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Good news for Java experts

Thousands of the Java faithful gathering this week in San Francisco for the annual JavaOne conference are finding a slew of companies still clamoring for their expertise. Since Sun Microsystems launched the event in 1996, a lot has changed in Javaland—most conspicuously the current economic downturn. But for the Java faithful, the news isn't so bad: recent analyst surveys have found that the dot-com cool down hasn't chilled the demand for Java jocks. In fact, these studies found, Java skills are now more sought after than ever.

According to Great Britain's Bloor Research, online help wanted ads posted in January 2001 were swarming with calls for Java programmers (40,000 of them), surpassing for the first time demand for C++ programmers. According to Bloor, 37 percent of all ads were for coders with Java skills, double last year's count. At the same time, the survey found that demand for C++ programmers was flat, along with the call for Visual Basic and C programmers, which held steady at 25 percent apiece.

Moreover, demand for Java skills is outpacing the supply of Java programmers. According to Redwood City, CA-based Zona Research, there simply aren't enough Java programmers available to fill all the jobs. The Gartner Group in Stamford, CT, estimates that less than half the demand for experienced Java developers will be met through 2004.

According to Uttam Narsu, senior industry analyst at Giga Information Group, business interests in Web-enablement are driving demand for people with Java skills. Everything from corporate intranets to e-commerce sites and business-to-business links to suppliers is fueling the demand for flexible, platform independent software, Narsu says.

The recent surge in wireless development may also be heating up the sizzling market for Java programmers. Today, says Paul Van Den Berg, marketing VP at Telelogic, a software company that provides tools, services, and components primarily for the communications industry, the "sweet spot" for software development is embedded telecom. "If you ask where all the new developers are being applied," he says, "it's right there. And most of them are Java people."

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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