FreshBooks: TeamLead, Developers, QA, Designer, etc.

April 15, 2010

FreshBooks is hiring a boatload of positions including two enterprise developers, five software developers, a QA analyst, senior designer, web developer and more.  I’ve talked about the pros and cons of working at FreshBooks lots of times, so if you’re a new reader, do feel free to read over some of my past postings.

In this case, I think the sheer volume of open positions is also a strong positive.  Although I doubt the need to hire a lot of people would cause FreshBooks to hire people they don’t really want, it does mean that if you’re one of five worthy candidates, they could hire all of you, instead of just the one they like best, so it’s a good time to be interviewing at FreshBooks.

Although I’ve found FreshBooks an interesting company for longer than I’ve been doing Toronto Tech Jobs, in the last couple of years, FreshBooks has given me a couple of referral rewards, so you’re welcome to consider my opinion biased.


FreshBooks: Enterprise Developer & Bounty

March 24, 2010

First of all, congratulations to FreshBooks on another successful hire via Toronto Tech Jobs; I’m happy it worked out.

Secondly, I’m also happy that FreshBooks is again offering me the referral fee, and as I’ve said before, my current stance is that it’s ok for me to take them as long as I’m pretty clear on the fact that I’m doing so.  If anyone wants to start a dialogue on the subject, now’s your chance, I’m listening.

And, co-incidentally, I saw another FreshBooks job posting go by today, so I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone and take a quick look at the posting.

FreshBooks is looking for an Enterprise Software Developer:

If building out super-reliable, high-performance applications in a disciplined, agile manner is what you love, drop us a line and let’s see if there’s a fit.

We NEED you to have:

* 5 years’ experience building enterprise-class applications
* 3 years’ experience working with ORMs and DAOs
* A demonstrable passion for unit testing, continuous integration and code coverage
* Communication skills like whoa

The Good
The usual for FreshBooks.  I like the company, they’ve got a good product, a clear profit model, a sizeable customer base who is generally pretty happy, an interesting company culture and some good people, some of whom I’ve been fortunate enough to help find homes there.  They’re a real product company with real customers, not a banking business, marketing company or insurance agency, which already sets them apart from a lot of the jobs in Toronto.  It’s a product that you can run out and try before you even interview, get a sense for what they do — that’s a great way to get a sense for whether or not it’s something you could be interested in building.  Some of the technologies they’re using appeal to me.

The Bad
Some of the technologies they’re using don’t immediately appeal to me.  Their largest codebase, last I heard, was PHP, and while I respect the fact that PHP powers much of the web (anyone heard of LAMP?), it’s not a language that makes me perk my ears up out of excitement.  I’m told that there are some challenges in the codebase, although I also believe that they’re on the path to something that I’d be happier with, and that they seem to know where they’re headed and why.  I don’t want to say too much more on the subject because I don’t know the extent to which the conversations I’ve had were in confidence.  For some of you, the location will be the strongest detractor, but i’ll come back to that.

What’s Missing
What’s the compensation like at FreshBooks for an Enterprise Software Developer?  Why the relatively new ‘enterprise’ tone in the posting?  What technologies will you be working with?  What’s the size and composition of the team, and where would you fit into that?  Do the languages and tools in use at FreshBooks really support refactoring in anything but the most basic of forms?

Your mileage may well vary when it comes to the technologies, but you’d definitely want to get the full story from them on what they’re using before making too many assumptions; it might appeal more than you think.  And my mileage definitely varies when it comes to the location.

The Location
Their location is off the beaten path for transit users up at Dufferin and Glencairn.  It’s about a 15 or 20 minute walk from Glencairn station, or you can take the Dufferin Bus up from Bloor.  If you’re coming in off the 401, it’s probably pretty reasonable, and there’s a fair number of food options in the area if you have a car.  The options are somewhat less exciting on foot, but there’s still food options and shopping around.  For some, this location is normal, possibly even better than some because you don’t have to fight your way to the core.  On the other hand, if you’re out in Pickering and you like to take the Go train, this is probably not something you’d even consider.  For me, the location takes just long enough to get to from my house that it would be a constant, if minor, irritation.  So in this case, your mileage really will vary.

And, in case you missed the first paragraph and any previous posts on the subject, you should know that FreshBooks has twice offered me a bounty for referrals, which I’ve accepted.  I don’t think that unduly biases me towards the company, but it’s important that I be clear about it.

In Summary
If FreshBooks sounds like your kind of company, and you’ve got a background in enterprise software development, there may be a good match here.

Fuel Industries: Server Programmer (Ottawa)

February 21, 2010

Fuel Industries is looking for a Server Programmer in Ottawa:

We are looking for someone who is well versed in both Windows (ASP.NET, C#) and Linux (PHP) development environments. A better than basic understanding of the various OS platforms, web servers and networks is required as well.

You will be involved in all aspects of the business from project briefs, risk assessments, setting milestones, assessing resourcing requirements through to sign-off and delivery. This will involve building trusted and respectful relationships across the company. All this while providing continuous up to date commentary and forecasts to all levels of the business.

It looks to me like Fuel Industries is a cross between an advertising agency and a game company (advergaming? gamevertising?), using games to build branding for companies and/or products.  Scott Hunter from Fuel Industries contacted me directly to say they were having trouble finding good people and suggested I take a look at their posting.  I’d just about finished with the writeup when it finally clicked that this was in Ottawa; for some reason I’d deluded myself into thinkin that Fuel Industries /also/ had a Toronto office.  As a result, most of you have already stopped reading.

The Good
It’s not banking or insurance, so it’s already slightly more interesting than your average tech job in Toronto.  Social/casual games and facebook integration seem to be big for them and it’s definitely a growth segment, so even if you don’t end up feeling like Fuel Industries is your long-term home, this might be a good company at which to hone your social gaming skills that you’ll use to launch the next Zynga.   It also sounds like some of their projects may have significant scale-out, which is a good skillset to pick up if you don’t already have it.  Also, if Fuel Industries is having trouble finding good people, and you’re “Good People (TM)” then presumably you’ve got a good shot.

It sounds like it’s a small enough place that it’s all about getting things done and less about heavy formal processes and “but that’s Steve’s job”.  I count that as good, although some people are more comfortable with the latter.

It looks like Scott’s got a passing interest in JVM languages, and you could learn a little bit about him since I imagine you’d be working with him.  He seems sane.  Fuel Industries also has a helpful list of twitter users that you could use to learn more about your potential co-workers, and it also implies they know a little about social media, which should be in their wheelhouse.  Heck, they even have a Wikipedia entry.

The Bad
It’s basically advertising.  I’ll touch on that again in YMMV, but I know a lot of people who’d be happy for me to place that directly in the ‘bad’ category.  Then again, if you can find a well-paid job in Toronto curing cancer with your favorite programming language, you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

They mention a wide array of languages, some of which you might not have.  It sounds like they do a lot of PHP, which is not surprising for a company with tie-ins to Facebook, although I don’t know that many people that really love working in PHP, despite the fact that a lot of serious internet companies are powered by it.

What’s Missing
How many people are there?  What’s the size and composition of the team you’d be on?  Who would you be working with?  What kinds of projects will you be working on?  What’s the mix of technologies likely to be in practice, and how hung up are they on you having experience with all or most of their stated platforms?  What’s the compensation like?  Would you be doing any mobile work?

The Location
It’s a little farther out than most of the jobs I post.  It’s in Ottawa.  🙂  I won’t claim to know anything about the area.

Your mileage will definitely vary if you want to commute to Ottawa.  If you’re willing to consider relocation, you’d need to understand how they’d support that kind of a move.

Not everyone wants to work in what amounts to advertising, even if it’s building games.  Your mileage may vary as to what Fuel Industries does, so if that’s a concern for you, then you might want to look over their portfolio in detail and talk to the company about the sorts of work they do, and where you’d fit into that.  Then again, that’s a good idea for any company at which you’re considering applying for a position.

This sort of work is often a good environment for trying new technology, as the projects you’re working on may be short-lived.  It’s less likely to be the kind of place where you build a massive code-base that you have to support for five years.  This may be good or bad depending on your point of view.

In Summary
If you’ve got the skills you’re looking for, the location isn’t totally out of the question, and you’d like something a little fast paced, and/or to get into gaming and facebook integration, then this might be a good fit.  Submit your resume to fuel industries via their website or get in touch with Scott Hunter.

Qualcomm: WebKit Rendering Lead

January 8, 2010

Qualcomm is looking for a WebKit Rendering Lead:

Our Web Technologies team is looking for candidates who have a passion for enhancing the web experience with rich multimedia and graphics. Extend your experience in audio, video, imaging, and graphics technologies as you accelerate the web with HTML5, Javascript, browser plugins (Flash) and CSS. We are preferably looking for ‘webkit committer’ or ‘webkit reviewer’ who can take a lead role optimizing WebKit eye candy.

As a member of the Web Technologies team you will be involved in creating the next generation mobile web experience by leading an engineering team to design and optimize the WebKit rendering engine for power and performance. Build open web standards (W3C) into the Webkit engine using open multimedia and graphics standards such as Khronos OpenMax IL, OpenVG, and OpenGL ES. Realize your innovations by collaboratively integrating the solution with product, systems and integration teams

The Good
WebKit has been a leading browser engine for some time now — it’s the engine at the core of Chrome, Safari, iPhone and Android.  HTML is increasingly moving into supporting more rich experiences, and it sounds like you’d be working on the leading edge of that.  If you’re already a committer or reviewer, it sounds like you’d have a big leg up, and this would be a chance to get paid to do something you might currently be doing as hobby.  This is also the kind of work that is pretty difficult to find in Toronto, in my experience.

The Bad
Although a job doing WebKit work is pretty  exciting, if that’s your goal, you might prefer doing Android/WebKit in Waterloo, Safari/iPhone WebKit in Cupertino, or Chrome/WebKit in Mountain View(?).  While you’ll be working on a leading browser engine and a leading area of that browser engine, you won’t be working for one of the most exciting companies in that area.  Qualcomm’s interest in this is probably LiMo, although you’d have to talk to them to get a better sense of what they’re doing and why.  Still, that isn’t a massive downside.

What’s Missing?
Almost everything other than the work.  What does Qualcomm get out of WebKit dev, is this to power LiMo, or for some other reason?  What’s the compensation like?  Who would you be working with at Qualcomm, on what team, in what division, and how many of the other people are in Toronto?  Where’s this office located?

Your mileage might vary when it comes to the location, or to some of the specifics that Qualcomm has thoughtfully left out of the posting, but if this is the kind of work you want to do, you’ll probably be talking to Qualcomm anyway.

The Location
It looks to be at Qualcomm’s office up by Buttonville Airport / Markham / 404 & Hwy 7.  This is a common tech area, but it’s definitely “out of the way” for people who aren’t already up north of the city, or highway-commuting from the east end.

In Summary
There are probably two categories of people who would read this posting.  Those who have the interest and experience to find this a really interesting opportunity and those who don’t.  In the former case, you’re probably going to want to lwarn more no matter what I say. In the latter case, you might find the posting interesting, but you probably can’t get the job even if you wanted it, so it’s only interesting in passing, and you’ve already moved on.

Unspecified: Vice President, Engineering

March 24, 2009

ROSS is helping an unspecified company look for a Vice President, Engineering:

Reporting directly to the CEO, and serving as a key member of the Senior Executive Team, the Vice President Engineering will drive the strategy and vision of our client’s product development in alignment with our client’s overall goals.​  The successful candidate will have solid experience in working with young technology companies, and in building process oriented structure, which facilitates the delivery of products.

Working closely with the senior management team, the successful individual will direct the growth and development of the product in alignment with the strategic direction of the Company.​  The focus of this role will be on evolving their technology to meet current and future requirements while implementing strong processes and disciplines within the Engineering team.

The company sounds suspiciously like Bluecat Networks.  Frankly, if it’s not Bluecat, then someone’s cribbed from a Bluecat posting somewhere, as it’s very much couched in the same language.

The Good
It’s a senior role at what seems to be a private company (so I can’t really tell you much about their finances).  There are also few opportunities to get involved in lower-level development in Toronto, so what they’re doing might be appealing to some of you.  They claim to be looking for someone with experience in Agile.

The Bad
Many of you won’t have the right mix of experience to qualify for the position: Software Development, networking and low-level development, hardware, and tech management.  Then again, if you do have the experience, you probably won’t find a lot of people competing with you who do.  It also sounds like the engineering department is a bit of a mess, given the call-to-action:

This role is a challenge! You’ll be walking into an environment that needs a good clean-up; this isn’t for the faint at heart or someone just looking for maintenance!! Our client needs someone to take their Engineering Department to the next level.

What’s Missing?
Is this really bluecat?  Why are they hiring a VP during a downturn?  What’s their financial position like?  What’s the compensation like for this role?  Where do you fit in the overall organizational structure?  What’s the size and composition of the engineering team?

The posting seems to be pretty up-front that this is a challenging role in an environment that needs significant change, rather than simply to manage the status quo.  Not everyone is looking for that kind of challenge, and you’d want to be sure that the company really has the appetite for this kind of change.

Assuming it’s Bluecat, they’re at Yonge/401, they’re a little far north for someone coming from the east or west, or living in the core, but they’re not bad if you’re up in mid-town, uptown, or highway commuting.  They’d be awful for someone who’s taking the GO train.

In Summary
If you’ve got experience in tech management as well as Java enterprise development and low-level, networking and hardware, then you’re probably in a fairly small set of people who’s well-suited for the job, and you may want to drop a line to ROSS to get put in touch with Bluecat.

Follow-Up: Oracle/OnDemand CRM: Software Development Manager

January 30, 2009

It looks like Oracle is still looking (or looking again) for a Software Development Manager for their OnDemand CRM product line.  I posted this last April, almost a year ago, and I haven’t seen it very often in the interim.  So if you do end up inquiring, I might want to find out if someone took the job and left quickly, or if, in fact, they stopped looking for a while.  Either way, there may be a story there that you want to hear.

In any case, the posting isn’t so bad, although the location’s pretty far north for  many of you.  There’s mention of Agile.  The posting has changed somewhat, the the fundamentals are still pretty similar.

Informiam/Genesys: Java Developers, Intermediate and Senior

August 26, 2008

Informiam / Genesys is looking for Java Developers, Intermediate and Senior:

As a part of our team of software developers you will be a contributor to the design and implementation of Genesys/Informiam’s rich interface web-based applications and products.

We are looking for developers with strong Java skills, good understanding of data modeling and relational database fundamentals, object-oriented design, a creative software design sense, and enthusiasm to build our complex and rich internet applications — real-time business intelligence and reporting analytics products used by some of the largest IT companies in the world.

The Good
A friend works there, and I know at least one other developer there has a good reputation via friends and colleagues.   Having a good team counts for a lot, so having two future colleagues with good reputations goes along way with me.

The technology mix is also interesting, for the most part: “Java 5 + 6, Spring 2.5, Spring Security (Acegi), Restlet, ActiveMQ, Maven 2, GWT, and Hibernate/JPA on a daily basis”

The Bad
I can’t personally summon much enthusiasm for what Informiam produces and sells.  The location is also pretty awkward for many of you.  Unless your house is North of the 401 and/or somewhere near uptown Yonge street, the location might be a bit of a problem.  There’s a fair amount around, but it’s not a commute that I’d be looking for.  It’d be nice if they talked a bit about the work you’d be doing, your role, the process, the compensation.  There’s also very little about who Informiam is, and why you might want to work for them.

They mention ESB; that either means that Informiam has some very tough technical challenges ahead, or they like to adopt complex and painful technologies.  You decide.

I’m under the impression that they offer reasonable but unexceptional compensation.

In Summary
If you’re north of the 401 and looking for a job north of the 401 that isn’t out at Buttonville Airport or for someone huge like IBM, Informiam might be a good fit.  If you do take the job, lemme know and I’ll tell you  who you can trust.  😉