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Today the Flex Market Is Hot - Will It Last?

Finding a qualified Flex/Java consultant is literally impossible - will the demand for Flex developers last?

I’m finishing the third(!) week of teaching Flex. The first half of June I’ll spend doing some regular consulting work, and then another two weeks of corporate training.  The use of Flex technologies is picking up in the corporate world, but hiring managers are clearly facing challenges caused by the lack of qualified software developers on the market.  Solution? Re-train your own people.

Well, it’s not exactly a complete solution, because after a week of training, a senior Java developer becomes a Flex rookie, but at least these people are familiar with business.

Finding a qualified Flex/Java consultant is literally impossible. Enterprise HR managers pretend not knowing that an hourly rate is the only perk consultants  have. Corporations don’t offer competitive rates. Our consultancy has a couple of job requests for Flex/Java consultants from a long term customer from Wall Street, and we’re interviewing people with a little hope to find the right consultants for the money offered for these positions.

Train your own people regardless of what background they have. Recently, I had a student with no practical programming background. I figured it out after he asked me to “explain the benefits of casting”. But this guy was really motivated, and I’m sure he’ll make it.

Our company already has a request to teach Flex to a group of Cobol programmers in September. This should be fun.  The first day should be spent on teaching the concepts of object-oriented programming. So what? Anyone who wants to learn will.

Will the demand for Flex developers sustain? This week I’ve presented at Atlanta Flex User Group.  Here’s one of the questions I got after the talk, “Does your company experience lower demand of Flex consultants in the enterprise world because Flash is not supported on iPhone?”  Absolutely not.  Rich Internet Applications are being developed at full swing regardless of the fences built by Steve Jobs. iPhone is not a threat for the Enterprise RIA.  The only thing that bothers me is the slowness of Adobe in offering new releases of Flex and related tools and technologies.

While everyone is busy talking about the latest news from the iPhone battlefield or how Android is doing, I’m closely watching Microsoft.  As expected, they are becoming the real competition to Adobe in the field of the enterprise RIA. While Adobe is talking about new Designer-Developer workflow, Microsoft implements it. The penetration of Silverlight runtime is over 50%. Give them another year to build up the muscles…

Anyway, are you looking for senior enterprise Flex developers? Me too.

More Stories By Yakov Fain

Yakov Fain is a co-founder of two software companies: Farata Systems and SuranceBay. He authored several technical books and lots of articles on software development. Yakov is Java Champion (https://java-champions.java.net). He leads leads Princeton Java Users Group. Two of Yakov's books will go in print this year: "Enterprise Web Development" (O'Reilly) and "Java For Kids" (No Starch Press).

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