Consider your [data] sources…

I’m always amused by reasonable seeming statements (including my own) that are then followed by prodigious leaps of non sequitur.

Consider the following from Bob Tekiela:

One way to find out what skills will be in highest demand this year is to look at job posts.

I decided to analyze recent Craigslist San Francisco Bay Area job ads. It’s a good proxy for the local demand. The Bay Area is often a trend setter, and technologies that become popular here frequently gain broader adoption. So the findings can also be viewed as a leading indicator for other geographies.
And the most in-demand tech skills of 2012 are … 

I don’t know about “most people”, but you lost me at Craigslist.

I won’t bother to quibble that the Bay Area may or may not be a trendsetter; however, Craigslist is not my first (or tenth) stop in any quest for new tech employment.

If this were an analysis of tech skills sought by jobs on, I’d be seriously interested. If it were Dice or Monster, I might stop, peak and giggle. But... Craiglist? Was that just the easiest site to interrogate? What was the average bill rate for those contract positions?

Job postings that list requirements for specific knowledge of a source control system concern me. Any developer or tester who understands proper source control technique, branching fundamentals, etc, should be able to adapt to whichever bizarre permutation management imposes on the rank and file. Which also points out that the so-called “tech skills” listed are all developer-oriented. Perhaps the Bay Area has a cornucopia of UX, QA and project management talent, but I’ve personally found those to be in shorter supply as “tech skills” go than people who can spill Java or spell C#.

Also, I admit it might be a little be snooty on my part, but I don’t see any of the most crucial and hard to find “skills” (really more of a set of experiences) on the list:

  • Solution Architecture
  • Data Modeling
  • Test Automation (he did list TDD, but that’s more of a gateway skill than the full suite)
  • Anything related to video game tech (3D modeling, animation, level design, etc)
  • Showering (with soap), shaving optional
  • Communicating with mere mortals

Maybe there weren’t any postings for those sorts of things in Craigslist, or maybe Bob didn’t think to query those terms... Or perhaps those skills simply aren’t in demand in 2012.

Inquiring minds want to know!

I do know that I possess several of those skills (which I get paid to use on good days when I remember to take my meds), and there are more than an handful of hiring managers at Microsoft who are willing to pay top dollar for more protein units that possess them.


p.s. In my career decades, I’ve found the best paying tech to be the ones that almost nobody is looking to hire... yet. And in some cases, never bother to advertise for because they’re highly specialized and difficult to master. Somewhere way out in front of the bleeding edge is the price point I prefer to charge. By the time job postings for a tech a commonplace, it’s yesterday’s news, IMNSHO.

Comments (0)

Skip to main content