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Now more than ever, Domino job seekers need edge

Now more than ever, Domino job seekers need edge

Out of work Notes and Domino professionals may have reason for optimism as the tech economy rebounds, but some Lotus pros advise getting creative in order to land that next job sooner rather than later.

Dan Simmons, president of technology recruiting firm Continental Search & Outplacement Inc. in Baltimore, Md., said the job market for Notes and Domino professionals is better today than it was 90 days ago, but it is still very tough.

Simmons said salaries for the few jobs that are available are down between 10% and 20%.

"Two years ago, a company would say they need someone with three years of Notes development experience who can do Web development, and they'd pay in the seventies," Simmons said. "Now they'll pay $60,000 or $65,000 for that same person.

"If you have a government-issued security clearance, then there's interest," Simmons added. "Other than that, it's very tight and salaries are depressed."

Unfortunately for most unemployed administrators and developers, a government-issued security clearance, which permits the handling of sensitive information, is only issued by a government agency, a firm that sub-contracts for a government agency, the U.S. military, or if one is an elected federal official.

The average Domino-related job salary for the first quarter of 2002 was down 3.9% compared with the same period last year, said David Foote, president and chief research officer of Foote Partners LLC, and year-to-year bonuses were also down 21%.

Foote Partners is a New Cannan, Conn.-based research and consulting firm that tracks employment and salary statistics for 12 Domino job titles from senior managers to entry-level positions.

"If you're in a special area like Domino or SAP, you have a better leg to stand on, generally speaking, for job retention and sign-on bonuses," than IT generalists do, said Foote. "On the other hand, a lot of people don't want to specialize in one technology, and are now looking to be more versatile."

To that end, some pros are padding their resumes with additional skills. Jeff Schwarz, an unemployed Domino developer based in New York, said he has been taking Java courses.

"I've been spending my time between jobs reading about and learning new technologies," said Schwarz. "I know a bit of JavaScript and HTML, but I don't know XML and, worse, I have no idea how all these things fit together or are used in Domino."

Reggie Atwood, a Dallas-based independent Notes and Domino consultant with Comtek Group, said job opportunities in his market are few and salaries have dropped as much as 50%.

Atwood said when his current contract ends, he plans to look for something unrelated to Notes and Domino. However, he said those looking for work today should "think outside the box."

"Don't just send out resumes to companies and consulting firms then sit back and wait to be contacted," Atwood said. "Contact past managers you have worked for, contact other Notes and Domino developers you know, and if there is a Lotus Notes and Domino user's group in your area, attend some of the meetings."

Joan Edington, a Domino developer based in Scotland, has worked in the field for 29 years and was recently laid off. Though she is a Principal CLP in both R4 and R5 and has vast experience with LotusScript, JavaScript and HTML, Edington said that doesn't seem to be good enough anymore.

"Job adverts always list my skills as vital, but also throw in a knowledge of Windows 2000 and Visual Basic as bonuses. Since I have not worked to any great level with these other products, I miss out," Edington said.

She said that employers look for Lotus certifications as a prerequisite, but additional certifications in Sun- or Microsoft-related technologies "make the difference between one applicant and the next."

"I don't intend to spend money on further certification as yet," Edington added, "unless the R6 upgrade path is necessary before I find a job."


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