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Poll Result: Software Engineering Job Market Reflects Sluggish Economy

Posted by editor on March 19, 2010 at 10:53 AM PDT

The results of this past week's java.net poll suggest that the global economic recovery has a long way to go before most software engineers will feel like the job market has returned to normal -- but, maybe we're past the bottom, or at least at the bottom (things won't get any worse?). A total of 295 votes were cast in the poll. Here's the exact question and the results:

Is the software engineering job market improving?

  • 19% (56 votes) - Yes, there's plenty of work available now
  • 27% (79 votes) - It's not too bad now, I'll get by
  • 21% (62 votes) - I'm still waiting for the promised "recovery"
  • 6% (18 votes) - The situation continues to worsen
  • 25% (75 votes) - I don't know
  • 2% (5 votes) - Other

For about a fifth of developers, the global economic crisis never really had much effect on their employment opportunities -- work has remained plentiful. This was also reflected in our 2010 outlook poll, where 22% of the voters selected "2009 was great for me; 2010 will be great too"; and in our mid-2009 Java technologies employment market poll, where 20% of voters said the employment market was "excellent, plenty of opportunities."

Somewhere, in the past few months, I read that in the Great Depression of the 1930s, for those who had a job, times were actually pretty good. This article was talking specifically about the United States. However, at several points in the 1930s only 75% of U.S. people who wanted to work had a job.

Right now, a year and a half after the global economic near-meltdown, a lot of people aren't in a comfortable situation with respect to jobs. In our current poll, 21% are still waiting for the "recovery" and 6% find the situation continuing to worsen.

Another not too encouraging set of data points: in last June's poll, 47% said the Java technologies employment market was "stable, I have enough work"; but in the current poll, only 27% said the software engineering market is "not too bad now, I'll get by."

Of course, these are not scientific polls, and the questions and response options were not identical. Still, my assessment is that these results offer a pretty gloomy view.

How about the 25% who selected "I don't know" in this week's poll? We've had the worst global economic downturn since the 1930s, and 25% of people don't know if the software engineering market is improving? Doesn't that suggest that these people think we may well be right at the bottom? They didn't select "the situation continues to worsen" but they don't know if the job market is improving. That means, I think, that times are still bad for many of these people. Possibly, of course, some people who have plenty of work selected "I don't know" -- but my guess is that the majority who selected this do not see bright horizons at present.

Are economic times really bad now? I've made most of my lifetime income developing software that analyzes data, so I tend to rely on plots to make many of my judgments on what's happening and how things are changing over time. Right now, there are a lot of scary graphs out there! See, for example, Mike Shedlock's I'm Sure Glad The Recession Ended.

If you want to get even more scared, visit sites like ZeroHedge and Reggie Middleton's BoomBustBlog.

Mind you, people have been predicting the collapse of civilization for as long as I can remember. What's scary now, though, is that such talk is backed up by graphs and tables produced and interpreted by very intelligent people.

So, we must all be as productive as we possibly can be! How else can we help lift the global economy out of its slump?

New poll: Java EE

Which leads me to the new java.net poll, which is about Java EE, something that seems to be facilitating quite high levels of productivity today. Many who attended James Gosling's keynote at TheServerSide Java Symposium this week were very enthusiastic watching the Java EE 6 demos -- see my collation of tweets from James's keynote to see what I mean.

Then there's Lincoln Baxter's Why doesn’t (JPA, JMS, JTA, EJB, JSF, CDI) work? JEE is “Too Complicated” -- which has elicted 70 positive "Zone It" clicks and 51 comments as I write this.

So, what's your current view of Java EE? The poll lists several Java EE related statements, and asks Which Java EE statement do you agree with most? The poll will run for the next week.


In Java Today, Matt Raible, who is attending TheServerSide Java Symposium, posted C++, Java and .NET: Lessons Learned from the Internet Age:

Today at TSSJS, I attended Cameron Purdy's keynote titled C++, Java and .NET: Lessons learned from the Internet Age, and What it means for the Cloud and Emerging Languages. His talk was a retrospective of the trade-offs compared to C++ illustrated by Java, C# and other VM-based programming languages with Garbage-Collection, scripting languages simultaneously thrived, and what this teaches us about the applicability of technology to emerging challenges and environments such as cloud computing. Why did Java become so successful? ...

Adam Bien asks Which Deployment Option Would You Use for a Mission Critical Application?:

You have the following deployment options in Java EE (J2EE/5/6): 1. Deploying an EAR / WAR to a multi-project or dedicated server; 2. Cluster deployment: deployment units get spread across the nodes, you get HTTPSession and @Stateful Bean failover; 3. Cluster deployment, but no replication or failover. You get easy distribution and management (deactivating, disabling) of deployment units; 4. Dynamic environment: your application is split across loose-coupled modules, which could be managed independently...

Dustin Marx documents the procedure for Changing the Default NetBeans License Template:

In my previous blog post, I demonstrated how to remove the annoying template instruction comment added to all NetBeans-generated files. Peter Hull pointed out that one could also use this for a license as documented in Geertjan's Blog in the post Project-Level License Settings in NetBeans IDE 6.0. Although I generally don't need to include the license in the source code of software products I work on, this can be a useful feature for those that do...


In the Weblogs, John Ferguson Smart announces the TDD/BDD/ATDD Workshop in Melbourne in April:

The Testing and TDD for Java Developers workshop is coming to Melbourne again on April 15-16. In my experience (and that of many others), when done well, agile developer testing practices can have a huge and lasting impact on higher code quality, better designed and documented code, more relevent code, and reduced defect rates. This session is a very practical and pragmatic TDD/BDD workshop, where students spend two very full days writing a real Java application using Test-Driven Development and Behaviour-Driven Development techniques along with a variety of tools, including the latest features of JUnit 4.7, mocking and stubbing effectively with Mockito, BDD-style acceptance tests with easyb, Selenium and JWebUnit, database testing...

Masoud Kalili talks about Using Spring Security to enforce authentication and authorization on Spring Remoting Services Invoked from a Java SE client...:

Spring framework is one of the biggest and the most comprehensive frameworks Java Community can utilize to cover most of the  end to end requirement of a software system when it come to implementation. Spring Security and Spring Remoting are two important parts of the framework which covers security in a descriptive way and let us have remote invocation of a spring bean methods using a local proxy. In this entry I will show you how we can use spring security to secure a spring bean exposed over HTTP and invoke its secured methods from an standalone client...

Mark Hadley describes Declarative Hyperlinking Enhancements:

I've spent some time fleshing out the code in the experimental declarative hyperlinking module I blogged about earlier. In that earlier entry I showed how you could use the new @Link annotation with existing URI templates either explicitly like this:

@Link("widgets/{id}")
URI link;
or by referencing a resource class @Path annotation value like this...


In the Forums, digitalsol noticed an LWUIT Bug in the virtual keyboard: Hello, I've noticed a bug in the virtual keyboard. I have the following restriction of a text field : testTF.setConstraint(TextField.NUMERIC); testTF.setInputMode("123"); and I'm using the virtual keyboard in my...

sponarun needs to combine data and schema in JAXB: Hello There, I am having a small request. My web service providing only data(not schema) when the client placing the request. But my client requires both data and schema as a single stream to present. I meant i...

In the GlassFish forum, sibbi has q problem involving Web Service authentification in BPEL process: Hi, I have a problem with the invoke of a web service. I have to authentificate me with an username and password (i have the username and teh password) without a secure connection. How can I adjust this security adjustment in the...


Our Spotlight this week is the Jersey 1.1.5.1 release:

We have just released version 1.1.5.1 of Jersey, the open source, production quality, reference implementation of JAX-RS. The JAX-RS 1.1 specification is available at the JCP web site and also available in non-normative HTML here...


The new java.net Poll lists several Java EE related statements, and asks Which Java EE statement do you agree with most? The poll will run for the next week.


Our latest Feature Article is Getting Started with Java and SQLite on Blackberry OS 5.0 by Java Champion Bruce Hopkins -- learn how to create applications that utilize SQLite on Blackberry OS 5.0. We're also featuring Dibyendu Roy's Rethinking Multi-Threaded Design Principles; in the emerging multicore/multiprocessor world, multi-threaded programming is critical, in my view. And in Has JDBC Kept up with Enterprise Requirements?, Jesse Davis invites us to look beyond Type 4 architecture to address the latest requirements of the enterprise Java ecosystem.


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-- Kevin Farnham

O'Reilly Media
Twitter: @kevin_farnham