Hi, I’m Josh Symonds

I blog about Ruby on Rails, coding, and servers

Josh Symonds performs devops and server wrangling on cloud-scale infrastructures, deploys amazing web applications with Ruby on Rails, and creates awesome iOS apps with Objective-C and RubyMotion. He is founder and CTO of Symonds & Son, a development shop focused on quality and excellence.

Josh Symonds


Founder (2012 - Present) @ Symonds & Son

  • Deployed highly-monitored, highly-available cloud installations composed of dozens of servers to RackSpace, Amazon Web Services, and Digital Ocean.
  • Managed and developed specialized recipes to consistently provision and deploy numerous server-side software packages, including postgresql, elasticsearch, nginx, redis, and many others.
  • Evaluated institutional knowledge and corporate requirements to deliver infrastructure recommendations and cloud computing proposals to large corporations seeking to modernize their server setups.
  • Understood functional requirements, created acceptance tests, and delivered well-tested, rapidly developed Rails code to numerous clients.
  • Created customized Chef server installations and cookbooks, integrated tightly with Rails application and a continuous integration and deployment environment.

CTO & Cofounder (2012 - Present) @ Kinotify

  • Used RubyMotion and Rails to develop a clean web API and beautiful iOS application, incorporating designs and requirements from user testers and the executive team to deliver a stellar combined product.
  • Developed a clean and sensible push notification delivery system based on existing Gems but uniquely suited to Kinotify’s needs.
  • Exposed metrics and conducted further user tests (with A/B frameworks) to create the stickiest app experience possible.

CTO & Cofounder (2012 - 2013) @ GirlsGuideTo

  • Created wireframes and designs, and from those documents, a scalable, efficient, widely-used website for GirlsGuideTo.
  • Migrated GirlsGuideTo from a legacy PHP Wordpress installation to a modern Rails application, preserving data integrity and creating a robust foundation for future development.
  • Met with investors and presented them with technology decisions, business logic, and growth plans as part of GirlsGuideTo’s executive team.

Web Director (2010 - 2012) @ Hipstamatic

  • Managed a team dedicated to developing, deploying, and maintaining a fast and highly available website and API endpoint for Synthetic, makers of Hipstamatic. Our site at community.hipstamatic.com sees millions of requests every month.
  • Administered a dozen Amazon EC2 servers running Ubuntu, Rails, unicorn, nginx, MySQL, memcached, and redis to provide robust and seamless web and iPhone integration. Dynamically altered the size and amount of EC2 instances to provide better throughput and capacity while staying inside budget constraints.
  • Used test-driven development to create a highly complicated, fully automated photo processing and ordering application that processes thousands of dollars in transactions daily. Integrated this ordering system with iPhone endpoints for plist, XML, and JSON.
  • Created numerous static sites to promote and support new products, while also providing internal team systems support and maintenance for Linux and Mac devices.

Senior Application Developer (2009 - 2010) @ BackStop Solutions Group

  • Developed a complex, highly-used Ruby on Rails web application to extract data from emails, automatically and manually, and display the data in HTML and XML for end users.
  • Deployed full-stack setups of Phusion Passenger on CentOS, integrated with an Oracle backend database. Performed maintenance to improve server and application response times, security, and maintainability.
  • Enforced a new Agile development methodology, including two week sprints and feature-complete releases. Coupled with Capistrano and Git, decreased development time while providing better features to the end-user.
  • Acted as a Rails expert-level resource for a tightly-integrated team of developers, testers, and product managers, educating and amplifying Rails best practices and techniques.

Senior Consultant (2008 - 2009) @ Pathfinder Software

  • Created rich internet applications, using Ruby on Rails and Ajax (jQuery and Prototype), as part of an agile consultancy dedicated to utilizing performance-increasing technologies such as Git and CruiseControl.
  • Won the Pathfinder iPhone Application Award for an outstanding iPhone application, designing an application utilizing the CoreLocation framework and Rails GeoKit server integration.
  • Set up and maintained Rails servers using Mongrel and Phusion Passenger, utilizing MySQL and PostgreSQL, on Ubuntu and CentOS servers. Extremely proficient in deploying to servers and optimizing applications with load testing and performance benchmarking.
  • As a Rails expert, wrote numerous blog posts and paired with other developers to amplify their Rails skills. Conducted meetings on Git and Rails to create a community dedicated to Rails best practices.


University of Chicago (2001 - 2005)

  • B.A. in East Asian Languages & Civilizations