80/20 Solutions: Java Team Leads & Developers

80/20 Solutions is looking for both team leads and developers (senior and intermediate), according to this posting. They describe themselves this way:

We’re a different kind of company looking for different kinds of people: if you want to join our expanding team, we want to hear from you. From us, you can expect an environment as dynamic and exciting as the projects you’ll work on; and, from you, we want nothing more than one of the best Java developers in the city.

80/20 Solutions sells a marketing platform of sorts for multi-channel marketing. If marketing doesn’t grab you, perhaps the ASP model (SaaS, I’m assuming) does. Having done some multi-tenant applications, I appreciate the challenge they can bring.

The Good
I think the upbeat tone of the posting helped to catch my attention: “best Java developers in the city” “different kind of company” “unique work environment”. Those are just words, so you’d want to verify some of those things.

They use some good technologies. They have an SaaS product. They have good client names in their roster. If you got to use the right set of these technologies to work on an SaaS marketing product for big-name clients there could be some interesting technical challenges.

The Bad
The all-encompassing nature of the product diagrams makes me, personally, slightly suspicious. This comes from my own past experience, wherein such diagrams usually masked vapourware, but that doesn’t mean the same is true for 80/20 Solutions. That said, it wouldn’t hurt to probe a little about the product during interviews.

There’s not a lot of information about the compensation, you’d want to probe in more detail.

The technology is a mixed bag. I like Spring, Hibernate, Tapestry. I’ve heard good things about WebWork. I’m less fond of Struts, JSP. I’m not yet sure what I think of portlets and I’m slightly suspicious of java content repositories, although I think they have their place. I don’t even know why WebObjects makes the list. Your opinions on these may vary.

I’m also inclined to think that a company describing such a mix of technology, including no less than five frameworks with web-client features, is expecting a fair amount of professional-services work, rather than pure product development.

Several of the companies I’ve worked for were basically marketing companies when you get down to it. While I had lots of interesting technical challenges, it’s also true that marketing is not saving the world, or curing cancer. On the other hand, it’s also not destroying the environment (well, not directly, anyway) or causing cancer (although maybe your clients are). A number of the people I’ve worked with in Marketing expressed some malaise about the industry they’re in.

In Summary
If you’re willing to work in mid-town on marketing, 80/20 solutions might be a good mix of product and service work with reasonable technology and good clients.


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