Trends Coming to the Fore
There are some noteworthy trends emerging from this research:
- For new, build-from scratch, Web-centric business application projects, Java skills are considered mandatory.
- For older apps, upgrading, database access, or maintenance-type development jobs, VB, C++ are often the required skills.
- Web-page production skills utilizing Java are still needed but aren't as in demand as they were two to three years ago. Developers with those skills are plentiful, and jobs can still be had.
- Deep-application Java development is definitely needed at all levels: the ability to build an EJB or other component from scratch, or with minimal legacy code. It also helps to be fully trained in using the development cycle.
- The ability to invoke the unified modeling language (UML) when needed within a project is also a high priority.
||"For deep development-type and business-logic-related jobs, Java 2EE is the premium skill required, and those guys can basically write their own tickets."
Client Dictates Terms of the Job
Cynthia Morgan, vice-president of content at Techies.com, reported that in October of last year, nearly 16 percent of all posted IT jobs required Java skills; in March 2001 it dropped to just more than 13 percent, a likely reflection of the loss of jobs due to the shakeout in the dot-com business.
"So much depends upon the client here," Morgan said in an interview on CNET radio. "For deep development-type and business-logic-related jobs, Java 2EE (Enterprise Edition) is the premium skill required, and those guys can basically write their own tickets.
"If you're a good Web developer, there's still work, but it's going to be somewhat more difficult to get placed. Most new projects are Web-based, so the Java background in building business logic and communication modules is super important. If you're just updating an older app, say for an institutional client such as local government, a bank or other financial company, you more than likely will be needing other skills, such as VB, C++, or ASP."
Ved Sinha CTO of eLance.com, an online placement service for developers that offers a bustling RFP directory, said he sees a clear spiral up in the desire for Java-related skills unabated by any downturn in the industry. In the last six months, Java skills requests have gone up an average of 45 percent per month on eLance, Sinha said, with no sign of a letup.
"At any one time, we'll have maybe 600 jobs on our board, and an increasing number of them involve some sort of Java development," he said. "We've had 966 Java or Java-related projects on our board since October 1999; more than 1,000 of our 3,500 registered users have Java skills. The downturn in the IT economy in the last year hasn't affected the Java skills market one bit, as far as we're concerned."
|"Since Java runs and scales so well in the mobile-app world, which is where we're doing a lot of our development, those kinds of skills are what we're after at the moment."
Molly Mangan and Ten Chu of Chicago Systems in Chicago, which employs 58 developers, says that a bit more than half of them are skilled in Java. They recently completed the construction of a major new mobile-application Web site for the state of Illinois in which they employed all of their Java-skilled people.
"Generally, when we're doing a job for a government agency, it requires VB skills," Mangan said. "But most new projects involving building an application from scratch are Web-centric and require the Java skill set. Since Java runs and scales so well in the mobile-app world, which is where we're doing a lot of our development, those kinds of skills are what we're after at the moment."
Chicago Systems designed and is administering a Web site—accessible by both desktop and portable devices and built using the Oracle platform—that monitors and reports on the flow of traffic in the downtown Chicago area. In seconds, subscribers can get a real-time snapshot of the city's five major expressways at any time during the day.