Ganz/Webkinz: Technical Architect

Ganz / Webkinz is looking for a Technical Architect:

We have an exciting permanent opportunity for a Technical Architect to join our highly successful and growing Interactive Group. Our high end flash games and animated characters have made Webkinz.com the fastest growing children’s entertainment site on the internet. Be part of our dynamic Ganz Interactive Group and contribute to exciting future projects.

 

  • Drive the technical strategy and lead team(s) in meeting the strategic objectives.
  • Design complex systems at the component level, make strategic technology choices, and directly supervise the quality of designs and implementation inside and between components.
  • Strategically contribute to the investigation of techniques and methodologies to continually improve the quality and productivity of application development.
  • Monitor technology department architectural pattern adherence.
  • Work within and continually evolve architectural governance.
  • Collaborates effectively with peer architects and Tech Leads to solve complex problems spanning their respective areas and resolves technological disagreement with informed, rational debate.

 

The Good
Webkinz are, I gather, a pretty successful product with an online component, so this would be a pretty senior role working with an established and successful product.  It’s also children’s entertainment, an area you don’t see a lot of in Toronto — I think I see more call for ‘Adult’ entertainment than ‘Children’s’.

The Bad
I’ve heard a few stories via a friend of a friend about working on Webkinz, and they’re not terrifically good stories.  In essence, the reputation is that the founder of the webkinz business is a bit of a dictator and tends to get in the way and make working there less enjoyable.  That said, the stories are at a bit of a remove, so while they’re cautionary, I don’t think you should base your opinion entirely on this. 

What’s Missing
There’s not a ton of information here, so there’s a lot you’d want to ask.  What’s the compensation like?  The process?  What’s the size, composition and number of teams you’ll be working with?  What’s the organizational structure around you look like?  What kinds of technologies are they using: are they using all of Java, PHP, C/C++, Flash and Linux, or just some of the above?  Where are they located?  What would your near-term goals be?  The list goes on and on.

YMMV
Your mileage may or may not vary when it comes to working in an environment where words like “adherence” and “governance” show up, even if you’re on the “governing” and “monitoring” side.  Langauge can be indicative of culture, and if it is, this might be somewhat hiearchical.  That said, those are pretty subtle hints, so I’d simply suggest you try and get a better sense of the culture of the place. 

In Summary
If you want to be an architect on a successful, visible project that focuses on Children’s Entertainment there aren’t many options in town.  I suggest probing a little on the atmosphere and the possibility of a founder/dictator.

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