CoverMyMeds' rapid company expansion leads to a creative way to appeal to prospective web developers

Web developers pondering a job switch to CoverMyMeds will no longer be lost in translation.

The company is offering formal classes and training in Ruby, a new programming language that is used for much of CoverMyMed's web development, so that developers trained in Java, .NET and older languages no longer have a barrier to working for the company, which handles healthcare electronic prior authorizations.

Alan Gilbert, vice president of engineering at CoverMyMeds, says that with the company's growth and consequent increasing number of online transactions, the company can't fill web developer positions fast enough. "Software for 10,000 transactions a day can't necessarily work with 50,000."

CoverMyMeds hopes to take on 20 web developers and opened applications this Monday. The posting will be open as long as there is interest.

Hired developers will take classes on Ruby from Jay Bobo, a CoverMyMeds software developer. However, much of the training will happen outside of the classroom where trainees will work on individually-paced projects. In addition, trainees will have tools from online instruction and lightening talks, 20-minute talks from CoverMyMeds domain experts on specific technologies. To follow will be crossover training, which will involve working with teams and senior-level employees. The entire Ruby training process will take about a month.

Gilbert says that the idea for the program came out of a desire to remove the barriers that web developers may have in learning Ruby, such as time or lack of resources. But, the learning itself is what Gilbert believes to be the fun part.

"One common phrase is that Ruby has been designed for developer happiness. It's a very easy language use," says Gilbert. "Like people say Spanish and French are enjoyable to speak, Ruby is enjoyable to use."

The program's framework, Ruby on Rails, is what makes that easy.

"It's like Lego block … Let's say you wanted to build a Lego house and wanted to build a window frame - Ruby already has one big window frame for you," says Gilbert. "So you can focus on solving your new problem particular to your business rather than problems common to all other web application that have already been solved."

For Gilbert, CoverMyMeds' initiative can be a lesson for many businesses. "If you're hiring for a very selective skill, a program that increases your hiring pool is a wise investment."

-Julie France