Friday, May 2

The Albany Tech Market - Part II

OK, quick recap. I'd been in Rochester nine years, worked a few fulltime roles and a number of contract/consulting positions.

Over the years, I'd done what I could to keep an eye on the Albany market. There was little or no call for classic ASP that I ever saw. Java, sure. RPG, yeah. COBOL, yep. C++, absolutely.

.NET was slow to gain traction in the Capital District; when I first really dove into .NET, and C#, at the end of 2005 (I'd worked -- loosely -- in VB.NET previously half-porting classic ASP stuff into ASP.NET 1.0/1.1) I was pretty head-down in various projects, and hadn't checked the Albany market in a while. When I started looking for .NET jobs in the area in the summer of 2006, there were a decent number of listings on Monster, mostly through recruiters. I ended up hooking up with Davis Vision through Robert Half -- an absolutely miserable experience. (Not the Davis aspect -- Davis is 100% pure awesome.)

Allow me to note: I do not, in any manner, way, shape, fashion nor form, endorse the Robert Half experience. Nor any "big" recruiter either. Stick with the locals. Stick with the places that realize you're important enough that you're in touch with principals, not fresh-faced account reps eager to earn a commission and move on to the next available target to leach off of.

Speaking of locals, and speaking of .NET being slow to gain traction, Art Bianco, principal at Computer Technical Services (CTS) in Great Oaks, has echoed my feel on .NET jobs in the area. As someone who's done fair amount of Java and mainframe placements, as of February 2008, Art feels that, yes, .NET listings have certainly been increasing in the Albany area for a while now, though perhaps not disproportionately to listings in other technologies.

I know we at Davis Vision are constantly looking for great .NET people -- our architect has been through many dozens of resumes, phone screened dozens of those. We've interviewed some ... 8 or 10? candidates in the 18 months I've been there. We've offered less than half of those interviewed, we've hired 3. We're still looking for more, but they seem to be hard to find. There's a maxim I read recently about the number of truly good software engineers in any technology not increasing with time. Very limited resource -- the early adopters are often the true professionals and enthusiasts, and everyone else who comes along got into the game because they saw it as an easy route to a good income. I think the noise we see on the DotNetDevelopment Google Group demonstrates this all too well.

I know Jennifer Lee, HR manager at AutoTask, is constantly looking for good .NET people. I know Art Bianco of CTS is looking for good .NET people, and Susan Lundberg, principal at Capital Tech Search, is often looking for good .NET people as well as a variety of other technical roles. Other local recruitment firms seem to have a number of listings as well, but I'm not sure how unique they are beyond what Computer Technical Services and Capital Tech Search offer. I know VersaTrans was hiring, not certain of their current status; they were recently acquired I believe.

craigslist is, like anyplace else, pretty noisy, often spammy. There are definitely a lot of web-related listings, but most of them want something for nothing, or want the world, in PHP, for $12/hour 20hours/week. That said, in the 14 months or so I've been glancing at craigslist, I have hooked up with two solid, paying, .NET-centric clients. One of those opportunities has led to me taking a CTO title. I also know Agora Games over in Troy lists positions on craigslist.


Unknown said...

A lot of good information in this post. Thanks for sharing the list of possible opportunites. It would be fun to do game development!

Andrew Badera said...

You know, once upon a time, game development was my ultimate goal. After I started freelancing as a teen, never really got into C++, never got into OpenGL, glossed over or didn't take harder core math classes (kicking myself now, may go back for them) business and mobile stuff kind of took over for me.

I still think working in game dev would be cool, but probably as a department head or director, than as a developer.