills - As a developer, you will be talking with stakeholders about development initiatives. That’s why communication skills such as active listening and empathy are essential.

Ensure to show these skills in your interview. Prepare a few examples where you can show your soft skills set and impress your interviewer. 

Preparing for a Ruby on Rails developer interview: Questions to expect

A man and a women sitting at a table having an interview.

Let’s see what kind of questions you can expect in your interview as a Ruby on Rails developer regarding your expertise. We divided three sections with 20 questions, and each one of them is tailored to your experience level. 

20 questions for beginner Ruby on Rails developer

  1. What is Ruby on Rails?
  2. Explain the naming convention in Rails.
  3. Explain what ORM (Object-Relationship-Model) stands for and what it means.
  4. What is the difference between String and Symbol?
  5. Is RoR limited, and if so, how?
  6. Explain what delete does in RoR.
  7. What does load mean in RoR?
  8. What is a helper?
  9. What is a Rails Controller?
  10. Explain Rails Migration.
  11. What does MVC mean?
  12. How does MVC work?
  13. Explain Cross-Site Request Forgery (CSRF).
  14. What are the purpose of load and require in Ruby?
  15. What is a plugin in Ruby on Rails?
  16. What is a gem in RoR?
  17. Explain the differences between nil and false in RoR?
  18. What is MVC and how does it work?
  19. Explain what delete does in Rails.
  20. Explain how rail implements Ajax.

20 questions for intermediate Ruby on Rails developer

  1. What are destructive methods?
  2. What is a filter in Ruby on Rails?
  3. What are symbols in RoR?
  4. What are fixtures in Rails?
  5. What is a string in Ruby on Rails?
  6. What is a Spring?
  7. What does garbage collection do?
  8. What are initializers?
  9. Give an example of how to use nested layouts.
  10. What are callbacks?
  11. What are observers in RoR?
  12. Explain what harnesses are.
  13. What is a Gemfile in Rails?
  14. Give an example of what size does.
  15. Give an example of what length does.
  16. Give an example of what count does.
  17. Explain what blocks are.
  18. Explain what a proc is.
  19. What destroy does it do in RoR?
  20. What do “skinny controllers, skinny models” mean?

20 questions for professional Ruby on Rails developer

  1. Explain the difference between string and text in RoR.
  2. Explain what ActiveJob is.
  3. Explain what naming conventions are in Rails.
  4. What’s the difference between dynamic and static scaffolding?
  5. What are the strong parameters in RoR?
  6. Give an example of a filter in RoR.
  7. Tell the difference between ActiveSupport’s "HashWithIndifferentAccess" and Ruby’s "Hash"?
  8. Explain how you would use two databases for one app.
  9. What is an asset pipeline?
  10. Does Ruby support multiple or single inheritance?
  11. What is an Active Record?
  12. What’s the purpose of the rakefile available in the demo directory in Ruby?
  13. What is closure in RoR?
  14. What is a Hash in RoR?
  15. What is JSON?
  16. What is a splat operator?
  17. What is the difference between observers and callbacks?
  18. What is the difference between  Class Variable and Instance Variable?
  19. Explain Ruby on Rails Exception Handling.
  20. Explain the difference between calling super() and super call.

In conclusion

Interviews for jobs are never easy. But they are as important as getting the job itself. In fact, the only way you can get a job is if you do well in your interview. That’s why it is highly important to be prepared.

Go through all the questions we mentioned in this blog. As we divided them into three sectors, it will be easier for you to learn. But preparing for a Ruby on Rails developer interview also means showing off your soft skills set. Go through those skills as well, prepare yourself, and get your dream job with ease.

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