I recently received an e-mail from someone asking me a number of questions about Denver's Java Job Market. He's moving from Seattle to Denver and asked me the questions below. Since Denver is one of the best places to live on Earth, I figured some other folks might like to hear my answers.
For senior architect types, is the market strong?
I believe it is. I haven't looked for a local gig in quite some time, but when I did back in June - there was lots of opportunities.
Any good employers you could recommend?
Not really, I've done contracting for the most part for the last 11 years. I've always enjoyed smaller companies. The best place to find Java jobs is by subscribing to the Denver JUG Jobs mailing list. There's jobs posted several times per week (both full time and contract).
Any companies to avoid?
Not that I know of.
For senior types, what type of salaries or hourly rates should I expect to find?
I think you'll be lucky to make over $100K as a full-time employee. You can certainly work your way to 110-120K after a couple years, but I think it's tough to hire into that. I'd expect 90+. As a contractor, you can expect $60-70/hour. There's definitely opportunities to get 90-100/hour, but they're hard to find because you have to eliminate the middle-man (recruiters).
Are Colorado Springs or Boulder good options for looking for jobs?
Boulder is definitely hopping. Colorado Springs - not so much.
Are contract positions good in Denver?
I've always liked contract positions.
Any recruiters that would be good talk to?
Lauren Ford is a good resource I've worked with in the past. You can tell her I sent you if you send her an e-mail.
Anything else you'd recommend?
If you can, get a gig downtown. Baseball Season starts in April and downtown has a buzz about it that's very enjoyable. Either that or Golden so you can be close to Mountain Biking.
One thing I forgot to mention in my reply is how valuable LinkedIn has become when searching for jobs. I've always believed being well connected is the key to career success and LinkedIn allows you to use the power of network very easily. You may think I'm biased because I work there - but how do you think I got the job there in the first place?