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Java Developers in the Defence Sector: What Does the Future Hold?

Posted April 29, 2024

Responsible for developing and implementing many business-critical applications and software platforms, Java Developers have for a long time held specialised and essential roles in many defence sector organisations.  

But as we move through Q4, will the demand for security cleared Java Developers still be as strong?  

In this opinion piece, Sanderson’s Head of Recruitment Services for our Government & Defence team James Corcoran gives his thoughts on the current state of the market as well as his projections for the future of Java Developers in the defence sector.  

The current state of the Government & Defence sector job market 

In good news for the government & defence sector, we’re seeing indications that the market is slowly rebounding. This is driven largely by contract demand as security organisations continue to be cautious after a year of rationalisation.  

Certain roles are tending to have more demand than others, and a Java Developer is one of these in demand skill sets. This could account for the 8% increase in salary costs that we saw between Q2 2023 and Q3 2023.  

Software roles in demand 

Java is one of the most popular programming languages used in enterprise companies, yet despite this 8% salary increase, is it set to start losing ground in terms of companies wanting to hire these skills?  

There are several surveys which do actually show a decline starting. In fact StackOverflow’s Developer survey recorded a drop from 33.3% to 30.6%, whilst the TIOBE index in October 2023 showed that Java’s year-on-year rating had dropped by 3.9%. 

What does the future hold for Java Developers and the associated talent pool? 

A big question in my mind is, are we going to see a further decline?  

Certainly, Oracle’s decision to stop all security updates for Java 8 without a support agreement is a warning shot. This coupled with their decision to change their pricing model to a new one that, according to Gartner, could cost organisations from 2 to 5 times more in annual licensing costs, only fuels speculation for Java’s decline. 

In my opinion though, Java is not going anywhere. 

It’s still the fourth in TIOBE’s Programming Index, and combined with the salary increases we’ve seen, it’s a proven, secure, and safe programming language with a significant adoption rate in many organisations.  

Over the next 12-18 months I believe the Java talent pool will skew to the later generations, with more experienced candidates and, as a result, be more contract-driven over the next few years.  

Our talent solution 

If you want to stay ahead of the curve and ensure you’re hiring the right security cleared candidate in the Java Development field for your organisation, we can help.  

As specialists in sourcing hard to find talent we will always solve your talent problems through to completion. You can find out more about our Government & Defence Recruitment services here. 

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch and let me know how I can help you. 

James Corcoran, Head of Recruitment

[email protected], +44 (0) 748 430 0887