I've been working for almost 7 years. I have a tendency to not use widely spread frameworks such as Spring, Hibernate\JPA, JSF\Struts\GWT..etc

I like to explore and use new frameworks and I like to understand how they work and explore all possible solutions to a single problem. This taught me to understand the concepts and methodologies running under the hood. I'm not saying that I know everything but that's what I like to do: Use and explore new frameworks and find out if they offer something profoundly new.

Now this has put me into an issue, most employers require experience in widely spread frameworks. I haven't used any of these frameworks but I understand the concept behind them and I most probably have used a similar framework.

For instance, I don't know how to write a Spring application but I know about dependency injection and have used Tapestry IoC (A dependency injection module in a web framework). I don't know how to use Hibernate but I've used Datanucleus\JDO a lot.

Should this be a real problem ? Why do employers always ask for developers who must be specialized in a specific framework ? I understand that it's not easy to upgrade currently used frameworks, needles to mention using another one, but shouldn't an experienced developer be able to handle ANY framework just by reading it's well organised documentation ?

  • 1
    Is this based on applying and being rejected? Or just on job postings, where they ask for an inconceivable and occasionally impossible amount of experience in a laundry-list of technologies?
    – stannius
    Sep 27, 2015 at 15:15
  • 1
    There is an old saying, " in theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice, there is." I think we need to explore the key word in your question: SHOULD.
    – Thomas Cox
    Sep 27, 2015 at 20:11
  • If you really haven't used Spring, but the job requires Spring, why can't you prepare before the interview and at least get some basic experience with it before interviewing for that position? Be up front that you have basic experience with it but you also have other experiences - maybe that's all they need.
    – Brandin
    Sep 28, 2015 at 8:29

4 Answers 4


There are many employers who hire for intelligence, problem solving, and general coding ability (plus personality, culture fit, etc). There are many who don't even require you to know the primary language they use in their products; they try to hire people who are smart enough to pick up any language.

Those that do insist on knowledge of a particular framework, would typically do so because of a short term concern. Either they have a looming deadline of some kind and they need someone to hit the ground running; or they are just short sighted.


I am a programmer and I get your frustration. Yes you can pick up a framework fairly quickly but it takes some time with a framework to get really good with it. Consider the volume of questions on StackOverflow on frameworks - if it was as easy as reading the documentation the site would not have the popularity it has. Employers want productivity on day one. They also want to measure your productivity on day one. For the common frameworks they are going to find candidates with experience in THAT framework. Typically they list a range of technologies / frameworks and are looking for at least some direct overlap with experience on your resume. Unfortunately most recruiters are not going to know which frameworks are similar.

  • Not all employers want productivity on day one. I would even say that most good employers don't care for productivity on day one.
    – Erik
    Sep 28, 2015 at 6:42
  • @Erik I think focusing on "day one" productivity is missing Frisbee's general point that "it takes some time with a framework to get really good with it." Sure, you can understand it conceptually, but some things need experience with getting your hands dirty to really get a handle on it. Sep 28, 2015 at 18:04
  • @Erik So they target employees that will be unproductive on day one? ANY employer cares how you can perform out of the box.
    – paparazzo
    Sep 28, 2015 at 18:34
  • On my most recent hire, my employer told me they expected me to reach good productivity after 3 to 6 months, because they understand that it takes a lot of time to really understand all the things the company's software does.
    – Erik
    Sep 28, 2015 at 18:39
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    In my area and line of work, yes, that's the norm.
    – Erik
    Sep 28, 2015 at 19:36

If you see a requirement for a specific framework or toolset, it means the following:

  1. The client already has a solution running on that particular toolset and is looking for specific help; this is especially true for corporate clients who tend to prefer stability vs. the newest thing.

  2. The company that is hiring is contracted for a job that is using that specific toolset and needs you to get on board quickly.

It also usually means that they are not looking for "generic developers with web development experience in Java", so even though you might be able to understand the particular framework quickly - they need someone with validated experience because (generally) they already have a project running and are looking for help with it.

Chances are also good that such jobs are temp/contract.


If you have a tendency to not use common frameworks, I think you will also have a tendency to be unqualified for many jobs. Frameworks are a fact of life today. If I don't see at least one or two common frameworks on your resume, I had better see something else that is really special to make up for it. Otherwise, I'm going to wonder what you have been doing for seven years.

It's not necessarily important that you know the framework I want you to know, because many frameworks are similar. The more frameworks you know, the more quickly you will learn new ones. That is especially true for web application frameworks. But if you don't show real knowledge of any frameworks, then I don't know if I can spend the time and money to get you up to speed.

  • I'm not going to downvote your question (that's not how I roll), but you may well get down votes since it seems to me you haven't read or maybe haven't comprehended the question. Sep 28, 2015 at 16:59

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