Welcome!

Java IoT Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Roger Strukhoff, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Java IoT

Java IoT: Article

Let Age Approve of Youth

Let Age Approve of Youth

This month I'm going to go down the route of employment, because here at N-ARY, we're going through the painful process of recruiting. As usual, I'm going to analogize my findings with a human personality trait - this month I'm going to go for loyalty. But I'll come back to that in a moment.

We're expanding, and that brings more work with it. We need more bodies. Not a huge problem, one would have thought, to go and hire a couple of Java developers. Boy, were we mistaken! We never realized the minefield we'd be entering. Since we're based in the UK, we began our search on home soil.

First Things First
The first thing we prepared was a job specification. A good place to start. It was quickly established that there was a junior role that would in time develop into a more senior position. So we were looking for someone just out of university, or not long in industry. Due to the budget we had allocated for this new person and the nature of the work, a graduate fitted the bill perfectly. What we did insist on was someone with Java experience. Whether it was coding at university or during spare time, we needed someone who could code from day one, as opposed to our training them. Considering the claims from Sun concerning the number of Java developers in existence, we didn't think we were asking too much.

We began our search by first going to the place where graduates are supposed to hang out: universities. We e-mailed all the major universities in our country and got nowhere fast. Why? Wrong time of the year. Our search began around August of last year, but I was sure some graduates must still be lurking around after the exams. If they were, none presented themselves.

Around this time, I began to read many articles about the skills shortage the IT industry was experiencing. In fact, there was even a move in this country to train prisoners to deal with the Year 2000 problem. I'm not quite sure what happened to that scheme, but all seems to have gone quiet on that front. Somebody in our government must have thought it a good idea at the time. Bless.

While this shortage was being reported, another irony was unfolding. Everywhere you looked, another major corporation was laying off staff. Not just one or two people, but thousands. A quick trawl through c-net.com showed the full horror of the situation. According to the news reports found at C-NET, we have the likes of Nortel laying off 3,500 employees; Netscape, 300; SGI, 1,000 - and even our Japanese friends, with Hitachi laying off 650. These are just the big household names; I'm not even listing all the smaller companies that are getting rid of 20 to 50 people. It looks somewhat bleak.

But I have to ask: When so many are joining the job market, how come we're still experiencing a shortage? There are a number of possible reasons. First of all, the job cuts may be of nonskilled workers. This is possible, but I know some people that have left the ranks of Nortel, for example, and they are far from nonskilled. So let's assume it's not all administrative staff that's been removed. Besides, administrative people traditionally don't cost that much when compared to a highly trained developer. If the job cuts are made to save money, then removing a team of developers as opposed to a number of secretaries will save more. When the accountants need to make cuts, they look at the higher end salaries and begin with them, then generally work up. Stands to reason - getting rid of one person as opposed to the equivalent of three will keep morale higher and not look as bad to the press.

The assumption is that there are people now looking for jobs. Of course, if there is a skills shortage, but companies are making major job cuts, it begs the question of which companies are looking to hire. But let's not deal with that one just yet.

Okay now. On one hand we have the claim that says we're suffering a skills shortage; on the other we're making significant job cuts. Maybe the two are related. Maybe the reason there are so many job cuts is because the skills the company is looking for aren't actually in-house. This would make sense to some degree. But again, a question about retraining the said personnel raises its ugly head. Surely that's got to be cheaper than going through the whole firing and hiring loop.

Reality Check
But there's another possible reason that's a bit more controversial. What if there are enough bodies and they claim to have the skills, but when these people are hired companies find they've been duped? They discover the level of expertise isn't quite what they expected. Looking at the Java universe we can see this is very evident. A number of people claim to know Java, but when you look closely at their CVs you discover, for example, an HTML developer with no formal programming skills. Call me cynical, but a programmer that does not him/her make.

In our quest for Java developers we've seen many of these CVs. Most are worthless. We need a developer, a software engineer. We don't need another HTML body. We need someone who knows algorithms, someone who knows one end of a class from another. Sadly, the self-taught brigades aren't up to scratch.

But why is there a skills shortage? Why are so many people not trained for the jobs the industry is looking to fill? Is it because companies have taken on too much work? Have they oversold themselves? Who knows? A general slowdown of development wouldn't go amiss, and regular readers of this column know that I'm all for a general slowdown of Java to allow the rest of the world to catch up.

Where Is Everybody?
Taking this into account, our search for souls was getting nowhere fast. We then looked at other available resources - the recruitment agencies. This turned out to be fun. At this point I'd like to curse the person or persons who felt it was a good idea to name the HTML scripting language "JavaScript." Do they realize the amount of confusion and heartache this has caused the industry?

We sent our job specification to the agencies and instantly our inbox began to fill with potential candidates. We were excited. At last, potential N-ARY employees were coming in! Our initial excitement was soon to dampen, however, as we read JavaScript over and over again. These aren't Java developers! What's going on here?

We phoned some of the agencies. We said, "Thanks, but no thanks. You haven't sent the right sort of candidates."

"But we did," came the answer. "You mean Java has nothing to do with JavaScript?"

A learning curve is still to be taken by some agencies, it would appear. Which is frightening when you think about it. Companies are trusting such agencies to be their recruitment agents. If anybody should know the difference, they should!

Once the difference was pointed out, the inbox didn't get quite the same amount of attention. And the CVs that did come through were not that great but still felt the need to ask for huge amounts of money, which I found highly amusing.

Don't get me wrong. We have no problem paying for good people. As the old saying goes, "Pay peanuts? Get monkeys." But if we have to pay for the poorly skilled, it staggers the imagination to think what highly skilled people want.

So what seemed to be an innocent enough task - to hire a couple of bodies - was turning out to be as difficult as the quest for the Holy Grail. Exasperated, we decided to look for developers beyond the bounds of our own country. We've used the services of PSI Limited in India. This large Indian development house, run by one Mukesh Patel, did us proud with a number of Java projects so our faith in overseas developers was high.

We quickly updated our job specification to include free accommodation, and sent it off to various universities around the globe. The beauty of the Internet meant this wasn't that big a task. Well, what a difference that made!

Not only did we get CVs in, but they were of a very high standard, complete with examples of work and references. They liked the salary, they liked where they would be working and they were extremely enthusiastic. The upshot? We hired a recent doctorate from Thailand who majored in Java Servlets and JDBC, and we're still choosing another from a large pool of CVs.

I think the whole thing boils down to money. There is always a discussion of how the Asian countries are polluting the industry by driving down salaries. I think this is a good thing, not a bad thing. I personally feel we are sometimes overpaid, and as a by-product some of us get complacent. We stop trying. We know we're in demand, and if we don't get on with management or if we do something wrong, we know we'll be snapped up again, probably with a pay rise.

Our industry suffers from a high staff turnover rate. Sometimes I feel I have the kiss of death with regard to people. In the last year around 70% of all the people I have built up a rapport with have left their companies and moved on. It's funny on the one hand but extremely frustrating on the other. Surely this continual moving about can't be doing the industry as a whole any good. Something has to give.

Back to Loyalty
Back to our trait of the month, loyalty. Are people no longer loyal to their companies? When the going gets tough, it's too easy to move. In our world a company's greatest asset is its employees. We develop virtual products, software, which has to be maintained and further enhanced. Changing the team all the time isn't healthy, for the company or the end client. I don't think it's a case of the company needing to try harder to keep their staff. After all, there's a limit to the salary you can pay one person.

So I welcome this new influx of people that are keen, enthusiastic and above all looking to work for the love of it as opposed to the dollar. That is, of course, until they discover how the world operates and we lose them, and have to start this whole process over again!

More Stories By Alan Williamson

Alan Williamson is widely recognized as an early expert on Cloud Computing, he is Co-Founder of aw2.0 Ltd, a software company specializing in deploying software solutions within Cloud networks. Alan is a Sun Java Champion and creator of OpenBlueDragon (an open source Java CFML runtime engine). With many books, articles and speaking engagements under his belt, Alan likes to talk passionately about what can be done TODAY and not get caught up in the marketing hype of TOMORROW. Follow his blog, http://alan.blog-city.com/ or e-mail him at cloud(at)alanwilliamson.org.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
"Digital transformation - what we knew about it in the past has been redefined. Automation is going to play such a huge role in that because the culture, the technology, and the business operations are being shifted now," stated Brian Boeggeman, VP of Alliances & Partnerships at Ayehu, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Evatronix provides design services to companies that need to integrate the IoT technology in their products but they don't necessarily have the expertise, knowledge and design team to do so," explained Adam Morawiec, VP of Business Development at Evatronix, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
In his Opening Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, John Considine, General Manager of IBM Cloud Infrastructure, led attendees through the exciting evolution of the cloud. He looked at this major disruption from the perspective of technology, business models, and what this means for enterprises of all sizes. John Considine is General Manager of Cloud Infrastructure Services at IBM. In that role he is responsible for leading IBM’s public cloud infrastructure including strategy, development, and offering m...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
The 22nd International Cloud Expo | 1st DXWorld Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, to be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY, brings together Cloud Computing, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding busin...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Synametrics Technologies will exhibit at SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Synametrics Technologies is a privately held company based in Plainsboro, New Jersey that has been providing solutions for the developer community since 1997. Based on the success of its initial product offerings such as WinSQL, Xeams, SynaMan and Syncrify, Synametrics continues to create and hone inn...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo have announced the conference tracks for Cloud Expo 2018. Cloud Expo will be held June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, and November 6-8, 2018, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with the introduction of DX Expo within the program. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive ov...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Recently, REAN Cloud built a digital concierge for a North Carolina hospital that had observed that most patient call button questions were repetitive. In addition, the paper-based process used to measure patient health metrics was laborious, not in real-time and sometimes error-prone. In their session at 21st Cloud Expo, Sean Finnerty, Executive Director, Practice Lead, Health Care & Life Science at REAN Cloud, and Dr. S.P.T. Krishnan, Principal Architect at REAN Cloud, discussed how they built...
Recently, WebRTC has a lot of eyes from market. The use cases of WebRTC are expanding - video chat, online education, online health care etc. Not only for human-to-human communication, but also IoT use cases such as machine to human use cases can be seen recently. One of the typical use-case is remote camera monitoring. With WebRTC, people can have interoperability and flexibility for deploying monitoring service. However, the benefit of WebRTC for IoT is not only its convenience and interopera...
With tough new regulations coming to Europe on data privacy in May 2018, Calligo will explain why in reality the effect is global and transforms how you consider critical data. EU GDPR fundamentally rewrites the rules for cloud, Big Data and IoT. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Adam Ryan, Vice President and General Manager EMEA at Calligo, examined the regulations and provided insight on how it affects technology, challenges the established rules and will usher in new levels of diligence arou...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...
22nd International Cloud Expo, taking place June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, and co-located with the 1st DXWorld Expo will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud ...