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SharePoint Skills Shortfall

Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably noticed that Microsoft SharePoint is on a serious roll. With Windows SharePoint Server (WSS) and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server (MOSS) 2007, Microsoft has cooked up a one-two portal punch that has surprised even longtime industry watchers.

SharePoint, it seems, is everywhere. And that's creating a huge opportunity for development shops to begin rolling out some exciting new applications and services against the platform.

There's just one problem: There's not nearly enough experienced, SharePoint development talent to go around.

Vincent Rothwell, a London-based consultant and principal of SPWorks, put it bluntly. "Every single person I talk to wants to employ SharePoint developers and nobody can find them," he said. "A lot of people don't necessarily want to train people up, though they will."

Rothwell said ASP.NET developers, with their background in Web application programming, are typically best suited for the transition into SharePoint work. But he said that gets you only so far.

Chris Wasser, solution architect at consultancy Competitive Computing in Colchester, Vt., agreed.

"People with that experience are in the best position to develop on top of SharePoint. But it's different, that's the bottom line. People need to adjust to that change to be able to develop on SharePoint. Our experience with newer folks is it's a challenge," Wasser said.

"In a lot of ways," he continued, "the product got out ahead of [Microsoft's] developers, which is not really a good situation, in my opinion. They weren't prepared for what was going to happen when they released it, really."

The good news, Wasser said, is that Microsoft is starting to catch up with itself. "Now there's more information out there," he said. "I think Microsoft is taking steps in the right direction. They just launched a site that is specifically focused on SharePoint development." Check it out for yourself here.

Is your shop struggling to find competent SharePoint developers? Let me know how you're working around the skills shortfall at [email protected].

Posted by Michael Desmond on 06/17/2008

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