2007
05.15

Working in A Niche Industry

I received a call from Mr. Karthy today few days back. He was telling me that there is a new job opening for Coldfusion programmer. I politely declined the invitation and promised him that I will refer to him in case any friend of mine is looking for job as Coldfusion programmer.

From my very limited and narrow point of view, it seems there is a scarcity of Coldfusion programmers in Singapore. It seems that not many people are banking their option on Coldfusion. I guess everyone here are jumping bandwagon to become either .NET developer, or Java developer.

Although I can’t really say that Coldfusion is old technology since the underlaying technology is Java. But I can make a case where Coldfusion as a niche technology (at least here in Singapore ^_^). Do you think it’s OK to jump bandwagon?

I think it’s quite humane. Java and .NET combined, provide bigger number of jobs. So people would assume that .NET and Java are the safest bet to get employed. And it’s normal human behaviour to be afraid of uncertainty, and pursue something with more certain possibility.

On the other hand, looking at JobsDB.com, actually many positions are offered for RPG programmers, COBOL, and the offered salary is always above the mainstream programmer. In a discussion over lunch, a senior colleague advises me that the back-end processing of banking/financial industry is still using RPG on AS400. I argued that they are just contemplating between the costs and the benefits of upgrading to more modern system. I told him the story from my previous work place which uses COBOL on AS/400 for their purchasing system. During my tenure there, at one time, there was a team from head-quarter visiting the office, evaluating the infrastructure. When I queried the team leader, he said that starting on June next year (it means this year), all system will be replaced with .NET Smart Application. The application will connect all aspects of the company, purchasing, operation, finance, and human resource. All in one package. So it seems everyone sooner or later will move on to the new technology.

Now, my questions are, if you are working in those niche industry, will you stay and keep on receiving higher salary than the average .NET/Java programmers? Do you have any backup plan once your company decided to move on? I believe it would be interesting experience to share.

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3 comments so far

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  1. coldfusion has no value at all, no offense pls :). Unless you really know the market, forgot about it. C# (I mean .net flavour) is more usefull. Also, it’s very easy to swicth between Java and C# if you really understand one of them by heart. Both of these are the most demanding skills in the development world now.

    If you have a time and really need some challenge, dig in to (old) C++. Learn win32, MFC, ATL, as well as *nix C flavours. More valuable and dramatically increase your paycheck :).

  2. @mca: None taken bro (^_^)/ I share your view of sticking to C#/Java since they are closely similar.

    I think what important (if not the most) is our exposure to a certain industry like Finance/Banking. This way our knowledge is not only limited on coding, but also on the architecture-how things get done on that particular industry.

  3. at some point, we should move to something advance that required tacit knowledge instead of just raw skill. A wisdom, that’s make you a developer, not just a coder.