Head to the big city for Java jobs
- By Linda L. Briggs
If one of your considerations in planning a .NET or J2EE project is finding developers
with the right skill set, your location may be a factor.
That’s according to Pam Gleeson, director of recruiting for Number Six
Software, who is based in Virginia herself but recruits developers nationwide
for Number Six consulting projects. The market for .NET vs. Java employment
shows some interesting regional differences, she says. “It depends on
which part of the country you’re looking at,” Gleeson says. One
interesting trend she’s found: “The commercial side in the Midwest
has embraced the .NET market much more aggressively than any other area.”
Looking at half a dozen major job markets, Gleeson says, shows that openings
for Java developers outnumbered .NET openings by 3 to 1 in most markets, including
Washington, D.C., and Boston (San Francisco runs about 2.5 to 1, Java to .NET
openings). In the Midwest, however, Java and .NET jobs are closer to even, with
1.5 Java job openings to every .NET opening.
Gleeson, who’s been a technical recruiter for about 20 years, predicts
that the imbalance will shift gradually as .NET further expands into the market.
For now, she says the discrepancy between Java and .NET job openings simply
reminds her of the lag time she’s seen with “any kind of emerging
technology,” in which there’s a delay before adoption.
In terms of what you can expect to pay for developers, simple supply and demand
rules the market. “.NET salaries are running 10 to 15 percent higher”
in some markets, Gleeson says, simply because there aren’t as many .NET
developers to fill available jobs. “We’ve had less demand here [in
Washington, D.C.] for .NET, so that makes it more difficult to find those people.
That may change as some Java developers read what may be the writing on the
wall and expand their skill sets to include .NET. Again, Gleeson sees a familiar
pattern over the years that reminds her of COBOL programmers moving to client-server
technologies, “then into PowerBuilder, then over into Visual Basic, then
It’s possible that there will be a growing need for .NET developers,
perhaps soon. Gleeson says she’s seeing more .NET business now than a
year ago, and “I think in a year or two, you’ll see even more demand
for .NET people and .NET positions.”
For one thing, there are signs that the federal government, long a Java stronghold,
is starting to embrace .NET in some areas. “Here [in Virginia],”
Gleeson says, “we’re driven by the federal government. With every
emerging technology, I’ve seen the federal government take 18 months to
catch up to the private side.”
A good strategy for a manager having trouble finding just the right skill set,
Gleeson suggests, might be to hire available experienced developers in your
area, or hold onto the ones you have, and then make an investment in professional
development. “Consider [training] experienced people,” Gleeson says.
“They probably can retool even faster than someone coming out of school,
since they understand the business implications… Maybe augment your staff
with one great hire, a go-to person with [a critical] skill,” she suggests,
and plan to retrain the remainder of the staff.
Back to feature: There’s
More to Java vs. .NET Than Technology
Linda Briggs is a freelance writer based in San Diego, Calif. She can be reached at [email protected].