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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 Some content may be outdated--though not necessarily.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 I think most would expect to hear in reply (if they thought I could just propose some possible specific people looking/available).

I typically point to a couple of list of two kinds of CF-specific resources to help you find CF people, and I mention also the importance of looking beyond just CF skills if you can't find CF people. (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.)

Quick Summary

Even beyond just those key points, the post turned into more elaboration on these and other related topics, so here's a quick summary of the main points below (each of which have more elaboration below):

  • 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.
  • That page also has a list of companies that do CF app development.
  • 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
  • If you're seeking CF people, note that you can look beyond seeking only CF skills to instead seek a good developer (in any language) and you can point them to resources for them to easily pick up CF (and I point to such resources here)
  • 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. Please see below.
  • And if you are looking for work, I have a related post that may interest you

My answer to someone asking the question

So, continuing my opening paragraph about the fairly standard answer I have when people ask (I explain how I don't get in the middle, and I point them to the cf411.com/cfjobs), and after putting together a rather more extended version of that answer for a client today, I thought it may be worthy of a blog post. I've just added some HTML headers for organization sake in addition to the numbers I'd used to organize the plain text email reply.

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?"

1) First, you may think I'm dating myself to say that even just tracking the availability of CF people and opps could possibly be itself a full-time job. This isn't 2009 anymore, 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

2) 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 on that page).

It's nearly a dozen places where hundreds of current CF jobs are or can be offered and/or where CF people do or could make their availability known, and you'll see I have even indicated how recently active they were.

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.

Bottom line, there are hundreds of jobs listed there, all over the country. Some are local only, some are telecommute. 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

3) 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) skills and then helping 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) resources to help someone get up to speed on CF. I keep a list of those as well, cf411.com/cftrainingfree.

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

Before I go, I had a couple more thoughts that I felt I should address here on the blog that I didn't mention to the client, 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 hard but there's really no need for you to lament in the comments here about how you can't find folks where you are, how nobody uses CF where you are anymore, 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 hte vitality of CF today). I've not tended to say it, though, because it might be seen as rude.

But I would ask you folks outside the US to consider this post here (about finding CF jobs) 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.

Maybe you can find a resource local to you that may help (and more on that in the next section). If not, well, then the bottom line of course is that if you don't want to move, it's probably time to 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. I have just posted this also verbatim at the bottom of my jobs list, but I want to point it out here for those who may not bother to visit my CF jobs resource page, and as another point about CF's "not being dead yet":

Finally, 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 operate from this 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, do they? "It's dead, Jim"

I know that's what some readers are perhaps wanting to ask or say, after that preceding section. Let me address this elephant in the room, the "CF is dead" meme.

First, it should be clear from my blog, and my posts, and my participation in forums, threads, and more, as well as 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 us 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 week) in my CF troubleshooting consulting.

Yes, I realize some of that work comes because in some shops experienced CF people may have left, moving on to other technologies. 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 find work via my blog, my participation in community resources, or by speaking at conferences, etc.)

But I'm saying I know I know that 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)
  • 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?
  • If you may prefer direct help, rather than digging around here/elsewhere or via comments, he can help via his online consulting services
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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.
# Posted By Brad Wood | 6/23/17 8:34 PM
@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.)
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/23/17 10:46 PM
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 wide 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.
# Posted By Charlie Arehart | 6/30/17 2:22 PM
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