Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Job Trends: Spring, WebSphere, WebLogic - what a difference a year makes!

Last year I wrote "Job Trends: Tomcat, Spring, Weblogic, JBoss, EJB" where I discussed the trend towards "Lean Software" and the role that Spring plays in this important movement.

A lot has happened over the past year. CIO's have identified Virtualization and Cloud computing as their top two strategic technologies for 2010. Lean Software has become even more of a Business Technology Imperative than it was a year ago. And, the job market over the past year has been challenging at best.

With that as a backdrop, let's see what the job market looks like for Spring Java developer skills versus the other industry heavyweights.

The chart nicely illustrates that Spring Java developer skills (green line) have been on an inexorable path upwards for the past 5 years. WebSphere Java developer skills (blue line) are next and have been on a downward path for the past year and a half. WebLogic Java developer skills (orange line) round out the chart and have been relatively flat over the past few years.

Companies continue to value lightweight application infrastructure skills (i.e. Spring) since this provides them a way to create applications more quickly and therefore be more competitive. More speculatively, I believe that Virtualization and Cloud computing initiatives are accelerating this trend since these initiatives are forcing enterprises to take a hard look at how they are building and deploying applications...and to take measures (and hire talent) that dramatically simplify the process.

Since I work at the SpringSource division of VMware, I have a keen interest in the health and vibrancy of the Spring community. I'm happy to see that even in a tough job market, the demand for Spring Java developer skills continues to grow.

Credits: I used Indeed.com to generate the chart above. Indeed.com searches millions of jobs from thousands of job sites and provides a neat service that lets you see job trends for whatever search criteria you may have. My criteria was Java Developers that have Spring, WebSphere, or WebLogic skills. Click here to go to Indeed.com to see the latest view of my chart above.


Sacha Labourey said...

Hello Shaun,

Long time no see, I hope you are doing fine :) Good to see you blogging again btw.

Spring is definitively gaining good traction in enterprises, congratulations.

Yet, I think your graph is misleading since it compares two very different things: a programming model on one side (Spring) and runtimes/servers on the other (WL and WS).

The reason I think it is misleading is that Spring developers typically deploy on ... an application server (Tomcat or JBoss but also WL and WS). Consequently, I see this as an orthogonal concern, not a competitive one.

Hence, two better searches could be:
1 - runtime comparison, and
2 - programming model comparison (EE vs Spring)

The first comparison is here:

(note that even this comparison is slightly misleading since Tomcat is used both in TCServer and JBoss)

And the second one is here:

(and this one is possibly incomplete since it doesn't capture the standalone "EE" keyword)

BTW, the fact that Spring is used across all AS is one of the top reasons why I think VMWare's acquisition was smart: they got a cross-cutting share of all types of Java developers, in all types of enterprises (since the type of enterprises you can reach out to is mostly driven by the AS, not by the programming model).



P.S.: it is also interesting to note that Spring seems to grow equally well on all AS: http://www.indeed.com/jobtrends?q=spring+and+jboss,+spring+and+weblogic,+spring+and+websphere,+spring+and+tomcat&l=

Shaun Connolly said...

Hi Sacha,

Great to hear from you and thanks for the comments.

My rationale for the chart's criteria is meant to reflect terms people put into resumes and job postings.

Indeed.com is about job postings and resumes, so my choice of terms is not really a app server platform versus programming model thing or a product-specific thing. It's really more about what skills and "brands" do people feel compelled to specify within a resume or a job posting.

For example, WebSphere is a well established brand that spans far beyond just an app server. If you look within large enterprises that are IBM shops, they typically want to recruit developers specifically with WebSphere expertise. Yes, technically you and I know that equates to J2EE or Java EE or EJB, but at the end of the day familiarity with WebSphere is specified.

You are correct to point out that Spring skills equally apply across app server products (as one of your links illustrates). And over time, I expect to see cloud platforms such as VMforce or Google App Engine to follow that pattern.

So, the point of the chart is to illustrate that the market for Spring Java developer skills is vibrant and growing.

Hope that explains things.

On a side note:
I'm glad to see that you are getting back into the game. Good luck on Cloud Bees!