I’ve Officially Sent This Email Over 100 Times to Recruiters Looking for .NET Developers

Job Description

Here’s the letter, it’s kind of LOLz! I know it’s tough to find .NET Developers (or replace .NET with Java Developers or X Enterprise Language), so CIOs, CTOs and others take note. Here’s what I experience and what I see all the time, embodied in a letter. I will put effort into hooking people up with good jobs, that fit the person, and persons that fit the job, but lately I’ve seen companies that do .NET work in the Portland, Seattle and especially San Francisco areas become exceedingly desperate for .NET Developers. This is what my general response looks like.

“Hello Recruiter Looking for .NET Developer(s), thanks for reaching out to me, however I regret to inform you that I don’t know a single .NET Developer in Portland Oregon looking for work. It seems all the .NET Developers have either A: gone to work for Microsoft on Node.js Technologies, B: switched from being a .NET Developer to a Software Developer or otherwise C: left the field and don’t want to see any software ever again (which always makes me sad when people burn out, but alas, hopefully they find something they love). It’s a funny world we live in.

Even though I’m fairly well connected in Portland, Seattle, Vancouver (BC) and even San Francisco it is rare for me to meet someone who wants to do pure .NET Development. If there is I’ll connect them with you. However if you know a company that is porting away from .NET, building greenfield applications in Node.js, Ruby on Rails or other open source stacks I have a few software developers that might be interested.


Even though this letter is geared toward recruiters looking for coders, there is another letter that I’d like to write to a lot of other companies, that goes something like this,

“Dear Sir or Madam At X Corp Enterprise,

Please realize that lumping a person into the position you’re requesting (.NET Developer) is a career limiting maneuver for many in the occupation of software developers. We software developers are people who solve problems, it happens that we do this with code written on computers. The computers execute that code for us thus resolving the problems that you face. This helps X Corp Enterprise do business better! It’s a great relationship in many ways, but please don’t limit our future careers by mislabeling us.

Also, we’re not resources. That’s just a scummy thing for a human to call another human. Thanks for reading this letter, have a great day at X Corp Enterprise!”

I’d be happy to refer .NETters (or Javaers or COBOLers or RPGers or whatever), but seriously, it seems to be a lost cause out there, even more so for mid-level or beginning developers. Barely a soul is looking for a job as a .NET Developer, but I know a few that look for jobs as software developers every couple of weeks.

Speaking of which, if you are looking for work and you want a filtered list of the cool companies and related information of who to work for in Seattle, Portland or elsewhere in Cascadia reach out to me and let me know who you are. I’m more than happy to help you filter through the mine field of companies and job listings. Cheers!


31 thoughts on “I’ve Officially Sent This Email Over 100 Times to Recruiters Looking for .NET Developers

  1. So why is it then that even though every other programmer out there feels pretty much the same way you do but we still can’t bridge the gap?

  2. Hi,

    I’m a recruiter in London, I recruit for “Java developers”. Sometimes other, more fruity JVM language-based positions come my way, but in general its all about the Java.

    So can’t speak for .NET, but I would say that the majority of Java developers genuinely fit into a “java box”, there’s frequently little bits of Javascript or C++ or or what-have-you floating around the their technical skill sets but in the main it is fairly accurate to class them as “Java developers”. Now whether they prefer identify themselves as “Software engineers” or “analyst programmers” is another thing.

    As a recruiter I work by identifying what the required box looks like and then finding all of the people that look like they could fit into that box. In general my boxes are labelled “Java”.

    I appreciate that the technical scene has moved on from where is was 10 / 15 years ago with the great microsoft vs sun war, but in the post-war period its clear that .Net lost the war, and the broad church that is Java won.

    Its clear to me that there’s a much greater variety of languages being used in a commercial environment today. But I find that tech employers are still looking Java developers.

    Viva the J-S-H developers! Viva the Core-Java-C++ developers! Viva the GWT-JSP-MVC developers! … Viva even the J2EE-EJB-webservices developers!

    Comrade Martinius Jee.

    1. Hello Comrade Martinius Jee.,

      I actually see that a lot with Java myself. Albeit, I know very few that are strictly a Java (just like .NET) shop anymore here. Namely because of the crazy startup scene we dont’ really have a *box* (excellent use of example btw!) here in Portland or in Seattle, San Francisco, etc. So it’s a bit tougher. There’s still tons of work in big enterprises of the 500+ person size that has a ton of Java (and even .NET) but for the most part, the growth is from companies using a diverse set of tooling in these parts. Even the bigger of the small businesses that are 50-400 people or so have a highly diverse set of tools and languages they use.

      But anyway, back to your point. Yeah, Java (or .NET) are still big money makers in recruiting, and they’re the most likely spaces (Java/.NET) that use recruiter services too.

      Anyway, thanks for stopping by and giving my sardonic, snark filled open letters a read! Cheers Comrade Martinius Jee.!

  3. You may consider yourself somewhat well connected in startup culture circles perhaps but even though that may be the noisiest and most visible, it is actually quite in the minority in actual numbers of software devs in our country. Enterprise (you know the companies that actually make our economy churn) like banks, retail chains, Intel, HP, ETC. corporate America, government, military. ETC) is where most of the .NET devs seem to be. Trust me, there are plenty of them, even in Portland. (hate to break it to you but you sound like kind of a big fish in a small pond)

    Do you think that you know better than veteran recruiters how many .NET devs are in certain areas (some of which you don’t even live in?). If .NET devs were that scarce in these areas as you seem to conclude, I really doubt that recruiters would even bother advertising for them. Also, if they were this scarce, corporations would be forced to pay exorbitant amounts of money for them or switch to another technology (simple logic tells us this).

    This is almost akin to the disconnect of the hippie culture of the 60s. You had the hippies who knew their culture and circle of people, then you had the majority of (albeit less visible) Americans who were working 9-5 and raising families while keeping the country actually functioning. A lot of hippies didn’t even realize that much existed outside of their limited perception (I speak from experience).

    Your ignorance may be overlooked by many here on HN because many share the same culture and ignorance as you, but to the 9-5 serious family/career corporate generation – you look like a fool. Not just because of your blind ignorance, but also your petulance.

    1. Enterprises have had net zero job growth since 2008. Might want to check yourself. Almost all job growth since the “great recession” has been entirely small business and startups. Anyway, that’s a point for another day, but I’d highly suggest you research your analysis of “enterprises make the economy churn”. They’re merely one part, the bulk employer is still small business. Here’s some starters on this:

      http://www.sba.gov/content/small-business-trends and I quote
      The 23 million small businesses in America account for 54% of all U.S. sales.
      Small businesses provide 55% of all jobs and 66% of all net new jobs since the 1970s.
      The 600,000 plus franchised small businesses in the U.S. account for 40% of all retail sales and provide jobs for some 8 million people.
      The small business sector in America occupies 30-50% of all commercial space, an estimated 20-34 billion square feet.
      Furthermore, the small business sector is growing rapidly. While corporate America has been “downsizing”, the rate of small business “start-ups” has grown, and the rate for small business failures has declined.

      The number of small businesses in the United States has increased 49% since 1982.
      Since 1990, as big business eliminated 4 million jobs, small businesses added 8 million new jobs.



      …and “hate to break it to you but you sound like kind of a big fish in a small pond” I wasn’t claiming I was anything. Just that I get a lot of requests and in the position I put myself, nowhere near the bloated corporate slowness of bureacracy in big enterprise (ie. 500+ employees) there’s net zero new .NET apps happening. Maybe 10% of gigs. Similar for Java, and both Java and .NET I understand are a fair split between enterprises, with Java routinely having a slight lead still in most cities.

      …and “If .NET devs were that scarce in these areas as you seem to conclude, I really doubt that recruiters would even bother advertising for them. Also, if they were this scarce, corporations would be forced to pay exorbitant amounts of money for them or switch to another technology (simple logic tells us this).” you are missing why people move to Portland. Here’s a few facts…

      – people move to Portland for the livability and to step away from the standard American rat race. It’s a place people focus more on living then on working for other people. Research the place, you’ll see what I mean. This also is very prevalent in other parts of the north western United States and Canada.
      – Portland has some of the highest livability standards in the country. People come here to join and start startups. Not to work for giant corporations and sit in a cube.

      …and “Your ignorance may be overlooked by many here on HN because many share the same culture and ignorance as you, but to the 9-5 serious family/career corporate generation – you look like a fool. Not just because of your blind ignorance, but also your petulance.”

      …whoops, I see you went and scraped the bottom of the barrel and resorted to ad hominem attacks. That’s cute. If you note, read and understood nuance you might be clued into what I wrote above, how I wrote it and why I see what I see here in Portland, Seattle and often even in San Francisco. But that’s find if you’re “your blind ignorance and petulance” leaves you not understanding life in these cities. Now that I’ve been inclusive and stooped to your level, you can go home resting easy in your suburban landscape with your cushy job with your boss and I’ll go back to my aimless hippy hipsterness of oblivious petulant Portlandian life. Cheers!

      Feel free to come visit, I’ll give ya a tour!

  4. So if i understand it you say that there isnt any .NET developers in areas you specify because nobody wants to be .NET developer? Cant believe someone cant even think this is true. But maybe that areas are so special to ignore .NET stack?
    Here in Europe there is extreme requests for .NET stack as from developers and companies. But i dont even think to write what you do but for “python” or other developers in my country!

    1. Yeah, we have a very startup oriented culture in Portland. It’s similar in that way to Seattle, San Francisco and even Vancouver BC (Canada) in that we have an inner urban core that is highly sought after by those in bleeding edge startups. Doing everything from biotech research to goofy social media ad placement engineering or whatever. Most of them use tooling very specific to the jobs they’re working on. Thus, I rarely meet people anymore that want to stay focused on a single language, single tech stack and limit themselves. In this area of the world there is a hugely diverse selection of languages, stacks and technologies to work with and people seek out very specific things to work on and work with. With the deluge of problems that are being tackled it ends up there isn’t too many that stay focused on a single stack to prevent themselves being limited.

  5. Uh. The funny thing is that in my country they are looking only fro .NET devs.
    But i am in an offshore shithole so no surprise

    1. 🙁 Hate to hear that ehm! Hope things improve!! Coding on any stack can be awesome, just gotta get in with the right team. 🙂

  6. I am a .net developer without c# sql experienced
    as well a log experience into rpg cobol programming

    Daniel Cisneros

  7. Here in China, and from my own experiene, .NET development seems to be the primary teaching method in universities for computer science degrees. The majority of graduates (and job seekers) in software development want to focus on .NET specifically and deliberately avoid learning other technologies (even things like CSS, jQuery, github… seriously). Perhaps it’s because they think .NET = enterprise and enterprise = money? Maybe it’s just the overwhelming love of Microsoft Windows? We always have a really tough time recruiting anyone with JavaScript or even PHP skills, but .NET devs are a dime a dozen.

    1. Send some to the United States, there’s a shortage of interest! 🙂

      I’ve been getting a few requests for .NETters!

  8. I am a .net developer with c# sql experienced
    as well a long experience into rpg cobol programming

    Daniel Cisneros

    1. Throw some #Golang in there and you’d increase the net offer you’d get in San Francisco by $20k dollars!

  9. So, people come to you, looking to buy a car and your response is “You morons! When will you understand, that horses are the future?”. Way to go, teach that Enterprise, how to do business!

    ~ coming from a dev specializing in AngularJS and Node.JS among other things.

    1. It looks more like someone telling the horseback rider, “get off of there for your 2000 mile trip, you can just fly.” and they say, “naw, I’ll just keep riding the horse, she won’t die for at least another 3000 miles. Which pretty much just makes a one-way trip.

  10. Because “.NET Developer” is much easier for a CIO to ask a hiring manager to find than “an emotionally secure, communicative, consultative, continually-learning, generally tolerant problem-solver with significant experience identifying, vetting and implementing any/all readily available tools/platforms/languages necessary to compete a solution in a timely fashion while maximizing the usability, performance, scalability, portability, maintainability, supportability and extensibility”

    1. True. But that also means the CIO won’t get the later.

      But I suppose dems da breaks for the CIO who takes shortcuts.

  11. The second letter nails the problem exactly. It is career limiting to stay in .NET. I was just telling a more junior-intermediate person this the other day. It isn’t that the .NET jobs will dry up, I’m sure there will always be decent money, but you are cut off from so many opportunities, great companies and great co-workers if you never develop skills outside of Windows/.NET.

    Microsoft got OSS and the internet in general so horribly wrong.

  12. That’s pretty good. I’ve replied to a few recruiters with letters like this:

    “Thanks, I appreciate you contacting me about a .NET job, even though that means you obviously haven’t read my resume. You’ve probably already noticed that it’s nearly impossible to find .NET programmers but apparently you don’t know why that is. It’s because programmers hate .NET and hate Microsoft and would rather be homeless and unemployed than use Visual Studio. I sure would! If you look carefully you’ll notice that I specifically avoid listing any Microsoft tech at all anywhere on my resume — even my list of known operating systems doesn’t list Windows. That’s not because I’ve never used Windows (I have!) or even because I don’t know C# (I do!), rather it’s because those things make me want to shoot air bubbles into my blood veins. In closing, my resume makes clear the kind of work I’m looking for so please stop spamming me.”

    I’ve also written something like this:

    “Thank you for contacting me about a C#/.NET developer position. Before we proceed, can I ask you what the starting salary range is? Every programmer has his price, and my price for working with any Microsoft tech would be about $500,000 per year at the low end. Let me know if you want me to come in for an interview.”

    1. Hahaaa, I’ve not thought about adding the $500k minimum before. 😉

      I suppose I could find more willing .NET Programmers if the base rate was somewhere around $500k.

  13. Well, I don’t like .NET either. There do exist open source .NET stacks though, like Mono (nobody but Miguels are using it, alas). And even if open source, many programming language stacks are actually in the hands of few people. Besides, JS frameworks suck too (ever had to debug that sheeet, oh no!), but unlike with JS where there are myriads of willing developers like sand at the beach and according low pays, .NET devs can still earn a decent living off their skill. Yeah, I know, YC wants everybody to believe that investing in JS were a good investment. Let me tell you: It’s not, unless you want quickly have a demo app you can present to clueless YC investors trying to make billions off you. From that on, it’s still a long way to having a product that really works productively though (you’ll have to use something more maintainable than JS hell then) and even a longer one to have a startup that is actually worth more than a handful of post dot com bubble bitcoins.
    That said, I wouldn’t use .NET either. I’d rather quit the whole CS/IT sheit and open up a law firm, M.D. center or something where I don’t have to compete with 10 USD an hour programmers from India.

  14. So, I’ve been in the .NET scene in Portland and there are a bunch of recruiters knocking at my email every week. It makes it really difficult for us here to find the best fit since they make it difficult to meet great employers. I’m thinking great employers hire via word of mouth. Recruiters are good at finding employers who need someone, yesterday. Just not great at finding the best fit for the long term. Some devs want change as part of their jobs, some want stability. After all my seeking it boils down to being on a good team, market competitive income, +-6 miles to work (or from home/coffee shop), awesome/quiet/dev oriented workspace, maybe a great vision statement, and steady work. Most of the time you get to pick two of those. Is the grass really greener on the non-.NET stacks? Do people have more fun and fulfilling experiences writing software? Yeah, I’m starting to wonder. 🙂

    1. I honestly, 100% without hesitation will tell you, the grass is greener using a diverse set of stacks and tools.

      As for many of the teams hiring around rails, node.js and many of the other tools, stacks and needs it is largely word of mouth.

      As for finding that perfect team match, that’s a real tough one. I’ve worked with one team that was great, that a recruiter hooked me up with years ago. Ever since then, every solid, really fun team I’ve worked with that produced great results has been through my own diligence in networking and making connections, finding out what they’re working on, and figuring out how I’d fit with the team and what I could contribute as an individual to the team and company.

  15. A few years back I was trying to move to Portland for the reasons you mentioned: start up scene, beautiful city. But every attempt to network ended with the company being a .NET shop. Should have stuck with it longer.

    1. Yeah, it’s a great city. But the crux is, doing .NET work here will often leave one outside of Portland. There’s a few shops that are .NET downtown, but the vast majority (re: 95%) of the .NET gigs are all outside of the Portland City Limits. Most of the work is actually in Hillsboro or Beaverton, where the big corporate campuses are (re: Nike, Intel, etc). Meanwhile, downtown there’s only 3-4 small companies that use .NET and 3-4 moderate size corporate/government entities. Everybody else is full bore open source startups, which number in the hundreds (200-220 small biz, startups, small biz enterprise around 150-250 employees). But if you’re ever looking again, let me know. I’ll help you get lined up with something cool in the area, near where you want to live (ie downtown or burbs, whatever your poison is) 😉

  16. Hi Adron, thanks for starting this discussion. I just wanted to throw some actual numbers for what we’re seeing at Vanderhouwen & Associates here in Portland. Our biggest developer category is for Java (46 positions), .Net is next with 23 positions with 8 of those being in Portland proper. Open source dev jobs are usually in the 2-8 range at any given time. Of the 23 .Net positions, about half are with small locally owned businesses and the other half are large corporations.

    I’ll agree that most startups tend to go the open source route for obvious reasons. However, I talk to people every week who are primarily .net devs and they have no interest in changing that. There are people who have no interest in working in downtown Portland and prefer the burbs. I also talk to developers who have .net on their resume and have no interest in doing it anymore. So to be clear, there is a diverse community of developers who live all over the metro area and have their unique set of wants and desires. Some will agree with you and some will not.

    If I wanted to get back into development work, I would personally choose to stay with open source technologies like I was doing before. However, my own preferences aside, from what I’ve seen over the past 1.5 years is that the .net developer category is very strong and is in no danger of going away.

    The startup scene is certainly sexy and exciting…but not super stable. If you have a family that you need to provide for, are on the more mature side of the community, or have been burned by a failed startup, the stability offered by a larger more stable work environment tends to be an attractive option.

    Different strokes for different folks, ya know?

    1. I totally agree! My writing this was primarily from living, breathing, and bleeding on the tech edge with startups and fast moving companies. It is indeed a very different world, with no rest for the weary. 🙂

      What you see, also reflects what I’ve seen for jobs going through agencies that place people. The big corps can afford to setup their pipelines that way, while many local smaller startups and such – which are hiring the Ruby on Rails, Node.js, and other developers – tend to stick within their networking circles. There are of course plusses and minuses to this approach.

      Thanks for the comment and adding to the conversation, this article I’ve written has been one of my fire starters for conversation. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, almost ~9 months later! 🙂

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