Are there any serious full-time ColdFusion jobs available?
I saw this question posted on a ColdFusion forum the other day:
"Are there any serious, open full-time ColdFusion positions outside government contracts out there? Preferrably WFH."
I'm intentionally withholding the person's name because my reply isn't specific to them in any way; I don't even know said person's background. But here's my answer:
TL;DR -- Yes. But you're going about this the wrong way, and may not be qualified anyhow.
Now for the longer version...
First, advertising one's self exclusively as a specific type of developer (e.g. "ColdFusion Developer", "Angular Developer", etc) limits the openings available. We have to have those words on a resume for tech recruiters and search engines. But good developers are not tied to one specific stack their entire career. Here's why:
Most programming constructs transfer easily from one language or tech stack to another. Fundamental OOP constructs work about 95% the same in ColdFusion, Java, C++, TypeScript, and many other languages too. Sorting algorithms (and the math behind them) all work the same in languages too. Good programming practices include things like naming conventions, clear communication, writing documentation, architecture patterns -- all of these translate very well among various languages. It's up to us as developers to build the right skillset so we can transfer between projects and technologies as needed.
Yes, each language has some features specific to that tool. For example, in CFML we have the CFInclude tag (yes there are ways to include code in other stacks but just work with me for a moment here). And herein lies the problem I see most commonly in the ColdFusion space: developers learned the typical "5 tags" and then stopped learning.
So we have this (very noticeable, sadly) percentage of ColdFusion developers that learned just enough to build V1 of their first web app, and then basically turned off their brains. CFInclude may have been good enough to get V1 out the door, but it's not good enough to be the main modular tool on an app that you want to scale, be dynamic, add new features to, and continue with for the future. To do those things, one needs to use more proper programming practices -- the things I mentioned above: OOP, good software design, proper naming conventions, passing arguments into functions, return values, and so on.
Simply put, the "5 taggers" just don't do those things in their projects. Yet as the years go on, they like to call themselves "senior developers" because they've been writing code for 10+ years.
It's "tough love time" -- if you've been writing (mostly) CFincludes and other disorganized code for ten years, you do not have 10 years of experience. You have ONE year of experience, ten times over. You are not a senior developer.
Now back to the original question about "where are the full time ColdFusion jobs that aren't government contracts?"
I see them around; I even hire for them sometimes when we need more folks at South of Shasta. But we're NEVER hiring people that just use CFinclude. And neither are the other non-government outfits that use CFML and thrive.
The thriving CFML shops have figured it out. They're using good programming practices. They're writing OOP, proper documentation, good quality APIs, they have modern tech stacks that look and behave like many other technologies...which gives these companies the ability to hire not just "ColdFusion Developers", but anyone whose resume shows them to have a strong OOP background, and an understanding of proper software design.
Feeling discouraged by my post? Don't worry there is help available for you. :)
First, there is the great website CFCasts.com, built by the folks at Ortus Solutions. And on this site you'll find a pile of video training about Object Oriented Programming, the MVC pattern, and tons of other topics virtually guaranteeing you to level up your skills.
Second, Adobe has just announced the first round of speakers for the 2023 Adobe CF Summit in Las Vegas. This is a great place to learn new advancements in ColdFusion, meeting other people using CFML for their projects, and get inspired about what all is possible with the platform! You can even get certified in ColdFusion!
You can watch the podcasts, or you can attend the conference, or you can do both.
You don't have to start in the same place as someone else.
But for the sake of your career, you do need to start learning, and continue learning.
So, pick a path...and just start.