I know of only one team that uses EJB3 to build financial software in the London market. I get the impression that Spring did such a good job in the early days at convincing developers that their framework was the best and most accessible framework, that even when Oracle comes out with a modernised, updated framework with “as much” functionality as Spring (EJB3) – that no-one in finance still wants to use it. In fact developers with EJB3 still tend to be categorised as less creative developers who are less interested in the cutting edge Java technologies by many hiring managers – be it fairly or not. From what I hear, much of the Java community actually thinks that Oracle is doing a good job as the custodians of Java (for instance there is a lot of positivity about the latest concurrency and threading packages), but nevertheless EJB3 remains unloved by the financial markets.
In general I find EJB3 cropping up in consultancy work, and therefore its a common skill to find in European developers – an IT market almost totally dominated by consultancies – in the UK, its much less prevalent, although it does have its advocates. For instance whenever I ask the hiring manager for the one financial software shop that I know that does use EJB3, he quotes
Superman Spiderman to me (!) and says “with freedom comes great responsibility” – meaning that with Spring you get a lot of creative freedom, but he thinks that not many developers actually know what to do with that freedom. So he sees the formal structure of EJBs as giving technical leads a useful tool to help ensure coding standards in their teams.
So what to do if I have only used EJBs and want to get into the financial markets?
I think it must come back to learning Spring in your own time. These days if you don’t have Spring then you are either an experienced developer who has been working on legacy Java projects that were designed 5+ years ago, or you tend to be from the continent. Either way you are missing a marketable Java framework on your CV. The solution in my experience lies in the fact that hiring managers really value pro-activity and passion for technology in candidates, so if you can learn Spring yourself, and then either get officially certified or build a Spring-based program at home (both is better) then you will have a powerful argument on your CV. It won’t make you a shoe in, but it will make a lot of difference.
NOTE: It was of course Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben who gave the freedom/responsibility quote, not Superman. Thanks to Matt for pointing that out. And Mark for pointing out that Uncle Ben was actually paraphrasing Ellie Roosevelt. I suppose that’s what you get when you write a blog for geeks – you get out-geeked!! I’m not changing the pic though. I like Superman much more than Spiderman, I was just disappointed I couldn’t get one of Christopher Reeve.