So I saw this article come across today. I urge you to click through to it and read it, but the gist I got from it is that there will be an uptick in IT hiring this year. Further, it has been said that there is a shortage of good IT folks in the marketplace. I don't know how true any of this is, to be honest, as I'm not in the recruiting business, and I haven't been in the marketplace in years. But I keep hearing it from friends and reading it on blogs as if it's fact. I solicited ideas here, and John Wright offered an interesting response here.
The article suggests also that there will be upward pressure on IT salaries. That competition is heating up for technology skills. For those people that have had their salaries held flat or nearly flat over the past couple years, this may be a great year to figure out what your passion is, and get a pay bump while doing it. If you're not feeling the love and gratitude where you are currently, it sounds as if there are many places that would be grateful to have you.
So here's what gets me. I believe companies are missing a possible hiring model: part time IT consulting. If this demand is so high, maybe companies would start considering it. I know that I don't have the ability to take on a full time second job (although I know colleagues that have successfully virtualized themselves to the point where they have two full time jobs, an opportunity that accrues to someone who works from home, works flexible hours, and has no commute), I do have the ability to put part time hours toward interesting work.
I suspect there is a lot of capacity out there for the part time technology work. Curious to hear from other developers. If you had the ability to put an extra couple hours a day after the kids went to bed, either to get a little different experience, or just to drum up a little extra jingle for your pockets, would you? If there were an obvious marketplace where you could go find part-time projects easily, would you? Does such a site already exist and is just hidden to me?
Here we are with potentially very large excess demand and an unknown supply. I have talked to a few folks that suggested companies will only take hourly employees on as full-time. Some managers still hold the outdated thinking that they need to see you in your seat. Whatever it is, I'm thinking that part time employment development gigs are something that needs to happen more easily.
This situation would have benefits for a number of people:
Devs seeking experience
If you're a Developer working, say, in Java, and you really want to work on Ruby, or Rails, you often don't have an opportunity to work in a new technology. Could you, however, be staff aug on a project? Maybe not at your current rate, as you're a Senior Java Dev, but would you take newb Ruby rates to get the experience, if the money were in addition to your day job salary?
Managers seeking bandwidth
If you are a manager with a huge backlog of technical debt, maybe you need someone to pay down a little of the debt while your team is doing maintenance to help you reduce your burden. Maybe you need someone to set up a continuous integration build and test automation, because you don't have someone in house to do it for you. Maybe you just have a temporary need to relieve some pressure on your team, but you don't need a full body. Maybe you just need some quick expertise and don't want the burden of employees, and can't afford a full-time consultant.
Managers worried about the cost of development
So we've said that with not enough developers and an increased need for them, and with the model of offshoring of development shown to be less cost-effective than estimated (who didn't see that coming?), it seems as if the price of your projects is going up. But if you can get a part-time evening developer who is skilled in Rails and wants to work on your Spring application but has the right discipline and attitude, would you take them on at a rate lower than a Spring consultant?
What's the obstacle here? What is preventing this from happening. If there is an IT shortage, and there are devs with capacity, and we know how well virtualization and off-hours development works, what are we waiting for? Is is management FUD? Do developers traditionally shy away from side jobs? What am I missing?