Java, Anyone?

I was at a Christmas party this past weekend and was talking with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while. I was telling him about my new job and mentioned that it was Java, but I was hoping to get a chance to do some .NET too. He said his recruiter friend told him she can’t find Java people anymore.

I was slightly surprised at this. The DFW area has a lot of Java talent, so the only reasons I can think of are:

  1. Pay sucks: you won’t attract A-list Java talent with a VB-coders salary
  2. WebSphere Application Server: every good Java coder I know would gladly chew off their own arm to escape having to work with this piece of shit.
  3. .NET: 80% or more of the top Java guys I have known throughout the years have moved to C#

It is this combination of things that will limit the Java talent pool. The last one, .NET, cannot be understated. .NET 3.5 is a lightyear ahead of Java 6 from a programming language standpoint, and .NET 4.0 doubles that lead. The saving grace for Java right now is the Spring Framework, which is simply phenomenal.

So here are the things needed to attract top Java talent in DFW.

  1. Minimally Java 5, and preferably Java 6
  2. Spring Framework
  3. Deploy to Tomcat
  4. Agile methodology
  5. Embracing of the open source toolset
  6. Salary in the 110-120K range

This probably applies nationally, but adjust the salary to market conditions. A true senior Java developer with the kind of experience people want should easily be in that pay range. Hiring managers are deluding themselves if they think they can get top talent for 90K. I don’t know a senior Java guy worth his salt who would get out of bed for 90K.

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