In its June report, Dice.com broke down IT skill shortages by region and I spoke with the site's managing director, Alice Hill, about them.
One constant, though, across the country were high demand for workers with skills in Java and .NET. Not necessarily both, but one or the other. A couple of years ago, though, my colleague Loraine Lawson wrote that many companies support both.
The trick with that approach, it seems to me, would be ensuring you're offsetting the problems of one with the strengths of the other rather than just doubling your problems.
She said more companies at that time (2008) planned to invest more in .NET than Java, yet Java ranked No. 1 in every region of the country in Dice's recent report as the hardest skill to find; .NET was in the top five across the board.
Meanwhile, in a piece at InfoWorld, writer Neil McAllister suggests that both are becoming legacy platforms and that even enterprise developers will be looking for something else. If companies struggle to fill these positions, it would seem that could hasten the process.
He mentions that the Java Community Process (JCP) this month approved Java SE 7 amid infighting, the first major revision to the core platform in five years, yet many developers don't believe it goes far enough. And there have been 26 updates to Java SE 6, mostly to update security vulnerabilities and performance issues.
Yet many developers aren't confident of Microsoft's support for developers who code .NET applications in a variety of different languages to shore up its shortcomings. And they're not sure of Microsoft's strategy. Writes McAllister:
Even if the futures of Java and .Net are unclear, both platforms still provide what enterprise developers really want most, which is consistency. Just stick with what works, don't worry about the future stuff, and everything will be just fine.
But the problem with this manner of thinking is that "what works" for today's paradigm might not be what works for tomorrow's computing market. If I'm right, and application development is heading toward a model based on clients plus the cloud, then neither the status quo of today's enterprise platforms nor their lumbering pace will serve enterprise developers for long.