Ruby, PHP, ASP.NET Job Comparison

I don’t do RoR….yet, I hear the good things about it so I’m really close into diving into it.  Before I do I want to make sure RoR is going to be something I can use professionally too.  Here is a 30 minute research into the jobs out there for RoR compared to Asp.Net & PHP. I searched for the phrases “Ruby on Rails”, “PHP”, “ASP.NET” and radius of 100 miles from the zip code. There is no doubt some overlap of job posting but this is pretty clear indication of where things are.

8/25/2008

Where I live – Cincinnati Ohio, Midwest

Site Zip RoR PHP ASP.NET
Monster.com 45102 4 35 114
Career Builder 45102 1 36 89
Hot Jobs 45102 1 12 7
Total 6 83 210

 

Second up New York City, East Coast

Site Zip RoR PHP ASP.NET
Monster.com 10270 29 357 621
Career Builder 10270 8 184 356
Hot Jobs 10270 18 176 180
Total 55 717 1157

 

And now for the West Coast – San Francisco

Site Zip RoR PHP ASP.NET
Monster.com 94130 23 216 135
Career Builder 94130 17 123 67
Hot Jobs 94130 31 521 107
Total 71 860 309

 

So for me ASP.NET makes the most sense by far (almost 4x that of PHP).  A surprise to me is on the West Coast, were it looks like ASP.NET is much smaller then else where.  It seems that Ruby on Rails is very much in the incubator stage still, I guess I’m not turning on RoR anytime soon after all.


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96 thoughts on “Ruby, PHP, ASP.NET Job Comparison

  1. I think your numbers on PHP reflect the strong anti-MS sentiment found in the Silicon Valley area. Oddly enough, some of your Adsense ads were for Ruby jobs in that area.

    I did a search (on indeed.com) of my area (Atlanta, GA) and found 25 RR jobs, 238 PHP jobs, and 683 ASP.NET Jobs within 100 miles. It would probably be more if you expanded it out to include all .NET jobs.

    One problem though. If you go into an interview for an ASP.NET position and they use VB.NET rather than C# or vice versa, you may not get the job where PHP or Ruby you won’t have this kind of divide.

    Anyway, good article.

  2. I’ve actually had my eye on RoR for awhile now, I’m still trying to find the time to dig in (which hopefully I’ll find soon). But I’m not detered from going down that path because there aren’t alot of jobs. You’ll still benefit from learning how things are done with RoR (or any technology for that matter) and it’ll make you a better programmer in what ever technology you develop with. Just look at some of the cool things that are happening out there like SubSonic (http://subsonicproject.com/); they are bringing some of the coolness of RoR over to ASP.NET.

  3. A more sensible strategy would be to figure out which jobs pay more rather than how many there are. Which languages are more fun should also count for something.

    Incidentally, a critical distinction you fail to make is between the language and the framework. In the case of ASP and PHP you rarely use anything significant as a framework, which is weird given that both the languages are ugly and difficult to use. Frameworks like ROR can be used effectively only if you understand the language thoroughly, or you are likely to shoot yourself in the foot.

    Purely from a language perspective, even Java is a better alternative to PHP. C# 3 on the other hand is actually quite nice. Ruby is easily the nicest language, though it isn’t as fast as Java or C#.

    C# is probably a good middle path as long as you use Spring.Net or some such instead ASP.Net (the default framework MS ships) which is a badly messed up web framework. Rails is also pretty sweet when developing – you have the power of Ruby and the elegance imposed by Rails – but Rails has its weaknesses in production. Rails is a memory hog (60MB per instance of Rails) and also has a fair number of leaks. It is also pretty much single threaded so you need to start clustering your app servers very early.

    Personally, I wouldn’t touch a PHP or ASP job with a twelve foot barge pole.

  4. Well, maybe a lot of the Rails shops don’t advertise on the same job boards?

    Also, keep in mind that the number of Rails jobs keeps growing very fast, and that the salaries are often quite a bit higher. All the people I know in Montreal that have switched to Ruby in the last year have had salary increases of 10k+. Plus, it’s more fun! 🙂

  5. ASP.NET jobs generally pay much better than PHP or RoR, because the majority of them are for enterprise sized deployments.

    However, with the glut of .NET developers from India, the actual value of a developer has dropped significantly.

    P.S. This comment box is horribly broken in FireFox.

  6. Some things to consider:
    – When I started with PHP, the job numbers where about the same as they are for RoR right now. And right now, I can pick and choose any PHP-job I want because there is a huge shortage of experienced PHP-developers. And I live in an MS dominated country. Behing ahead of the curve has it’s advantages.
    – The RoR jobs are often the coolest and most challenging jobs. Not the best paid mind you, because they are often with young start-ups, but it’s something to consider.
    – Job postings on the major sites do not represent the actual demand. On those sites, major enterprises and the recruiters they hire dominate the stats (spending more money on recruitment an reposting the same position over and over, especially on Monster), and they usually look for .Net and Java people.

    Me, I’m definitely going to dive into RoR soon.

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  8. This was interesting but don’t forget that .NET is heavily used in
    established business environments so its seems natural that more jobs
    are available. For new startups (west coast) that are heavily focused on innovation and new technologies, php is the way to go.

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  10. I bet if craigslist was included you’d probably get a lot more hits for PHP.

    Most smaller shops are moving towards craigslist rather than monster, hotjobs, etc…

  11. For me the choice is whether I want to be productive or be paid well but the salaries for productive languages are catching up with the ones that are prefered by enterprises. I’ve worked in small shops and on my own sites using PHP and ColdFusion. I’ve worked in enterprises that were going toward .NET or J2EE. It took 5 times as many people including teams in India and 5 times the project time to accomplish in Java what we did with the rapid application development languages. I am glad to see PHP and Ruby gaining traction.

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