Silicon Valley Sees Skills Shortages in Java, .NET, PHP

Silicon Valley

What’s New This Quarter

While blockbuster deals can seem all too common in Silicon Valley these days, Facebook’s January acquisition of text messaging service WhatsApp for a staggering $19 billion turned many of the region’s heads, with some experts contending that the company was actually worth even more. In late March, Facebook followed up the deal with the purchase of Kickstarter darling Oculus Rift for $2 billion, turning even more heads.

Then there’s action camera maker GoPro, which is testing the waters for an IPO that could value the company at more than $2.25 billion. Because it has less than $1 billion in revenues, GoPro can test the IPO waters in a confidential filing before disclosing its financial details.

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Over at Google, the company’s growth equity investment wing, Google Capital, said it has made three investments and has $300 million to work with. It invested $40 million into Renaissance Learning, a Wisconsin education software company, and over the past year also took stakes in SurveyMonkey and LendingClub.

Meanwhile, HP had some good news. The beleaguered giant scored an 8 percent jump in enterprise sales in its most recent earnings period, leading to an overall revenue increase of 4 percent. The uptick leads observers to believe that CEO Meg Whitman may decide to hold onto the Personal Systems division for a bit longer, even if “the death of the desktop” is truly here.

On the Other Hand…

In less optimistic news, Zynga said it will cut 15 percent of its workforce and buy mobile game company NaturalMotion for $527 million in cash and equity. The company made the announcement after posting a better-than-expected fourth quarter loss. The San Francisco game company is attempting a turnaround under a new CEO, and part of the plan involves eliminating 314 jobs to save up to $35 million this year.

And EMC Corp. has approved a restructuring plan that will result in layoffs. They will be “roughly similar in size” to past layoff rounds, EMC said in a statement, which could mean about 1,000 jobs lost nationwide. The company has a presence in Santa Clara.

Adobe Systems is also conducting a small layoff, saying goodbye to 46 workers in San Jose and another 25 in San Francisco, according to a state filing. These come on the heels of an earlier layoff, during which the firm let go 30 workers in San Jose and 17 in San Francisco.

Skills in Demand

Despite the layoffs, “The employment climate for IT is very strong right now,” says Kathryn Krueger, San Jose managing director for recruiting firm Randstad Technologies. “In Silicon Valley specifically, there are a higher number of IT positions than in other markets. Employers are losing great candidates to their competitors because employees are in such high demand with most, if not all, of them receiving multiple offers.”

It’s worth noting that hiring here tends to have seasonal quirks. “At the start of the year we tend to see a lot of application development/Web development projects kick off, so the demand for developers is higher early in the year,” explains Krueger. “As we move toward the middle of the year, we are seeing a heavy focus on development and operational engineers with strong virtualization and scripting experience. All candidates with cloud and SaaS experience are hot commodities.”

“IT professionals with specialized skills like Java, .NET, PHP, and Linux are in high demand, and candidate shortages persist,” says David Knapp, metro market manager for recruiting firm Robert Half Technology. “Companies need to move quickly and make competitive offers to hire top performers or they risk losing these candidates to other organizations.”

The virtualization and cloud industries have been especially bright spots here in the Bay Area,” Krueger adds. “Large enterprise companies such as healthcare providers, financial services organizations and telecommunications providers are investing in virtualizing their infrastructure and making it more robust.”

Salary Trends

According to the 2014-2013 Dice Salary Survey, the average salary for a Silicon Valley-based IT professional is the nation’s highest at $108,603, up 7.2 percent from the previous year and 23.6 percent above the national average tech salary of $87,811.

Robert Half Technology reports that 20 percent of Bay Area technology executives expect to hire during this year’s first half, while 68 percent expect to expand their IT teams or fill vacant slots. At the same time, 91 percent of Bay Area CIOs were optimistic about their companies’ prospects for growth during 2014’s first six months.

Leading Industries

  • Information Technology
  • Technology Manufacturing
  • Software Development
  • Construction
  • Defense/Aerospace

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Image: Andrey Bayda/

7 Responses to “Silicon Valley Sees Skills Shortages in Java, .NET, PHP”

  1. Robert Emminger

    I can give you three reasons why your beloved California is tanking. First of all, if you stay in the state of California longer then 30 days you automaticlly become a resident of the state.

    This was confirmed yesterday as I was checking for RV Parks to pull my 33” rig there and setup shop for a contract with Tyco. When I called the Claremont based L.A KOA (Kampgrounds of America) I heard some of the stricted rules in a KOA including a background and Credit Check. I had never had these issues so I called KOA corperate. They tell me the great state of California has written in law that if someone stays in thier state over 30 days they are residences of the state thus have to change everthing. Unless you are really wanting to stay in the state it makes no sence to be a consultant in California. Forget trying to get Per-diem in this cat box of a state with this kind of logic. This is why I have a boycot against the state and will not goto this cursed land.

    Second reason, “the most over taxed state in the country” ring any bells. Who wants over 40% of their income going to these communist pigs! Must I say more? I vote Texas or Colorado as the state of the west. California is full of empowered communist!

    Third, they did not learn thier lesson from the crunch of 2009. Leaving Americans on the unemployment line while letting in forgien H1Bs thus giving little to no help to thier current plight of our nation. Charity should start at the home, getting America back to work should be the top priorty of both the public and private sectors not wessling in cheap labor.

    These are some of the blunt and truthful points of why other states like Texas and Colorado are better choices over the over rated “Silicon Valley” and California in general. Thus if the state wishes to change it outlook the “People” of California of it need to start voting out the incubents to start that process.

  2. Jonathan Lowe

    I am a Java Developer, but I can’t find an entry-level job to begin a career in Java. Everyone wants a developer with 3 plus years of experience.

    No one is willing to accept that you can only import so much talant, and if no one hires for entry-level, no one will get experience to fill these high experience requiring position often ironically labeled “entry-level”.

    • And the funny thing is, when they send the jobs offshore, they still end up getting fresh-out-of-college offshore employees working on their code. I know because I’ve worked with so many of them, having to hold their hands along the way.

  3. I agree with Jonathan Lowe.

    These shortages will persist unless companies start to realize that maybe professional training on the job is necessary. There are hordes of people that are trying to change careers and move into IT, but all are turned away and thus the workforce is left stagnating.

  4. Adding to Robert Emminger said….

    California has become as nasty and stressed out as the northeast. Forget the “laid back” nonsense. Plus the cost of living is hideous, especially housing.

    Also, I don’t believe for a second that there is a “shortage” of talent there or anywhere else in the US.

  5. Vipin N

    Texas is the next big IT state. Great infrasturcture, strong economy and also lack of “pseudo” activists (both democrats and republicans) who actually use common sense when it comes to the economy as oppose to California, where the motto is, tax till death.

  6. Charlie Chan

    I’ve applied for three software development jobs in various California cities, then gave up. They all wanted to pay incredibly low rates. $37/hour for a Sr. .NET guy, when a one bedroom efficiency apartment in the same city will cost you about $3k/month. LOL?