Where to find senior Flex developers?

Adobe Flex enterprise market picks up really fast, and it’s obvious that the need of in Flex developers will only get bigger and bigger. The question is what kind of Flex developers are in huge demand. I’ll share with you the experience of our company (Farata Systems), but first, let’s look at the diagram from the popular job aggregator indeed.com.

I’ve entered Flex Java and Adobe Flex as my search criteria for the Indeed’s trends analyzer, and as you can see the need for developers with just Flex skills grew six times since Flex 2 has been released in June of 2006. The need of people with Flex and Java skills has also tripled.

In a recent editorial I’ve described three types of Flex developers on a typical enterprise project. This time, I’ll share with you a typical start of a new project based on our real world Flex consulting experience.

One way or the other, a firm XYZ realizes that the only practical way of creating their next version of the rich Internet application is Flex, and I assume that you (the project manager) are already sold on this. And what’s the next step? Quick look at the labor pool of Flex developers may depress you – the unemployment rate among Flex developers is close to zero. What makes things worse, these people can afford doing only the cool stuff, and some of them are not that interested in developing boring enterprise systems. Can’t blame them.

Pretty soon, you (the disappointed manager) realize that the only way to make your project successful is to re-train your own developers. In February alone, our company was invited to run 3 (!) certified Flex trainings for different enterprise clients. Our typical student is a Java developer, which after five days of intensive training turns into… a junior Flex developer.

You (the seasoned program manager) realize, that even though your people are proven commodities and have successfully completed challenging Java projects in the past, starting this highly visible Flex/Java project without a mentor is a risky endeavor, and you start looking for a team lead just to find out that it’s not an easy job to do.

Our company has only senior Flex developers, and we started to spread ourselves thin between the clients – two days a week our mentors work for one client and three for another, and this model seem to be working well for both parties. After attending the training, your own people can start working on the project given the part-time support and guidance of someone who has a number of Flex projects behind his belt.

That’s the reality, and if you (the smart project manager) can’t find the full time front man for your Flex project, try to get a piece of him. Can’t get him for a two days, get for one. Can’t get for one day, get for half. We started practicing so called blended resources and pay rates. Such a Flex resource (sorry for this inhuman term) can consist of a 30% of a local Flex expert and 70% of the senior (!) developer working remotely. There kinds of arrangements are almost non-existent is such well established markets as Java or .Net, but you (an aggressive and innovative project manager) should think out of the box and try to find solutions that will help you to get things done.

Sorry for the cold-blooded coverage of the situation with the enterprise Flex labor force, but this may help you in finding a solution for your today’s challenges as opposed to reading multiple articles and blog posts that just proclaim that the Flex job market is great. It’s great, but today it’s the seller’s market, while you may be a buyer.

Yakov Fain

One thought on “Where to find senior Flex developers?

  1. I started using Flex about a month ago. I had no significant ActionScript/Flash background. Anyway, if training is not a possibility and you’re in a pinch, I believe if you or your employees have a strong JavaScript and basic OOP background, then Flex would be easier to pick up.

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