App Development on Rebound

Even when everything web was cool, Web developers at systems integrator Quadrix Solutions Inc. never carried a special title.

Even when everything web was cool, Web developers at systems integrator Quadrix Solutions Inc. never carried a special title. They were simply known as applications developers. Little did CEO and co-founder Ben Reytblat know what a favor he did his developers by keeping their job titles broad.

Today, Reytblats brand of Web developers—those who can create more than a Web site and who can develop enterprise-strength Internet applications that integrate with legacy systems—are in high demand. Based on a survey of 1,650 CIOs conducted for its 2002 Salary Guide, Menlo Park, Calif., technology staffing company RHI Consulting found that Internet/ intranet development is the second-hottest IT job, with CIOs experiencing 18 percent growth in their need to fill that position.

No doubt, times are tougher for Web developers. Gone are the hiring frenzies of upstart dot-coms and interactive design companies. But major corporations still need to integrate a spectrum of legacy systems into the Web-based applications that are reaching their customers, business partners and employees.

Bonuses paid for Web development-type skills, for instance, have begun to rebound. In the third quarter, bonus pay for Web development skills rose 5 percent to an average of 8.8 percent of base salary after having fallen late last year and early this year, according to a survey by Foote Partners LLC, in New Canaan, Conn.

"Theres no doubt about it. Companies are still launching [applications] on the Web," said David Foote, president and chief research officer at Foote Partners.

Quadrix, whose clients include Fortune 500 companies, is hoping to hire two to three additional application developers by the beginning of next year, as long as a much-anticipated customer deal is signed. Reytblat will be honing in on senior-level candidates with not only essential language and programming skills, ranging from XML to Java, but also with strong experience integrating enterprise systems and in large-scale project management.

He knows he can find them: Hes already receiving as many as three unsolicited résumés a day from qualified candidates.