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Hunting for Java developers: how to grow professionally and become a desirable target

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Hunting for Java developers: how to grow professionally and become a desirable target
The two in this picture changed jobs after a month to a cooler one
A student who is only learning Java can get more in Moscow than a working developer. For example, in Deutsche Bank’s Russian development center the stipend is around 100k rubles per month – and you are only taught for this money, the work is afterwards.
The demand for developers grows by about 10-15 percent every year, and the education base can’t keep up.And the needs are growing, and the turnover is large : because at some point it turned out that Java allows the most industrialized development of code.
So, now I will tell you what career options you have in Russia and abroad if you already know Java or at least have a couple of months to switch to a new language and a new development environment.Abroad, by the way, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedInare actively hiring Java engineers specializing in backends.And we have Odnoklassniki, Deutsche Bank, Oracle, Luxoft, Sberbank-Technology, Azuland others.Come on, I’ll show you what’s what.


Amazon – is a huge international company, and a very flexible one at that. If you remember, first they sold books, then almost died in the dot-com bubble, but survived by selling stuff. Then they started selling everything and everyone, and then they went into IT, launching the first decent cloud. They had some of the coolest data centers, good infrastructure, their own CDN, robots in warehouses, you can imagine. Most importantly, Java is their corporate standard, and there is a lot of it in the backend. No particular specialization, but working with big data and optimization experience can be a nice plus in an interview.
Oracle – The only company in the world that has the whole stack: its own hardware, its own operating systems, its own middleware and its own final software. At the same time, interestingly enough, we have a large development center in St. Petersburg, specializing mainly in Java: of the 350 employees about 200 are just Java developers. In particular, JDK, JVM, Java Embedded, and Internet-of-Things. It is the second Java competence center in the world. Only the central campus in California (Santa Clara) is larger. They are looking for people who are interested in developing not only in Java, but in doing Java technology itself, since they are essentially defining the future of the language and development environment.
Azul – A manufacturer of high-performance Java machines. A small company, less than 100 people. And it’s especially cool that they have a development office in St. Petersburg, where they work on Zing and Zulu. They are looking for cool JVM specialists for their office in St. Petersburg.
Classmates – 95% of all their software is written in Java. There are less than a hundred developers there now, with about 300 people working in just three offices (St. Petersburg, Moscow, Riga). That is, a very small company compared to Facebookor Twitter, but doing one of the most heavily loaded projects in the world. They actively counterbuy into OpenSource, primarily Cassandra and JDK. Use a lot of performance optimizations, and sometimes patch OpenJDK, Cassandra and Lucene/Solr themselves and put these patched versions into production because there is no time to wait for patches to be added to the main branch. Actively seek specialists in their offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Core Java, BigData, Highload. No Java EE. If you are in another city and know the subject well, they will organize relocation with all the details.
Deutsche Bank – aitish division of the world’s largest banking conglomerate. Tasks are related both to huge volumes of data for online transactions (quotes) and analytical processing (terabytes of data for financial instruments). They are actively looking for specialists in their centers of development in St. Petersburg and Moscow. They take them from the regions, and relocate them. Have their own very good training program.
More banks worth mentioning are Sberbank Technologies – structural subdivision of Sberbank, thanks largely to which "Sberkassa" has become decent and technological. They like to make products with a human face, in fact – organize a kind of IT-revival of a large company, as it was once in IBM. They actively look for Java specialists in their offices in St. Petersburg, Moscow and Minsk.
Luxoft – The largest outsourcing company. Actively looking for specialists in their offices in St. Petersburg, Moscow and many other cities. Relocating from other cities. Many different projects, mostly Enterprise Java (Java EE, Hibernate, Spring).
Of the major players, it is also worth noting Twitter – They have their own storage system, a lot of Scala, a lot of Big Data, a lot of deck-building on optimizations and hardcore backend. Actively counterbuild in OpenJDK. LinkedIn Is actively hiring high-level Java developers, but what the specifics are, I can’t say for sure. And of course, Facebook Despite all the claims, PHP there – only on the frontend, and on the backend – a lot of Java, and judging by their frantic headhunting activity, a lot of architectural problems 😉
And of those that almost all Javists know, there are JetBrains with offices in St. Petersburg, Prague, and Munich. These are right at the root of all tuling and determine with their own hands how the work with the live IDE will look like. Of the foreign ones, there’s Eclipse, but they’re essentially a weird add-on to IBM, so along with all the delights of technology you get all the "delights" of working for a company of half a million people.

Whoa, don’t rush to submit your resume!

The first idea, understandably, is to knock on the door of these wonderful people and offer yourself for a job. If you’re sure you know their technology stack and have relevant experience, yes, that would be a good idea. If not, you’ll need to tighten up your training a bit first.
And this is where you are in for a nasty surprise.
The fact is that there is no Java education as such in Russia. Yes, there are some universities like MIFI or Moscow State University, which have long ago switched to modern development tools in their courses. But they graduate, in fact, newcomers without experience. Almost nowhere has there been a centralized transition to Java, and this is natural. They teach programming as best they can. In general, there are strong departments in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Novosibirsk.

What to do then?

The traditional way, of course, is opensource – this is both experience in the team, and a good portfolio, and beautiful code to show. The second option – various hackathons, which give a quick assessment of knowledge and show where to look. The third option, my favorite one, is to listen to experts who solve specific problems in specific companies and soak up the knowledge.
This is why I restored JUG.ru (Russian Java User Group) from the ashes. And that is why a couple of years ago I decided to do a Java conference to replace Java Day and JavaOne Russia. But not just any conference, but the kind of conference, where speakers would be hardcore and the backend would prevail among topics, and the participants would be practitioners, directly involved in the development of large projects. And no "how to make your own business on the Internet."
The first time was not bad, the second time was good, the third time was really cool. So, soon we will have another such conference in Saint-Petersburg: for example, there will be 6 talks from Oracle, 2 hardcore JVM-engineers from Azul, 3 talks about the crazy Highload from the crazy Odnoklassniki team, a little bit of Enterprise-hardcore from Luxoft, reports from engineers of Deutsche Bank, JetBrains, Red Hat, SAP and others.

What does a normal level look like?

Look at what top freelancers write on their profiles and pay attention to the emphasis on specific technologies. If you don’t have three-letter words on your resume, you probably won’t find the real sweet job – everyone needs narrow specific experience these days.
So, first, emphasis on practice :

I have more than 2 years of experience as Java developer and 2 years of experience as C developer. Also I was involved in high performance computing programming. One of my achievements is an algorithm for optimization of files distribution inside network implemented using MPI technology. I’m very motivated in increasing my skills in security information and network technologies. On other hand, I am a active user and contributor of Gentoo Linux. As a result I have skills in python and shell scrip…

Second, emphasis on a specific area :

Seasoned developer with more than 16 years of experience with various development technologies (C++/Java/C#/Scala/Python etc.). Have been working in investment banking for a number of years, doing algo trading/electronic trading. Have acquired considerable business knowledge in finance (equities, futures, FIX etc). Have experience with both server side and client side (Java, C#/WPF, QT) and web development. I speak English, Russian and Hebrew fluently. I know basic Spanish as well, which …

There are also examples of portfolios without specialization: people can afford to write such things, knowing that they have a high rating. Plus, there are a lot of "general purpose" tasks that are outsourced:
Third :

Leadership: At most three years of development team (from 3 to 6 person) leadership and technical account management.
Problem-solving: Ability to recognize and define problems, invents and implements solutions, track and evaluates results.
Creative thinking: New approaches to problem-solving, organizational design, and product development all spring from the individual capacity for creative thinking. 6+ years of experience.

Don’t think something like this is going to fly in the real world when you’re looking for a place to work. Again, general stuff is good in freelancing, but the real high salaries and good projects start when you’re in the top 100 in the country for a particular technology. And you can only learn effectively by practice. To get that practice, you need to understand what tasks are solved by who – and immediately target the ones that are most interesting to you.


If you now live in the region and earn about 50-70 thousand rubles, the first thing to do is to figure out where you want to develop. Learning Java "in isolation" from a specific goal makes no sense. First you need to scoop up experience: you take part in conferences or connect online, ask your friends in development, chat on forums, read blogs of experts in the field. Your first task is to get a job in Moscow or in St. Petersburg with a specific company.
The main question here is why to Moscow or St. Petersburg. The thing is that in the region you get, say, 70 thousand roubles. In Moscow you would earn 150 thousand rubles for the same job, in St. Petersburg you would earn 120 thousand. You lose an apartment and a more expensive meal, but you’re still on the plus side. It is very easy to start abroad from our St. Petersburg, so the second priority after Java is good English. Or German, for example.

My suggestion

I understand that you do not have time to fit into the conference in St. Petersburg, and, in general, you may not need it very much-understandably. And the quorum we have already gathered, to be honest. That’s why we sell e-tickets for the online broadcast (and the last two times they did very well, only when one of the video channels went down for 10 minutes, I got flooded with emails like a good land-attack).
With this ticket, you’ll be able to see all the reports online. Yes, the price tag isn’t the lowest, but trust me, I know what I’m selling, and it’s worth it.
Most importantly : If you don’t like it, no questions asked, you’ll get your money back on the first letter, even if you’ve already looked at everything.
Here’s our conference : right on the home page is list of papers with abstracts
This is where you can buy access – http://jugru.timepad.ru/event/136541/
Here report from the last
Here’s Open video footage from a year ago
I believe we are doing a cool thing, and I know how much positivity there has been at previous conferences.
And this time we’ll try to make it even cooler.

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