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Six Years and Counting: Developers Weigh in on the State of the Java Market : Page 7

As part of our comprehensive analysis of the past, present, and future of a breakthrough development technology, we asked Java developers where they stand on the tools and technologies that make Java work for them.


One of the goals of our special report has been to find out whether the skills and talents imbued in the average Java developer are sufficient to meet the demands of today's enterprise business needs. We will debate in detail the possibility of a widening Java skills gap in the second installment of our "Judging Java" special report, to be published the first week of June.

But in our survey, we asked respondents to rank their current skills in each of nine categories on a scale of 1 to 5. Figure 17charts just the 5 responses. Database development was highest, with 17 percent of respondents giving themselves the high score. Java, appropriately, was next with 15 percent saying they were a "5."

We then asked respondents to tell us how important they thought each of these skills would be to employers during the next two years (Figure 18). Nearly half (48 percent) of respondents gave Java a ranking of 5 as an important skill category to employers during the next two years, while 44 percent gave XML the 5 rating. The next-highest ranking was database applications at 31 percent. Most other skills listed received far fewer "5s."

Figure 17. Level of Expertise: Percent of developers who gave themselves a 5 rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) as to their expertise with the language or technology listed
Figure 18. Demand for Skills: Percent of developers who gave a 5 rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) to the importance of each language or technology listed in the development job market
Figure 19. The Skills Gap: The black numbers represent the value that developers placed on this skill in two years' time. The green area represents the current expertise to meet this demand in the marketplace. Blue shows the gap in supply and demand.

By comparing Figures 17 and 18, we tried to determine just how well-equipped developers are to handle the current demands in the marketplace—based on their own opinions. The results (Figure 19) show that indeed there may be a real skills gap when it comes to the highest level of expertise in key categories. XML development showed a more than 40 percent gap between currently skilled developers and upcoming hiring demand. Also high was Java itself, with a 33 percent potential gap in available expertise.

Wrapping It Up
Six years and several million applications later, Java is proving itself a world-weary veteran despite its tender age. Of course, there's a lot more to "Judging Java" than can be revealed through research. Read on to the second piece in this series, Server-side Subjects Drop Java's GPA, for a very thorough, technical examination of Java's significant abilities and disabilities in server-side application processing. Author Brian Maso gives a perfect, encapsulated analysis of what today's businesses and technology implementers need to get from Java next.

For further reading relevant to a thorough analysis of Java, please see the Other Resources links.

Written by DevX Editor in Chief Lori Piquet, with assistance from DevX Senior Editor Chris Preimesberger and Java Pro editors Sean Gallagher and Steve Gillmor.

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