There has been a dramatic shift in the market for developer skills. The future will depend on having the right tools to effectively deliver business success. 

There are jobs in the jobless recovery – and skilled developers of any flavour rarely spend much time in the unemployment line. But I think this consistent demand obscures a deeply significant shift in that the market for developer skills.The future will be owned by those who can effectively optimize products and platforms to deliver business success – not by developers in the trenches.

The shift to SharePoint 2010 and Sitecore from .NET

The history of computer science has been the history of greater levels of abstraction – both as development languages have evolved (from machine code to c#) and as the technical ecosystem reacts to market demand. Products and platforms are the logical next step in this process of abstraction. SharePoint 2010 and Sitecore are two examples.

In both cases, however, the abstraction has reached a level where developers need more than the ability to parse a problem logically to be successful; they must operate at the level of business concepts and terminology. “If-then-else” statements become transmogrified into workflow and responsibility analysis grids. Controls become proactively personalizable elements. And technical elegance is replaced by driving business outcomes. 

This is a hard transition. Because it is hard, demand for solutions expertise in SharePoint and Sitecore is growing at astonishing rates.

Products and platform expertise trumping core .NET skills

The following graphs are from indeed.com. They illustrate the relative growth in job postings containing specific terms. 

Chart_One

In absolute terms, there are more job posts containing .NET than SharePoint. But SharePoint job growth is eclipsing .NET on a relative basis, up 800% over three years. 

Chart_Two

Similarly, there are many more job posts containing .NET than Sitecore. But the exploding need for Sitecore developer is even more clear – increasing almost 18,000 percent in the past three and a half years:  The exponential growth of the demand for product-specific expertise is unmistakable.

The message for .NET developers

To me, the message for .NET developers is clear – your career prospects will be much brighter if you are able to:

  1. Gain an understanding of business principles

  2. Develop insight into how these principles can be applied using a popular platform or product

  3. Build expertise in the specific challenges and potentials of these platforms

The message for firms like nonlinear creations is equally crisp – help your development team make this transition by investing in your people. Help them understand both the specifics of these platforms and their potential to transform businesses. And maintain a laser like focus on the piece that really matters in the long term – the value your activities deliver to your clients.

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