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Web engineers high in demand

Recruiting battles boosting salaries in Silicon Valley

Zachary Taylor is a wanted man.

Part-programmer, part-designer, the 28-year old Oakland software engineer has an inbox filled with e-mails from recruiters trying to pull him away from his job at InsiderPages, a user reviews start-up in San Francisco.

Taylor's at the forefront of a hyper-competitive battle for Web talent that's raging in corporate office parks across Silicon Valley. This new war in the second Internet age has boosted salaries and more than doubled Web engineer job postings in the past year.

"It really is a battlefield," said Tess Rogers, a longtime valley headhunter who recently co-founded Web 2.0 Hire, which focuses on social networking and other cutting-edge Web sites.

"Across every business, the demand is huge. It's simple economics - not enough supply and increased demand."

The hiring spree is leading to a replay of the first dot-com boom's talent crunch - which peaked about seven years ago - and comes just three years after it was tough for many programmers to find any work at all.

This time around, companies aren't giving away cars as signing bonuses. But salaries are soaring well into the six figures (plus stock options) for elite engineers, according to more than two dozen employees, recruiters and executives at start-ups and large businesses.

Most in demand are engineers like Taylor who are well-versed in Ruby on Rails, a computer code framework that allows programmers to more easily create attractive Web sites that deliver heaps of data; and experts in methods such as AJAX, the oft-used buzzword that describes a set of Web programming techniques that have become ubiquitous at Web 2.0 companies.

Read full article at Mercury News
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