PHP, Python and Ruby: Which language is right for your startup?

An awesome session organised by StartupRootsSG that packed HackerspaceSG saw the geeks in town gathering to listen to what the gurus of the scene had to say about the subject matter.

This post is supported by IDA to promote student developers throughout the tech startup community.

On the panel was Michael Cheng representing PHP with 10 years of PHP development experience, Sau Sheong, who is lovingly called the Code-father and has written quite a few books on Ruby, most recently being Exploring Everyday Things with R and Ruby, and lastly Calvin Cheng, who runs his own consulting firm doing agile development methods with Python. Moderating the panel was Raymond Tay, whom many remember for having given an awesome talk on CUDA at GeekcampSG 2011.

Kudos to iDA for their support (and pizzas!), and HackerspaceSG for offering their space for the night.

So at the start, the panelist were invited to take shots at each other, and ultimately, it was agreed that PHP has the largest pool of developers to hire from, but it did not help that a large number of PHP developers were not up to par, so hiring takes longer. Ruby was fashionable, but some (Calvin) felt that it was too fashionable and he just wanted something that worked. In the end, Michael mentioned that if it was a team that had no prior experience, then Python would be the best, because the language forced developers to adopt best practices (Indentation and all that).

Then it moved on to open to the floor, where they talked about NoSQL versus RDBMS, and generally it all ended up with all three panelists agreeing that RDBMS was still the preferred option eventually, with NoSQL databases being the caching layer.

The hottest topic was on hiring, and Calvin provided some interesting insights on how he gives out salaries as a business owner, and he mentioned that for fresh grads who are “Smart and get things done” they deserved at least S$3,800. For people who practically do everything, iOS, Android, PHP, Python, Ruby, Sysadmin, Database Admin, well, they deserve S$8,000 and above.

So, how do you as a business owner hire developers? For those who don’t have technical background, well, try hiring a top developer to help you interview developers. Key things to look out for in developers: ability to learn fast and get stuff done really fast.

And finally, all three agreed that there are indeed gems in Singapore polytechnic institutions, and we should give them a chance to prove themselves, instead of always going for people who have years of experience. Who knows? They might surprise you.

So what do you think? For more language wars information, check out the cool infographic below from Udemy.

[dmalbum path="/wp-content/uploads/dm-albums/StartupRoots-Which Language for Your Startup/"/]

Laurence Putra Franslay

Laurence is a hacker who organises the region's largest all geek event, GeekcampSG, and is particularly passionate in the fields of Distributed Systems and Computer Security. In his free time, he hacks out tools to solve his personal pain points, including Instasyncer. More about him over at Geeksphere.net.

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