Java developers in such demand that banks could use them as currency to repay the nation

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I have been blogging heavily about the UK IT skills shortage debate and I thought I would share some information a contact told me as a response.

 

As you know there are those that say the UK IT skills shortage is a myth used by businesses to justify bringing in cheap staff from low cost offshore locations. But there are those that claim there are real shortages of particular skills.

 

As a result a reader created a survey to answer the question. See some of the findings here.

 

Since reading the blog posts a contact told me that Java developers are in short supply in the UK.

 

He said most of them work for banks and the shortage has become so problematic that businesses are trying to borrow them from banks to fill gaps.

 

This could be a way for the banks to repay the nation for the support of recent years.

 

Are there any Java developers out there with a view? If so please comment.

 

Here are two comments from respondents to the skills shortage survey I mention above.

 

The first claims that even Java developers are not safe.

 

1 - "I am a Java developer and have just been made redundant after spending 10 years with an Investment Bank because 'my role has moved offshore'. Several colleagues were also made redundant for the same reason. There is no IT skills shortage in the UK, however many employers do not want to pay for these skills, they prefer instead to get cheaper less skilled resources from overseas."

 

In contrast the second is positive about the opportunities for Java developers.

 

2 - "As a Java/J2EE contractor (Senior Dev/Tech Lead level) in London I can only speak for myself but the IT industry appears very buoyant! Where I do see jobs going is mostly in the easily commoditised area like HelpDesk and Desktop Support. I have seen dev jobs go but there seems to be a natural pendulum of back of forth as work gets outsourced and then brought in again as they realise that it is not a silver bullet."

6 Comments

I just had a look at the salary data for London based java developers. The Q4 2010 average salaries are about the same as they were 4 years ago.

UK wage inflation (from government ASHE statistics) has varied between 2-4% per year for the last 4 years i.e. typical salaries have gone up 12-15% in the last 4 years.

So there has been a significant real fall in London based java developers' salaries.

"2: ...there seems to be a natural pendulum..."

The problem is that if you lose your job as a developer, you have maybe 6 months before your skills are either obsolete or regarded as obsolete, so if the pendulum takes more than 6 months to swing back, you're screwed.

There is certainly no shortage of inexperienced imported Indian graduate trainee Java developers, as I have worked with plenty of them in recent years.

I have masses of significant development experience but have struggled to get onto Java projects. Ive done bits here & there and have accrued 2-3 years experience over the last 10 years. But nevertheless my CVs are usually met with silence and on the rare occasion I make it to interview I am told I don't have enough Swing or not enough SOAP or I've been programming with v1.5 and they want v1.6. Its farcical.

The fact that Ive got a proven track record in development and an eagerness to learn doesn't seem to count and that suggests to me there isn't any shortage.

@IC:
I spent a long time trying to break into Java development on the basis of some commercial Java experience, Sun certification and a lot of self-education, even offering to work for free for a few months in order to gain experience, but as you say, it seems the "skills shortage" isn't really that severe after all.

To be honest, I think the bog standard Java development work is pretty much sewn up now by the imported computer trainees anyway: who needs to pay UK rates for a junior Java developer when they can ship in another 100 cheap trainees from India?

The high-end work - where your development experience would be of obvious benefit - seems to be less common and is understandably harder to get into without recent and obviously relevant experience, especially when you factor in the buzzword bingo approach of recruiters.

And many former experienced development roles are being split into de-skilled "coding-monkey" work and a smaller number of new "architect" or "designer" roles, where the emphasis is more on OO design and semi-technical "big picture" stuff.

If I were you and wanted to stay in a technical role, I'd shift your focus onto spotting the Next Big Thing instead of Java, or look for niche sectors, where there aren't 10,000 new graduates being churned out every year with basic Java skills to compete with you.

Good luck!

@matt
"I'd shift your focus onto spotting the Next Big Thing instead of Java"
I wholeheartedly agree with what you say overall but trying to spot the Next Big Thing amongst the myriad Flavours of The Month is no mean feat!

My own view is if I cant find a more satisfactory role (ie with a future) in the next year or two I shall change career. One side-effect of the decline in IT career prospects is that my salary is now comparable to less qualified jobs in other sectors making it easier to jump ship away from the sinking ship called UK IT.

oh really
the salary data always sound very interesting but
to get job is really very difficult.

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This page contains a single entry by Karl Flinders published on January 25, 2011 12:14 PM.

80% of IT professionals have had no real pay rise in five years was the previous entry in this blog.

Six reasons why 2011 is an outsourcing service buyers market is the next entry in this blog.

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