Saturday, April 28, 2007

Victims Of J2EE Success

Posted by: Dan Creswell

The vast majority of server-side Java programmers have J2EE on their resumes, they pride themselves for being experts in this particular technology but there's a problem. Many of these programmers have their minds warped into the J2EE way of thinking:

  1. There is nothing beyond the database
  2. POJOs focused purely on business logic
  3. This is distributed programming
  4. Ops is someone elses problem
  5. Deploy more or bigger boxes to scale

Most enterprises can comfortably tolerate systems built this way but what if you're not most enterprises? What if you are an eBay or a MySpace? eBay for example have thrown out almost all of J2EE and built their own libraries to tackle the problems they face around:

  1. Monitoring
  2. Hot Upgrades
  3. Scaling

Basically once you're beyond a certain level of challenge the J2EE way of thought and patterns of design don't work. So where does one find Java programmers that can cope with such a challenge? They're going to need serious knowledge of:

  1. Deployment
  2. Monitoring
  3. Networking
  4. FLP
  5. SEDA
  6. Threads
  7. …..

But put that on a job advert and see how many responses you get! J2EE is a raging success to be sure but if you're a company that can't use it you're likely going to be a victim of that success when looking to hire server-side Java programmers.

All of this has me wondering how one should frame job adverts of this nature. Should we even bother asking for Java experience or simply drop the language/platform constraint entirely? What should we be asking for? Multi-user online game programming perhaps? What else?

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