Selecting Technology Using Job Ads

In IT (as in most industries), there are many factors to consider when choosing a new technology. One must carefully consider cost, features, ease of blah blah blah who cares? The only thing that matters is: will this look good on a resume?

Enter Indeed job trends. Indeed is a job website that searches many databases at once. They have launched a nifty tool that allows you to graph job trends based on keyword; it even does comparisons.

Comparisons are perfect for choosing technologies. To do a comparison, you separate keywords with commas. You can also have multi-keyword searches by separating them with spaces. And you can quote exact phrases. Yeah, that’s not terribly clear so I’ll just give examples.

Consider the many technologies used to create rich internet applications (RIA). It’s ridiculous. You want to know what’s in demand and what’s gaining ground. I used a context keyword in my search phrase since some frameworks use common words with multiple meanings (dojo might be found in karate instructor jobs, flex in body builder jobs, etc.). So requiring “ajax” to be in the job description makes the search more relevant:

ajax scriptaculous, ajax yui, ajax dojo, ajax flex
Scriptaculous, YUI, Dojo, and Flex job trends

Here we can see that my choice to begin Flex 3 classes was freakin’ brilliant.

Since these are statistics, they can help persuade others by lying. For instance, two popular Java build tools are Ant and Maven. You want to use Maven 2 because it’s newer so it must be better. Let’s compare:

java maven, java ant
Maven vs. Ant job trends

Crap. That won’t help convince your boss. Which is bad, because the real reason you want to use Maven 2 is that you’ve heard Atlassian uses it, and you want work for them so you can move to Australia and be around sheilas with cute accents (never mind the spiders the size of small dogs). No worries, Indeed has you covered. Just change the scale from Absolute to Relative:

Maven vs. Ant job trends - relative comparison

Wow, Maven is taking off like crazy – 600% job growth! That totally makes up for Ant having 4 times as many jobs. And this technique works with every other cutting edge framework and tool. I mean, it has to; that’s just how math works. You go from zero jobs to some jobs, that’s like infinity percent increase for significantly small positive values of zero. Math doesn’t lie.

Hopefully by now you’ve realized I’m employing some tongue in cheek humor. At the same time, being able to chart industry trends is valuable for both your business’s technical strategy and your career planning. Use it wisely.

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