Have You Reached Your Tipping Point?
By Jonathan Goodyear
In life, there are times when something happens that finally prompts you to make a move of some sort. For instance, if your car is getting old and a new model of the car you ve been wanting comes out, you may find yourself at the car dealership buying a new vehicle. The situation was right. The stars were in alignment. In his book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell called this the tipping point (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0316346624/sr=8-1/qid=1140448160/104-8435490-0746323). This month, I m going to talk about the release of Visual Studio 2005 and its impact as a tipping point on your career.
Why was the release of Visual Studio 2005 a tipping point? Take a quick look around and the answer will become obvious. Before VS 2005, there was a steady movement toward .NET development in the IT industry. Since the release of VS 2005, that movement has become a tsunami. It seems that the companies that were holding off for the quality bar that Microsoft typically reaches with a version 3 product are finally making the move to .NET. Another reason for the major shift is that the previous two .NET versions were powerful and feature-packed, but you still got the feeling they were half-baked. VS 2005 brings with it a unified architecture (especially in ASP.NET) that is also prompting companies that were already on board with .NET to upgrade to the newest version.
All of this new .NET 2.0 development has to be done by somebody. But who? At the moment, demand for .NET developers is far outstripping supply. The shortage is so great, in fact, that CNNMoney.com has listed Microsoft .NET developers as one of the top five most in-demand jobs across all disciplines (http://money.cnn.com/2006/02/03/pf/pay_hike_jobseeker/). I ve felt this shortage quite a bit as the owner of a consulting company focused on .NET that has national reach, so I know it s real and not a local anomaly.
You may recall a similar developer shortage about six years ago when the dot com boom was in full swing. The difference between then and now, though, is the level of talent that it takes to enter the market. Classic ASP was a script language that had almost no barriers to entry. Indeed, very little thought was usually given to proper architecture.
However, a much more seasoned breed of developer is needed to properly tackle ASP.NET 2.0 development. That includes both new development and conversions of older applications. Although just about anybody can plop some ASP.NET controls on a Web page and wire up some events, companies want developers who understand the entire development process and can make good architectural decisions that leverage the new v2.0 features. Put simply, if you re not currently an ASP.NET developer, you re not going to be able to inject yourself into the demand pipeline like you would have been able to do before. I should note that there has also been an increase in demand for Smart Client developers, but the increase has not been as significant as in the Web development space.
If you have been keeping your skills up to date by working with the Visual Studio 2005 beta (as asp.netPRO subscribers, I know you have) and have some solid experience with it, you now have one of the most coveted of things options:
- You can stay where you are and work on the new .NET projects your current employer is probably thinking up right now.
- You could score a nice raise in pay by shopping your resume around a bit to other employers.
- Or, now may be a good time to make a move into consulting, because employers are having such a hard time finding developers with your skill set.
You just need to decide whether you ve reached your tipping point. Either way, it s a great time to be a Microsoft .NET developer.
Jonathan Goodyear is president of ASPSoft (http://www.aspsoft.com), an Internet consulting firm based in Orlando, FL. Jonathan is Microsoft Regional Director for Florida, a Microsoft Certified Solution Developer (MCSD), and author of Debugging ASP.NET (New Riders). Jonathan also is a contributing editor for asp.netPRO. E-mail him at mailto:[email protected] or through his angryCoder eZine at http://www.angryCoder.com.