I found myself, again, at a crossroads. Recently I decided to update my resume. I had accounts on Dice, Monster, CareerBuilder, and ComputerJobs from my last job search, so I decided it couldn't hurt to keep them up to date. I had been in my current position for sixteen months, learned a few things, accomplished various goals, and thought it would be a good idea.

As I completed the first update I looked at the setting where I had the option to keep the profile private or make it public. I said to myself, "Self," because that's what I call myself, "Self, let's make it public and see what happens." Couldn't hurt. What's the worst that could happen?

My last job search took three months before I had massaged my resume in such a way as to be recognized for a development position. After being an IT Director for three years it wasn't easy getting back into core development. This time around was a little different, and I definitely learned a little about the market today in the process. Day one I recieved eight phone calls and nineteen emails, and continued to receive at least five calls a week for almost two months. I've responded to every email that his been sent to me, of which there have been more the 200. I had 9 phone interviews, three face-to-face (with one out of state), received three separate offers, plus had one that was waiting to submit an offer after getting notice on a government contract award. The last one hadn't even met me, they were going off the phone interviews alone. The jobs are out there, and I want to share with you some of the things I have noticed.

  • Get Certified - I've never held much stock in certifications. I'm almost entirely self taught, and believe that experience is the best teacher. But I recently decided to go ahead and take the ColdFusion Certification Exam, after being a ColdFusion developer for the past seven years. It helps. People notice that you've taken the time to 'prove' your skill, which is an important asset if most of your development sits behind a firewall.
  • Learn Frameworks - Even if you don't use them day-to-day, a better than average understanding of frameworks, their differences, and what they can do for you do show that you are more than a hobbyist or a hack. Not to say that there aren't real developers out there who don't use frameworks, but it shows that you're willing to explore new avenues of honing your craft.
  • Get Involved - (CF) Community involvement shows that you try to stay current in your knowledge, and are willing to contribute on a team level (even if it is a broad team). Active participation in forums, mailing lists and open source projects help the community-at-large, by both providing useful tools for fellow developers and by mentoring junior developers. I began this blog to give a little back to the community that helped me learn along the way, but by doing so I have also made myself 'known.' I wasn't expecting that when I started this. You would definitely call it a hidden benefit.
  • Become Well Rounded - Learn the skills that surround your core value. ColdFusion is a web development language, and employers are looking for people who know web technologies. ColdFusion, without XHTML, CSS, JavaScript, and XML, is useless for an advanced position. And knowledge of SQL, beyond basic CRUD and simple select statements, is essential.
  • The More You Know - Web 2.0 may be a buzzword, but companies know that RIAs (AJAX, Flash, and Flex) are hot. They want it. They want it bad, and they're willing to pay more to those who know and understand it.
  • Learn Flex - I have a small line at the bottom of my resume that is a list of 'Self Study' items. In this list I included Flex, since I have begun to learn it (and love it). That one word accounted for at least 30% of all communications in the past two months. The demand is deep, and the talent pool shallow. If you apply yourself to learning only one 'language' outside of the core set, Flex is the one you want.
  • Apollo Is Next - At the time I updated my resume Apollo hadn't yet been released, but I'd bank on a similar reaction.
  • ColdFusion Is Getting Stronger - During my last job search I didn't even see 200 postings in a six month period. ColdFusion is beginning to bypass any stigmas that may have been associated with it, not only as a true Rapid Application Development language but also as an enterprise level development platform. All of us have known it for years, and now corporate America is catching up fast (and when Scorpio is released they won't know what hit 'em.)

It was a very difficult decision for my family and I, but ultimately I decided to accept an offer that allowed me to stay right here in Nashville. I like it here, my family likes it here. But, it's nice to know that the next time around I have options that weren't previously available to me. Hopefully the list above will allow some of you, dear readers, to expand your options as well.