Perhaps it's uncertainty over the economy; perhaps it's confusion over the technology's future -- whatever the reason, a recent SearchDomino.com survey found that Notes/Domino professionals have very different ideas about where their careers are heading.
In the next three years, 24% of Notes/Domino professionals said, they see themselves in the same position at the same company; 23% said they'll be at the same company in a different position; 12% think they'll be at the same company but no longer using their Domino skills; 19% said they'd be at a different company using Domino skills; and 7% said they'd be at a different company but no longer working with Domino.
Roughly 450 people took the survey.
Chris Carcel, a Notes developer at Maple Shade, N.J.-based Stonehard Inc., said he feels pretty confident about his position supporting 1,500 Notes users at the industrial flooring company. With his company's recent decision to move to WebSphere, Carcel said, he thinks his job is safe, now that he has some J2EE training under his belt.
"At my company, I'm pretty well positioned," Carcel said. "But in general, I'd recommend that [Domino professionals] start learning Java and the J2EE model, because that's the direction IBM is headed."
Not all Domino professionals can speak so confidently about their careers. Depending on the company size, some Domino shops don't have the resources or support from upper management to follow IBM's big push for WebSphere.
"Don't think that you're going to have a 20-year career [in Notes], no matter how good you are or what discipline you're in, if you want to survive in this space," said John Farner, an OLAP tools specialist at Avery Dennison Corp. in Caineville, Ohio, and a former Notes and data warehousing manager there. Farner is no longer working with Domino, and he advises others to stay versatile with their skills.
Of the respondents, 60% described themselves as IT staff and nearly 33% are IT managers. The remaining 7% are non-IT business professionals or hold other titles.
The SearchDomino survey respondents also come from companies with a variety of deployment sizes. While 21% of respondents said they have more than 10,000 Notes seats installed, 38% of respondents said they have 500 to 10,000 seats live. Sixteen percent have 100 to 499 seats installed, and 23% have 99 seats or less.
Charlie Reid, an independent consultant who is currently under contract with an Albany, N.Y., health insurance company that has more than 40,000 Notes seats, said that the previous company he worked for, which had fewer than 500 Notes seats, switched to Microsoft Exchange because it didn't see a future with Domino. Thus Reid was out of a job.
"Technologically, I think Lotus has a great product, expanding as the technology expands, but I don't think [IBM] is pushing the reason why Domino will save money," Reid said. "When you do a cost analysis, [Domino] is cheaper than Microsoft [Exchange], but [IBM is] not getting the message out."
One message from Domino users is clear: They love Domino, and they don't want to change careers or feel compelled to learn new skills just yet.
Call it resistance to change or call it devotion. In any case, one user, who asked to remain anonymous, summed up Domino by saying, "It's a lifestyle!"