December 13, 2000, 8:58 AM — With demand for Java programmers continuing to exceed supply, companies are
finding new ways to meet their development needs -- both by seeking new sources of
developers, and by making those they have more efficient.
Although the need for Java developers seems to be growing faster than universities
and development houses can train new workers, Java lends itself to creative staffing
solutions. Because it is a standards-based, object-oriented language, Java offers great
opportunities to break up and distribute development, both within and outside of an
"You want to start out by making your current developers more productive. The
companies we talk to have 10 Java developers and need five more. So we try and give the
10 the tools they need to get the job done," says Alan Armstrong, JProbe product
manager at the KL Group, in Toronto, which offers online libraries of Java code.
Relying on online code libraries, such as those from Rogue Wave Software and KL Group,
is one way that IT shops help developers do more with less.
"With the Internet remaking the economy, there just aren't enough people. Java is a
skill that's in great demand," says Ron Bodkin, chief technologist at C-Bridge, an
Internet solutions provider in Cambridge, Mass. "We put a premium on high-quality
individuals with an object background, and with business and communications skills."
RECRUITING THE RIGHT WAY
A June report by Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research suggests a strategy for
companies short on Java development talent: Find people by using outsourcing, training,
and recruiting, both at schools and online; then break development into segments
appropriate for developers at various levels.
Forrester breaks down the skills to include Java specialists (the hardest ones to
find), business developers (from existing ranks), and Java application builders (who
may be outsourced or hired and trained).
The report says companies should resist trying to hire "superprogrammers" and
instead divide the types of work involved in overall development. That way, the highest-
level developers can concentrate on server-side and distributed-application logic and
SOURCES OF TALENT
As with other business functions, from payroll to landscaping, enterprises are
looking outside themselves to fill gaps when hiring the properly trained staff isn't an
Flashline.com, for example, allows for an auction or posting-board approach to
finding developers to work on discrete parts of projects. It also offers a marketplace
approach for components to be acquired from outside an organization to plug in to an