Main image of article Scott Guthrie Sees Windows 8, Azure Driving .NET Jobs
Demand for .NET expertise has been growing for some time, and the need isn't going to slack off anytime soon. In fact, it may increase. Driving the hiring is a beefier SQL Server, Microsoft's Azure applications platform and Windows 8. "There are a bunch of really great opportunities in .NET," says Scott Guthrie, formerly Microsoft's .NET platform vice president and now the leader of its Windows Azure team.

SQL Secret Sauce

"The $10 million question is what SQL will do," says Dave Theriault, a San Francisco branch manager for Robert Half Technology. "If it comes on as strong as Oracle and is adopted by more companies, then .NET will also be further adopted." The combination of SQL and .NET versions 3.5 and higher have proven secure and scalable, says Theriault. That potentially translates into an even greater demand for .NET developers. Guthrie agrees. "Certainly, in the enterprise developer space, I think .NET and SQL have reached a credibility mass for more Tier 1 and Tier 2 applications," he says. ".NET is now the way it's getting done, so that translates into a lot of really interesting and very, very technical projects and developer opportunities." [youtube]

Teaming .NET and Other Skills

"People need to know .NET (and other skills teamed together). They need to know .NET and object-oriented programming, for example," Theriault says. He also sees more requests for .NET developers with SQL skills or SharePoint skills. Knowing just one of the flavors of .NET programming -- like C#, ASP.NET or VB.NET -- isn't enough to attract employers, he says. They'd rather see developers who know C# and also JavaScript or jQuery. "Programs are becoming more complex," Theriault explains. "If you're a junior programmer, then it's fine to only know C# or VB.NET. But if you're a mid-level developer and want to become a senior developer, then you want to develop your craft."

How Hot is Hot?

.NET developers rank among the most difficult positions to fill. Notes a Dice survey published earlier this year:
The most difficult hires to find and secure among today’s pool of tech candidates: Java developers, mobile developers, .NET developers and software developers. Those positions are cited by hiring managers and recruiters about double or triple the frequency of other skill sets in the employment marketplace.
Specifically, companies are seeking people with two to five years of experience, followed by those with six to 10 years. There's little interest in recent college gradsuates. Although requests for .NET developers is only a third of that for Java developers, Theriault says the gap is narrowing and there's a greater adoption of .NET than there was five years ago.