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Looking for CF people, or CF work? What can you do?

Note: This blog post is from 2017. Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily. Same with links and subsequent comments from myself or others. Corrections are welcome, in the comments. And I may revise the content as necessary.
I'm often asked by clients or folks in the community about whether I know anyone who could do some CF development work (or how they can find someone), or whether I know of any jobs/gigs available (or how they can find them).

I do have a pretty standard answer, and it's not what most would expect to hear.

I typically point to a couple of lists of two kinds of CF-specific resources to help you find CF people or gigs, and for those seeking people I mention also the importance of looking beyond just those having CF skills, if you have trouble finding "CF skills". (The same of course goes for CF people looking for work. You would do well to develop far more than just CF skills, whether alternative or ancillary skills.)

I list the resources in the next section, and share more if it may help.

Quick Summary

Even beyond just those two resources, the post turned into more on that and related topics, so here's a quick summary of what follows:

  • I do not myself keep up on who's offering or seeking work. That could be a job itself and I'm busy doing the CF troubleshooting I do as an independent consultant.
  • Instead, I DO keep a list of CF job repositories, where there are current CF jobs posted and new ones can be offered (usually for free). See cf411.com/cfjobs, whether on-site or remote.
  • That same CF411 resource of mine also offers a list of companies that do CF app development, which may help you get someone to help you even more quickly.
  • The new google jobs feature makes it even easier to to find any, in your local area (by default) or in any city you may seek.I discuss below how to use that.
  • If you're seeking CF people, note that you can and perhaps should look beyond seeking only CF skills, to instead seek a good developer (in any language). You can share with them resources to easily pick up CF (and I point to such resources below).
  • If you're seeking a CF job/gig and there are none in your area, or no telecommute roles (or you don't want one), then there may be no alternative but to move on to another technology.
  • Does a challenge for you (or many) in finding CF people or work mean that CF is dead? I don't think so.
  • And if you are looking for work, I have a related post that may interest you.

Again, more on each of these points below.

My answer to someone asking the question

This post really grew out of my answering someone asking my by email. I thought I should share the reply and expand on it here, as a blog post.

Of course, this is a subject about which many people have varied opinions. I'm not at all asserting this is the best answer, though I do think it's a reasonable one.

I'm afraid I am not able to offer anyone in particular, [name omitted]. I chose years ago not to place myself in the middle of people seeking people or offering themselves, as that could be a full-time job--even in just the CF space. And while I could just leave it at that (since it's all you asked), I will offer more which may help you still find someone.

"Are there really any CF jobs or people left these days?"

First, you may think I'm dating myself in saying (in 2017) that tracking the availability of CF people and opps could possibly be itself a full-time job. This isn't 2009 (a high point for CF) after all, right? Isn't CF dying, with no one using it or hiring for it, and CF people being impossible to find?

The good news is that there ARE people looking for and there IS a lot of CF work, today. The challenge of course is finding them, and I appreciate that's why you asked me, as indeed many do.

A CF jobs resource list I keep at CF411.com

But instead of trying to broker folks (or even just casually keep up on the availability among personal acquaintances), I instead point folks (on either side of the equation) to a list of CF job resources I keep: cf411.com/cfjobs (one of hundreds of categories of CF tools and resources I keep on that page).

The CF jobs resource list offers several places where hundreds of current CF jobs are or can be offered and/or where CF people can make their availability known, and you'll see I have even indicated how recently active they are. I try to update that every few months to confirm that the sites are showing current jobs. All those listed do. Some are CF-specific sites, and a few are more generic sites but I link to their CF jobs lists.

Some are local only, some are remote. Some are full-time, some contractor.

[I will also add, here after the fact, that I should have also mentioned on that same CF411.com resource list I have also a category of companies that do CF app development consultants who you could also look to for help.]

Looking beyond CF experience, for just good developers

Finally, I'll add that if you STILL have difficulty finding anyone to suit, another tack some orgs take is to seek not a "CF person" but someone with strong coding (or better, web dev or devops) skills and then help them see how easy it is to grok CF.

Sometimes such folks have better general skills (perhaps in component-oriented development, or in using better coding practices/tools, or they may be better in UI development which of course is generic.) Many orgs/people have reported in the community or written about success in doing this.

There are also several (and relatively current) free resources to help someone get up to speed on CF. I keep a list of those on that page as well, cf411.com/cftrainingfree.

I realize all that's not likely what you wanted, but I hope something there may help. :-)

As I put that email here in the blog post, I had a couple more thoughts that I felt I should address, given how this will be seen more widely and be seen for months and years to come.

What about folks outside the US?

So to folks "not in the US", I don't want to sound harsh but there's really no need for you to lament in the comments here about how "you can't find jobs or CF folks where you are", how "nobody uses CF where you are anymore", how "Adobe doesn't show any support for you", etc.

I get it, and I've heard that in the community for many years. And often what I've wanted to say was, "really, you think it's that much better here?", as if CF is used in every US city, with an Adobe office as well, and evangelists running events and visiting every client? :-) That is far from the truth, and it's been so for ever (so that's not some statement about the vitality of CF today). I've not tended to say it, though, because it might seem rude.

But I would ask you folks outside the US to consider this post here as a possible way to change your perspective: the whole reason I'm writing this post (and have that list, and say what I do to clients who ask) is that people in the US also lament today and in recent years that they "can't find any CF people (or jobs)".

And my point in posting here is that there ARE indeed jobs and places to find them or offer them, for free.

And if you're looking for CF work and can't find anything at all where you are, then if you don't want to move, it's probably time to just look for a new technology or line of work. (That's its own point that some will want to make, and I will address that in a moment. But before I do...)

Consider the new Google Jobs search feature

After I had shared that email with my client above, and as I was putting this post together (and updating my CF411 job site list to confirm the current nature of jobs offered), I realized that I should also mention something else (which I have since added to my jobs list).

Consider also the new (in June 2017) Google Jobs search result feature, which aggregates many job sites.

If you just search "coldfusion jobs", it will default to looking for any near you. Of course, there may be none, for some locations.

But if you're willing to move (or consider telecommuting with a company elsewhere, or just interested to use this as a gauge of health of CF jobs elsewhere), note that you can also search for a city, like "coldfusion jobs washington dc" and you will find jobs there as well as near it as in MD and VA, which is nice.

But don't fall for (or spread) the old wives' tale that DC is the only place left with CF jobs! I did this with search several major US cities (NY, LA, Chicago, Miami, and so on) and it found at least several CF jobs for each, as of a check in June 2017. (And again, consider using CFML, Lucee, or other search terms as may suit your interests.)

For my international readers, I also tried searching outside the US and found none, but that was true of PHP jobs as well, so I think it is US-only, perhaps for now, or perhaps the country-specific google domains may serve up jobs for cities in/near that country.

Shouldn't people be looking for other than CF work anyway, for the long term?

OK, let me get out ahead of this to save folks wanting to comment. I get it. Whenever discussions about CF jobs (or CF's livelihood in general) come up on forums, mailing lists, blog posts, tweet storms, slack discussions, etc., there are always people who will want to point out how folks "really ought to be looking at technologies other than CF anyway".

And sure, some are from well-meaning folks who just want to steer folks to broaden their experience, and that's of course great and praise-worthy.

But there are also some who say it because they have moved on, and/or operate from the stance that "it's dead. No one uses CF anymore, and you'll never find any jobs in it, so why bother? Move on."

My whole point in making this post is to offer at least one point of refutation of that. Clearly there ARE *many* CF jobs. No, maybe not as many as "technology xxx". And maybe not as many as there used to be, in general or near you. But I offer the above to whoever it may help.

But hardly anyone uses CF anymore, right? "It's dead, Jim"

I know that's what some readers will want to contend, especially after that preceding section. Let me address this elephant in the room: the "CF is dead" meme.

First, it should be clear from my post here, as well as my blog in general, and my posts elsewhere, as well as my participation in forums, threads, and more, my conference talks, etc. that I'm obviously still an apologist for CF/CFML.

(BTW, apologist doesn't mean "one who apologizes for something" but rather one who defends it with rational argument.)

So no, I don't think CF is dead, and no, it's not "used only by government agencies anymore", as some have asserted. (And if it's dying, well aren't we all, really?)

Let's address this "nobody is using CF" assertion (as if the jobs listed above are not enough to counter that.)

My own observation of who is using it

I'll note first and foremost from my own personal experience that I'm busy working with CF every day, helping hundreds of clients each year (and get new clients every couple of weeks) in my CF troubleshooting consulting.

Yes, I realize some of that work comes because it's that experienced CF people may have left, moving on to other technologies. And I don't disparage them. I don't knock people going to new technologies (though I do see a lot of org's say they're "moving off CF to xxx in the next year" and two years later it's still not happened, for many reasons).

But the bottom line is that I DO work with hundreds of clients per year who ARE and have been using CF, and I do get a few dozen more each year. And they ARE org's of a wide range of sizes, structures, fields, and locations (worldwide).

How I know there are still more shops

I also know that I'm ONLY serving a FRACTION of CF shops, with thousands more I have not worked with (And I'm ok with that. I do no advertising and instead find work via word of mouth, or via my blog posts, my participation in community resources, my speaking at conferences, etc.)

But I'm saying that I know there are thousands more orgs using CF who I don't have as clients. How can I be so confident? Because:

  • I've seen the counts of number of client of some CF product vendors (separate from Adobe's stated counts, more below)
  • I see the company names or domains or folks who are also posting in the community, or speaking at or attending conferences
  • I see them listed in jobs boards like the above

From Adobe's own recent statements of new customer counts

Finally, and most important (for some), consider especially something which doesn't get much press or restatement.

Speaking of Adobe's count of CF customers, the CF Product Manager Rakshith Naresh said in a comment in the blog post announcing the release of CF2016 last year that there were 2,000 new CF customers per quarter.

And yep, in response to questions doubting if he really meant "new customers" or was he counting renewals, upgrades, etc., he later clarified that "new customers in this context are entities or organizations that have never bought ColdFusion from us in the past. Each such customer has bought one or more units of Standard or Enterprise. 8000 new customers will mean more than 8000 new units purchased."


So, enough with the soap-box. And perhaps I really should have posted that as a separate blog entry.

The point of this post of course is to let folks know that there are indeed places to find and offer CF jobs.

I've just been around CF long enough (20 years) to know that, especially in recent years, topics like this can never be brought up without folks coming out of the woodwork to turn it into a referendum on CF.

Given also that some will find this BECAUSE they may be struggling and concerned about CF's health and are seeing ONLY the negative things people have to say, I wanted to take a chance to offer my more objectively optimistic perspective, while also hoping to fend off those who would want to assert that their negative vision was truth.

We obviously can't both be right. :-) Of course, we can each be partly right. I'm just offering here what I rarely see offered, and they seem facts, if "alternative" facts in the true sense of that word.

Update: another related post

If you are in fact looking for work, I have a related post that may interest you, which I posted a week after this one: Long-time CFer needing to find new non-CF work? You may know more than you realize.

For more content like this from Charlie Arehart: Need more help with problems?
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Thanks for this, Charlie. I am no longer an active CF recruiter and I am no longer active on the market as a CF developer, but I started using CFML about the same time you did, and I can confirm everything you are trying to drive home here. CF is in use in far more than government offices, it is not just legacy one-offs, there's plenty of really good code work to be had out there, and yet both employers and devs continue to struggle to simply find each other. Seems to me that everyone needs to start leveraging the lovely free resources out there, like your cf411 and Nadel's job board, if they want to keep doing great work with CF's great platform.
# Posted By jfish | 6/23/17 6:51 PM
Great post, Charlie. Thanks for your long time support of CF. I can attest to hiring quality devs and teaching them CFML. I've done this for years with great success. The trick is finding people who can truly learn new things quickly. You'll likely get a better dev. Finding work can be a bit tricker if the jobs you run across don't allow remote work, but I also talk to customers on a regular basis who wish they could find more CF devs so the jobs are out there, it's just a matter of plugging in and finding them. I direct a lot of people to the #jobs channel on the CFML Slack team and also retweet all CF job offers I see come across twitter.
@jfish, thanks and great to hear of someone no longer in CF who has such a positive perspective, and especially given the post and your role as a recruiter. Let's hope people will listen and learn.

@Brad, same thanks to you and for confirming the "hire good" idea. And about the #jobs slack channel, I do have that listed on the cf411.com/cfjobs page.

(I don't know if you happened to notice that or not. I was a bit confused today and thought it was gone, so I moved it down my list to the bottom. But since you mentioned using it currently, I figured it must be there and I had to be mistaken. I looked into things and as a very infrequent slack user, I didn't know how one should click the "channels" link to see all available channels. I see it there, so I have repositioned its mention on my list.)
Hi Charlie, I tried the Google job search and got "Tablets and countries outside the United States are not yet supported." so that is probably why you weren't able to get any results outside the US.

I have moved back to Australia since I last saw you in Qatar and in the 11 months that I've been home there would have been less than 2 jobs each month in all of Australia that came up in ColdFusion job searches. Most of those just mention ColdFusion as a nice-to-have and several have been looking for people to convert their legacy ColdFusion code to something else.

There have probably only been 5-6 jobs specifically looking for ColdFusion developers. I've also been looking overseas for ColdFusion jobs and at least 80% of jobs I find seem to be in the US. Unfortunately, most of those will not consider non-resident applicants.

To be honest, it's been a heartbreaking experience as I feel like my 17 years of ColdFusion experience is now almost worthless. This old dog is learning some new tricks but it'll be a while before I meet the 2-3 years minimum experience that most employers are asking for.
# Posted By Paul Swan | 6/23/17 11:40 PM
If the only thing you know is CF, the suggestion to learn new technologies is valid because CF is and always has been a small niche product, so the number of jobs available was never that big, and is considerably less now since there are many other technologies out there, and the most popular ones are ubiquitous. Thus why you see unable to find jobs or contracts and asking "is cf dead".

I would make the same suggestion to someone if the only thing they knew was Ruby or Perl as well, as these are also very nice.
# Posted By Snake | 6/30/17 5:11 AM
Sure, Paul and Russ/Snake. Two sides of the same coin, really. Yep, I addressed how CF folks who can't find work may need to reach out to other technologies.

And Russ, I thought it was fairly self-evident that it was wise for any CF developer, but since one other person also made the same point in reply to my facebook post on the blog entry, so I have added a new paragraph at the top making the point very clear.

And Paul, about clients wanting 2-3 years of experience, you could pick something that's so new that no one has that. Of course it's a roll of the dice to pick something that will last. But you could be studying up on something you really prefer to do long-term while you "take work" however you can get it.

And to you and others who may feel they are in your shoes, remember that what you know as a CF developer goes WAY beyond just CF itself. It might surprise some to stop and think what CF developer typically deals with beyond just "CFML" which might be marketable.

In fact, I started to write a number of ideas here, and I realized it really was worth of its own post, so I will do that now. And I've updated this comment to point out that I did post it, here:
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