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An Architect's View

ColdFusion Jobs? Really?

June 30, 2009 ·

Michael Dinowitz poses a very interesting question over on Blog of Fusion: are there really ColdFusion jobs out there? What he's mostly talking about are those open reqs that you keep seeing, month on month, that never seem to get filled, but he is also asking why well-qualified people have a hard time getting hired. He doesn't really answer his own question but he gives some good advice about applying for jobs...
  • If the job requirements are specific, ensure your resume makes it clear you really have those skills.
  • Keep your resume current and if the application says "attach an up-to-date resume" then make sure it is current and attach it to your response! I'm guilty: I tend to send folks a link to my online resume which is generic, not tailored to a specific job.
  • If the application asks for your salary expectations, be reasonable but never undervalue yourself.
  • The cover letter is the first impression you make - and may be your only impression! Judith provides good advice in the middle of Michael's post.
  • If the application asks for a code sample, send them something appropriate to the job (although I've not actually seen an application that requests this - and most code is proprietary and belongs to an employer/client unless you write a lot of open source stuff!).
I've definitely seen some of these perpetually open job requirements. I've talked to the companies posting them. Their two most common responses?
  1. "We get lots of applicants but they aren't the right people."
  2. "Almost no one has applied for that job."
The second one I can understand when the application reads like an encyclopedia of "required" skills (which many of them are). I've looked at job openings and thought yes, yes, yes, er... gosh, no, hmm... yes, yes, nope... really? They require that skill? It's part of the problem with "laundry list" job requirements - and yet it's needed to help filter the flood of applications that many jobs might otherwise get. It's why Michael recommends you tweak your resume to "match" the job requirements. What about the first response? I know lots of "right people" but they are mostly very happy in their current workplace and aren't interested in applying for another job. In fact, when Broadchoice wanted to hire people, we drew up a shortlist of people we'd like to hire and then simply asked them to join us! It's a tactic I highly recommend. You might get turned down but you might not. The important thing here is not to think "I can't have X - they'd never come to work for us!" because that will stop you going after the people you really want. Go on, just ask them! So let's go back to part of Michael's question where he asks "why can't I get a ColdFusion job?" and let me assume he's asking specifically for himself and people like him, by which I mean "well-known people in the community". Why would a company not hire a "Community Expert" (to use Adobe's term for a select band of several hundred of the top-notch developers / designers in each product user base)? Part of the problem is our level of involvement in the community - we attend and speak at a lot of conferences, we seem to spend a huge amount of time blogging, answering posts on mailing lists, writing open source software and twittering. Given all that, how can we possibly have time for a full-time job? The conferences alone are a huge issue for many companies. I've had interviews where one of the first questions out of my prospective employer's mouth is "do you expect to continue attending several conferences a year if we hire you?". I've also actually been asked "do you really have time for a full-time job with all the community work you do?". There's also the aspect of "fit" with the team. If the company is looking for even a senior level developer to work in a team, they probably want someone who will work happily with their peers and code like a demon. Companies are wary of "Community Experts" because they fear those folks will want to change things, to "educate" the other developers, to introduce "new" technology and processes, to agitate for training and conference attendance. Heck, such outspoken people might even challenge management itself in trying to "improve" the way a company's software gets built! That can definitely work against the more outspoken members of our community. So, if you have thoughts on this subject, drop your thoughts on Michael's blog!

Tags: coldfusion

5 responses

  • 1 Todd Rafferty // Jun 30, 2009 at 4:12 AM

    Back in the day when I was on Team Macromedia, I was stoked. I told my employer about the news and they didn't really care. Didn't impact them as I was already doing work for them.
  • 2 RyanTJ // Jun 30, 2009 at 7:24 AM

    I've been on our companies hiring panel many times. Here are my thoughts.

    - list good examples of your work in the work history history.

    - don't be a lone ranger coder. If you are a single consultant try to do some jobs that involve a team and list those.

    - If you do not know an answer in the interview just say so rather than try to bluff it.

    - keep up on what the CF community is doing and try the frameworks and ideas they are using.

    To Sean's points we would love developers who are: "Community Experts", want to "educate", introduce "new" technology and processes and want to attend training and conference.

    However we are very much a team and a committee on decision making. We also have technology and processes in place that we feel are best practice. That does not mean we are not open to new ideas but rather you may want to find out the "why" we do it that way. Its very much a team decision.

    By the way we are hiring a senior CF developer.
    http://www.mayo-clinic-jobs.com/job/ROCHESTER,-MN-Senior-Analyst-Programmer-23956-Job/497314/
  • 3 Sam Farmer // Jun 30, 2009 at 7:35 AM

    I know you asked for comments on Michaels blog but I wanted to comment on one of your thoughts!

    Your advice about just asking people to join is a really good one and I one that I have used to great effect.

  • 4 David // Feb 17, 2010 at 6:01 AM

    Quack, quack, quack...

    No those are not real job ads. Michael, Sean your attendance at conferences is not the issue.

    It's the dedication to developing the product that is the issue. As well as the expense and control issues that come along with IT. It's just easier to keep things as they are. Who wants to authorize the expense and take the risk of developing new internal tools that could potentially put other departments out of work, eliminate jobs and lower workloads when the economy is tanked? nobody.

    Creating new company tools is a pretty threatening proposition. There are few new opportunities, and they tend to be very conservative 'manatience' positions.

    As a group, we need to discourage people from joining our ranks. The idea that there were going to be a tons of CF jobs was wishful thinking and planning on future growth which never happened. We now face competition from existing specialty applications such as peoplesoft and the outsourcing of programming work to countries such as India where the pay is 1/10 of what our salary requirements are.

    The answer is not to lower our requirements, that only breeds disrespect for our skills. Becoming a car mechanic pays better and requires less knowledge, less creativity and has greater job security; it's just wrong.

    Let's just be real, this is not a good opportunity for kids.
  • 5 Johnny Chang // Mar 2, 2010 at 7:14 AM

    I'm hiring a full-time/permanent CF Developer and it's paying 100K Base Salary here in Austin, TX - let me know if Anyone is interested :)

    The project is an interesting one - java-->CF migration.

    e-mail me at jchang@novotus.com if you're interested