Monday, March 19, 2012

I guess Java is not dead, or is it?

So a former collegue emailed me a few days ago asking if I knew of any Java Developers.  I think it takes some nerve to ask someone who was turned down for the VP of Development job if they can help you recruit, but I'll assume he did not know that, and anyway I'm not one to burn bridges, unless someone has truly already roasted me.  Here's my response to his email, edited and sanitized to protect the innocent...

I’ll be honest I don’t.  As I said last year when I did some consulting and interviewed for the VP Eng job, recruiting Java developers will be hard.  1) The Banks and Insurance companies in town have most of them locked up, and they are probably not the type of recruit you want.  2) Java has a very low “geek” factor with developers looking to join startups.  Unless you’re doing Java dev on Android, Mobile dev on Apple (iOS), Rails, or .NET dev it does not look like a good move for a career minded dev.  3) There is a general talent shortage in this market right now, period.

My suggestions, 1) allow for remote work 2) offer some off the wall recruiting incentives/working conditions 3) emphasize some fun aspects of working at your company 4) cast the net wide.

Then I got to thinking, is it really the case that Java is a career dead end with low geek factor, and does everyone really want to do Mobile, .NET or Rails development?  Now measuring demand for a particular skillset is easy.  We can just survey job boards to see what vacancies are open and when I survey three different job boards the results were remarkably consistent in terms of breakdown.  I'll publish those results side by side with the results of the survey I'll collect below.

The harder (or more expensive) task is to survey what people are looking for in their dream programming job since that would require access to a large and current resume database.  So the only solution I can come up with is to run my own survey.  I'll report the results back on April 2, 2012 and we can see if I was right or wrong, and just what is the desired dream ticket programming job.

So if you can grant me the time it takes to answer 4 anonymous questions I'd appreciate it, and check back on April 2, 2012 for the results, and the comparison to the job market.

Take the Dream Programming Job Survey now (just 4 quick anonymous questions, that will take you less than 1 minute).


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