Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Do you really need .NET experience?

by Robert Schley
As a SharePoint training instructor, I occasionally run across postings for SharePoint positions as I cruise the Internet reading up on SharePoint information in general.  This sometimes inspires me to take a look at what kinds of positions are out there and what the current trends are for hiring.  I look through job postings, not necessarily for myself but because I’m curious about what companies are interested in.
I’ve noticed that a lot of SharePoint positions out there have a funny little sentence in them.  I’m not just talking about positions that are marketed as programming or development positions – this requirement seems to be in about 95% of SharePoint positions I look at:
“.NET experience”

This may be a case of asking for the stars so that you get the moon, but this one little requirement in most job postings seems unnecessary for at least two reasons:

1.       Custom Solutions - .NET experience implies (IMO) that you want to code custom solutions for SharePoint.  SharePoint can honestly accomplish at least 75% of what companies want without having to insert a line of code.  In general, the solution is more about knowing what SharePoint can already do rather than trying to build a new solution.  When it comes time to upgrade to the next version of SharePoint, custom code always gets sticky if not flat out broken.

2.       Higher investment - .NET experience will, generally, require a higher salary commitment than someone who is simply familiar with all of SharePoint’s out-of-the-box capabilities.  This is generally due to the .NET’s coding background, which will probably lead to more problems being solved with custom-coding solutions. And that brings us back to issue #1

I’m not against .NET experience.  If you have it, flaunt it.  But for the majority of positions out there, education in what SharePoint can already do is a better choice than searching for that .NET coder.  That’s why in our classes, we tailor our SharePoint training to do that 75%+ for which most people think they need a custom coder. 
Whether you need to create custom input forms with InfoPath or are looking for the right tools for your document management, SharePoint training can be just as effective as finding that .NET developer.