We enter 2001 facing economic uncertainty and rising lay- offs in the dot-com and consulting arenas. However, Notes professionals have reason to be cautiously optimistic, says Dan Simmons, president of Baltimore, Md.-based Continental Search Inc. (http://www.consearch.com ), a company which specializes in placing Notes pros. By anticipating some key trends in the Notes job market, Notes pros can position themselves for continued success this year.
The Notes job market will soften, but demand will continue to outpace the supply.
"Instead of six companies knocking down your door, expect three or four," Simmons says. Because employers have two major hiring cycles - March through May and September through November - he recommends that Notes professionals who anticipate changing jobs in 2001 start looking by February.
"More employers hire in the February to April timeframe than during the summer months. Therefore, if you want to be in a new job by Labor Day, you need to make the change by May," Simmons explains. Moreover, since the economic outlook for 2001 is hazy, he advises that you plant new roots early.
Expect more moderate salary increases.
A softening job market "will keep salaries from hitting the same boosts we've seen in the last 18 months," Simmons says. Last year, Simmons typically secured increases of 10% to 15% for Notes candidates that he placed in new jobs; this year he expects job changers to get only 8% to 10% increases with new employers.
Notes contractors on short-term gigs can expect more bench time.
Contractors can ride out any economic downturn by seeking long-term contract work, Simmons says. "If you're taking three-month long projects, you'll likely see a delay between contracts in a slow economy," he explains. "But any economic downturn probably won't last longer than six to 18 months. Therefore, if you're on a one-year gig, the odds of getting snagged in the market are lower."
Notes R/5 and Domino experience will be essential.
Despite the dot-com demise, Web-based development will continue to grow in 2001. Consequently, Notes professionals lacking R/5 and Domino expertise can expect lessening demand for their skills.
"Companies want Web-related skills," Simmons says. "If the job market tightens, companies will hire developers with the latest skills because they won't have to spend money training you. The value of R/5 certification and practical experience increases as the economy tightens."
Expertise in Notes security equals job security.
Notes administrators who establish themselves as security specialists will be in high demand, even in a slow economy, Simmons says. Master the security issues related to Notes and Domino as well as any operating system on which Notes runs, and understand where potential vulnerabilities exist. "That will open a lot of doors, and you may find that you have a knack for Solaris or NT administration in addition to your Notes skills," says Chris Goggans, director of operations at the SDI Group, Anandale, Va.
Notes jobs with DOD contractors will proliferate.
Any geographic region that hosts a large number of defense contractors - such as the Washington, D.C. area - should be ripe with Notes jobs, Simmons believes. "Many of the DOD- related consulting companies use Notes, and they should see more business because of [President-elect] Bush's commitment to the military."
Goff is a contributing writer based in New York.
This was first published in January 2001