Sunday, 30 August 2009

Wondering about the state of Java Developers

A friend of mine forwarded this article by Yakov Fain on sys-con.com -

http://in.sys-con.com/node/1040135

The essence of the article is this

The author interviewed a lot of people for developer positions, and most of them who call themselves Java developers and cite extensive experience in J2EE lack basic knowledge of core Java.

This might sound suspiciously like a gross generalization, but I believe that's not the case. I had a similar experience when I interviewed people for developer positions on my team last month. The position called for both Java and Javascript experience. These are the things I encountered -

  • Most people who have worked solely on services (read outsourced) projects list all J* technologies on their resume, but know very little in depth of Java programming.
  • There are people who lack any kind of programmer mentality or skills at all and put their current role as something like Programmer Analyst, and this fact cannot be ascertained from their resume alone. They often try to highlight other (non-software development) achievements.
  • SCJP certification is no guarantee that a person can code in Java (Surprise? Not at all)
  • There are people who have 3.5 years of experience, with multiple services projects under their belts, and familiarity with a host of technologies, who cannot write a Java class which will print out the prime numbers between 0 and 100.
  • Most core CS concepts are forgotten after 2-3 years of working in services projects.

Please note that I am not generalizing, but these facts do indicate a problem somewhere. These developers actually a represent a very small distinct sample of the worldwide developer community, since all my interviews were done in India (both face to face in my Hyderabad office and over the phone).

Another interesting point I noted was that most non-Javascript developers think that Javascript is used only for form validation. Such usage also qualifies as 'extensive Javascript knowledge' in their resumes.
What should I conclude from this? Is this malaise widespread in other parts of the world as well? Is it specific to developers in India working on outsourced projects? (No, as the link by Yakov Fain shows) Is it a result of outsourcing, leading to a lack of innovation? Or is the innovation there, but the signal to noise ratio too low?