2007 a Different Economy Than 2006, Flex & Flash Still In It

March this year was high in the need for contractors, consultants, and full-time employee’s in the ways of Flex and Flash. It died June and July. It’s back up again in August. My inbox is full with emails I don’t have time to answer from recruiters and company employers. The majority want Flex. Some want Flash. Some think they want one, but may need the other.

The differences compared to the late summer of 2006 are as follows.

First, some of the start ups have money now. Instead of “We’re so awesome, you’ll want to work for equity because you’ll be so cool in 6 months to have even been associated with us” it’s now, “We’re still cool, and now we can pay you a salary, and company benefits if that’s your thing.”

Second, the recruiters are finally giving in to referral bonuses. This apparently was usually in the realm of bigger companies, placing management type positions, etc. That, or you just had to ask to imply it, and thus get it. I’m somewhat selective on who I send out my contractor list to. If I get 5 emails from various recruiters for the exact same job opportunity, typically the “first in, best English” email gets the list. If the recruiter is really cool, and like… actually cares, I’ll even give my spiel on those contractors I know stuff about. I’ve even seen the same particular jobs pop-up for the past 8 months. While this could be for a number of reasons (talent shortage, toxic client, etc.), the bottom line is that the recruiters are using leverage in the form of referral bonuses to draw out more contacts from people since there aren’t many like me who throw around a pre-sorted list with optional commentary.

Third, the work is still unpredictable. I was hoping for some common themes 5 years into this, but apparently not. Who am I kidding, I love it. While it is challenging to summarize the the type of work since some of the recruiters are not in this country, do not accept incoming phone calls, or simply don’t know enough about the position they are placing candidates for, I have a pretty good idea. That said, the work in the Flash realm is pretty predictable:
– Custom/branded video players. People want something that accentuates their entertainment budget they’ve already spent millions on. Having a YouTube or Brightcove branded player detracts from that.
– Widgets

The interesting thing about widgets is that it’s currently about half and half with Flex. Some of the widgets are design driven; those use Flash. The others are multi-purpose, used inside existing websites or on other platforms; those use Flex. Really random.

The Flex stuff is impossible to categorize. While debates still rage about when to use what technology, when, and where, a lot of companies already know, and are hiring talent for those endeavors. For those that don’t, they hire competent Flash Developers, and they then morph into full-time Flex Developers, usually by accident.

Fourth, remote work is offered without having to ask. Y-gen‘s like me who are all about living the Digital Bedouin work style lifestyle, this is a must. It’s pretty easy to end conversations with recruiters over the phone/email:

“Do they support remote work / telecommuting?”

“No, they do not.”

“Not interested. Thanks! Bye.” :: click ::

Now, I’m getting emails, more so from employers directly, offering remote work for projects if it’s needed. Not encouraged, but accepted. Awesome.

Just because the Flex momentum has died down now that 2 has been out awhile, everyone is enamored with Flex 3 beta & AIR, and Flash CS3 has allowed the Flash Developers to start using AS3 the employment scene in this industry is still strong. Talent is still in short supply. Existing programmers are still picking up and running with Flex very easily. Sometimes (not all unfortunately) this results in them needing help on the design front, usually resulting in trying to find Flash Developers or Flex peeps with a Flash / Design background.

If you have a job, it sucks, and you know how to code in Flash or Flex, it’s not too late to jet for greener pastures with opportunity. If you are not on my contractor list, and want to be, lemme know what type of work you like and send me an email. I send this list to employers and recruiters who are looking for Flash / Flex talent.

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