HandyMetrics: Technical Lead

May 20, 2012

HandyMetrics is looking for a Technical Lead:

  • The Technical Lead has primary responsibility for overseeing all development activities related to the products and will provide guidance for members of the development team. In addition, this individual needs to be a talented developer who can take initiative and spearhead challenging projects. Working with the other members on the development team, this individual will help to ensure all software deployed meets a high standard, delivering on business and reliability requirements. Ultimately we are looking for someone who is passionate about making a difference with the skills and experience to contribute to the company’s development, while growing professionally themselves.
  • Our systems are currently implemented using Rails 2.3, with plans to move to Rails 3+. Using Sencha Touch 1 mobile application framework with plans to move to Sencha 2+.

The Good
The technology mix sounds reasonable to me: Ruby on Rails, Sencha Touch, AWS. They claim to use agile methods. Their product seems to be meeting with some acceptance: “Our products are already in over 100 hospital sites and we are expanding internationally.”

They have apparently been nominated as “Startup of the Year” for 2012 by York Technology Alliance. That doesn’t mean a lot to me, but it’s probably better than no-one noticing you.

You can dig into the background of some of the people already involved.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to being part of a startup within the University Health Network (UHN), it might  feel like a startup with a big brother to lean on, or it might feel like a cash-strapped enterprise. It seems like they’re looking for a jack of all trades — unix server administration, development, leadership, information visualization, front-end HTML5/CSS work

It sounds like they’re a very small group — that could either be a great opportunity or be something you’re not into.

The Location
It’s hard to say, but it looks like they’re on hospital row, which means there isn’t a ton of stuff right there at your fingertips, but you’re also not very far from Dundas, where you can go east to lots of restaurants and shopping, or west to Chinatown, Baldwin and Kensington.  There’s lots around if you’re willing to go a little farther afield. They’re easy to reach by TTC, but would be a pain by car and require a subway trip from Union.

What Should You Ask?
What’s it like to be part of a small group within the University Health Network (UHN). Does it feel like a startup, or part of a large organization?

What’s the compensation like — and given that this is a startup, what’s the salary/equity formula?

In Summary
If you’re looking for a lead role on a Rails project, or you’re  looking for an organization where you value the work, this seems like it might be an interesting opportunity for you.


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.

Unspecified: Project Development Team Lead

February 12, 2009

An unspecified company is looking for a project development team lead:

Reporting to the Development Manager of Customer Solutions (DMCS), the Project Development Team Lead will own and ensure on time delivery of the development portion of the projects. Project Development Team Lead will own and ensure tight working relationship with the business owner, QA team lead and project manager (PM) of the project towards the full successful completion. Project Development Team Lead will act as a business partner in all aspects of the project delivery. Project Development Team Lead will work very closely with Customer Solutions Architects, other Project Development Team Leads and QA Team Leads to leverage the technology platform to produce the right technical solution in order to support our business initiatives. 

  • Comprehensive and detailed knowledge of the online system internals along with the key interfaces 
  • Responsible for communication with online business regarding project and deliverables 
  • Responsible for development tasks assignment to the development team 
  • Responsible for tracking and providing weekly status updates to PM and DMCS 
  • Ownership of the development deliverables of the project 
  • Collaborate with architects and other project team leads on the features design and implementation 
  • Responsible for reviewing code standards adherence and level of in-line documentation 
  • Responsible for code reviews and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Responsible for unit testing execution validation and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Share responsibility with QA team for performance testing execution validation and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Responsible for profiler execution validation and providing written sign off to DMCS 
  • Responsible for maximizing the maintainability and extensibility of the solution 
  • Responsible for project solution production performance 
  • Responsible for the continued strengthening of the technical skills of the development team – coaching and mentoring, including reporting progress to DMCS 

This sounds like what is commonly called a ‘Technical Lead’ in the toronto market.  And, although the customer isn’t specified, some of the unique terms in the posting seems to point directly to Diebold.

The Good
It looks to be a moderately senior position with a fair amount of responsibilities.  It also sounds like they take some of those responsibilities fairly seriously, which is probably a good thing.  There’s also a mention of kiosks, which is a relatively rare area these days, and possibly interesting in its own right.

Well, Diebold, if it is Diebold, is a well-known company with their hands in a lot of relatively unique areas, from ATMs to Voting machines.  With a 1.6B market cap, and a stock price that could be doing worse, they seem like they’re at least moderately stable, although it looks like Diebold believes they may be in for some rough results in quarters to come.

The Bad
There’s no explicit mention of process, but there’s a lot of written sign-off.  Perhaps given the industries that Diebold is in, there may be a need for a very formal process compared to what some of you are used to.  This has a tendency to slow things down quite a bit, although there are industries where it seems to be a necessary evil.

What’s Missing
Is this Diebold or someone else?  What’s the project they need a team lead for?  What would you be working on, and what are the size and composition of the team(s) you’d be leading?  What are the technologies in use in this project?  Is it a new project or an existing one?  What’s the compensation like?  Where would you be working?  What’s the process they follow to develop software?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in this kind of a process environment.  Based on the the wording of some of the responsibiltiies, I suspect the process might drive me a little ’round the bend.  Then again, some people really like a very structured process, and sometimes that comes hand in hand with an organization that is ready and willing to allocate the kind of time required to do, for instance, good performance testing. 

The Location
We don’t even know the company, and certainly not the location.  That said, if it really is Diebold, their Canadian head office seems to be in Mississauga.

In Summary
If you’re a technical lead, or want to be, might be worth digging a little to find outo what’s up.  Unfortunately, without a list of technologies, a company or a location, it seems hard to get a real fix on this.

Broadridge: Team Lead

December 15, 2008

Broadridge Financial Solutions is looking for a Team Lead (monster/broadridge, monster/dean group) for their technical services team:

The Information Technology & Communications (TS-ITC) Team Lead reports to the Service Delivery Manager and works under the general direction of the Technical Services Management team.  The incumbent will be working within a dynamic team of individuals who are primarily L3 engineers who are responsible for multi-tiered environments, and multi-faceted with various architectures in an ASP organization.
The team Leader position will be responsible for managing a team of individuals whose main responsibilities encompasses, but is not limited to, Network Support, Middleware Support and Edgeware Support including implementation initiatives.  This role requires extensive knowledge and hands-on experience with Hardware, configuration and application, and needs to be fully conversant with Java, Tomcat, Apache and Network Services, DNS, SFTP, SSH, HTTP, etc.,

Another operational role, but in a team leadership position.

The Good
Broadridge has 5000 employees and a 1.7B  market cap, so although I’m not familiar with them myself, they’re obviously a big company involved in outsourcing financial services.  And a team leadership role isn’t a bad one to be in.

Their location in Toronto seems to be at 4 King Street West, which is a nice location – easy access to the TTC, including the Subway, the Path, GO train, not too hard to get to by car (although parking costs in that area are high), good restaurants, shops, coffee.  Can’t really complain.

It’s a role that doesn’t require a good background in the kind of technology that a developer would likely know well while offering experience in a lot of technologies that many developers wouldn’t know, but that might be useful for a role in technology management.  As a result, it might be an interesting transitional role for a senior developer or team lead looking to do less development and move into a broader role. Virtualization seems to be big here, and it’s a useful area in which to have good experience; also blades, network storage, etc.

The Bad
Due to the broad range of technologies you’d be working with, it’s unlikely that you’re likely to gain mastery of any one of them. 

What’s Missing
Although I’ve got a location from the broadridge website, is that where the candidate would be working?  If you’re leading a team, what’s the size and composition of the team?  What kinds of systems does Broadridge operate and that you would be supporting in an operational capacity?   Do they have products, or are they structured like a professional services organization?  What’s the compensation?  Is there a lot of off-hours work expected in this kind of operational role?

Many of the people with the skills they’re looking for are looking for development roles rather than an operational one, so your mileage may vary.

In Summary
An operational team leadership position in a large company that seems to be relatively successful at doing financial outsourcing.

Ministry of Education: Senior Enterprise Project Lead

November 6, 2008

The Ministry of Education is looking for a Senior Enterprise Project Lead:

In this challenging role, you will: plan, co-ordinate and control multiple concurrent projects and enterprise initiatives that address major business needs of client ministries and agency program areas; provide leadership and technical expertise in identifying solutions and deliverables, implementation of common approaches, technologies and standards; manage the development of comprehensive, integrated and detailed master project plans; monitor and track detailed technical aspects of projects and providing project management expertise, advice and guidance to clients; monitor deliverables for contract compliance; prepare Request for Services, Request for Proposals, and Request for Quotations, (RFSs, RFPs and RFQs), and evaluate proposals.

The Good
A senior role in the public sector in a visible organization — the Ontario Government.  A stable employer going into a downturn of unknown length and severity.  Working in the public sector gives you the opportunity to focus on helping your fellow citizens rather than maximizing profit.

The Bad
It sounds like you’re going to spend more time working with proposals than working with technology. 

What’s Missing
What projects would you be leading?  Are you going to be doing actual implementation work, or just making sure that it gets done?  Are you working with an in-house development team, or just working with vendors?  What’s the local organizational structure in which you’d find yourself?  What are your near-term goals?  If you’re working with local teams, what are their sizes and compositions?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in the public sector, and even though this sounds more  hands-on than the Manager, Applications and Business Services Office at the Ministry of Transportation, it still doesn’t sound like a really hands-on technical role. 

In Summary
If a senior role working for the Ontario government sounds appealing, then perhaps this is your gig.

Thomson Carswell: Technical Lead

October 22, 2008

Thomson Carswell is looking for a Technical Lead with a background in Java:

As Technical Lead you will participate in the analysis, specification, development, extension and integration of an Enterprise Content Acquisition, Management and Publishing System.

 Your duties will include:

 ·         analyzing and sizing development/construction activities;

·         assessing team member abilities and allocate tasks accordingly (in concert with Sr. Architect and Project Co-coordinator);

·         monitoring development activities;

·         regularly reporting the status and progress of development activities;

·         identifying development issues and resolve/escalate in concert with team members;

·         producing and reviewing UML artifacts;

·         producing or leading Technology Assessments;

·         producing code / scripts / configurations as required and leading code reviews;

·         ensuring development team follows proscribed processes;

·         planning and managing code versioning and code builds/branching, producing deployment plans and instructions;

·         developing support and maintenance management plans of production systems;

·         supporting System Integration and User Acceptance Testing;

·         managing defect resolution; and

·         supporting, training and mentoring developers.


The Good
Thomson Carswell has ~700 employees, and is part of Thomson Reuters, a company with a 25B Market Cap.  It seems like this should be a company with resources.  They’ve also won awards for ‘Top Employer’ and ‘Best Workplace’, although details about why are scant.  Unfortunately for Carswell, they didn’t take the opportunity to sell the good points of working at Carswell in this posting.  This is a moderately senior role.

The Bad
They’re up at Kennedy/401.  If you’re not already in northeast toronto, it’s a bit of a trek; many people will disqualify them on this basis alone.  

The team and process here feels very hieararchical, in terms of how roles are described.  References such as “proscribed processes”, task allocation, UML are hints that it’ll be a defined-process environment rather than a “get the job done” environment.  That said, they’re just hints — you’ll have to talk to Carswell to get a better feel.

And then the usual gaps in information.  What exactly is the process?  What’s will Carswell be doing with this content management and acquisition application?  What’s the team you’d be leading — what kind of team members and how many?  Who would you report to, and what would your goals be?  What’s the process?  What’s the compensation?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to the aforementioned location.

Not everyone wants to work for a big company.  Big companies tend to have resources, but come with policies and politics that isn’t everyone’s choice.

In Summary
If you’ve got a background in content management and you’re highway-commuting from the north or east, this could be interesting.  Talk to Carswell, get a feel for them, and try and learn why they’ve won awards as an employer and workplace.

CPP Investment Board: Manager / Lead

October 1, 2008

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is looking for a Manager, Application Services:

We are presently recruiting for a Manager, Application Services to join our dynamic Information Services Team. The Manager, Application Services leads the design and oversees development of cross-functional, multiplatform application systems across the CPP Investment Board.

The ideal candidate is recognized as having exceptional leadership skills and competence in software architecture and development disciplines. He/She is committed to, and deeply experienced with, service oriented architecture principles and excels in instilling effective software development practices in a fast paced, results-oriented environment.

This role interacts with various investment and investment operations departments across CPPIB, and partners effectively with other groups within Information Services, including Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Data Management, Quality Assurance and Infrastructure Management. It manages software development teams to meet project objectives and evolve CPPIB’s software applications to achieve its longer-term goals via a buy, build and integrate philosophy. This role partners closely with Enterprise Architecture to deliver solution architectures that are consistent with CPPIB’s broader architectural principles and directions.

They’re also looking for a Lead, Portfolio Analytics Systems:

The Lead, Portfolio Analytics Systems, manages a team of software engineers who design, develop and support quantitative models for cross asset investment strategies. This role partners closely with investment professionals across Public Market Investments’ (PMI) five (5) investment groups, and ensures the delivery of software engineering expertise backed by the infrastructure, architecture and data management capabilities of the broader Information Services team. 

This role manages the software engineering team to meet project and operational objectives, and design PMI’s analytic model systems to achieve goals of agility through re-use, production stability and controls (e.g. source library, change controls, logical security). It oversees software development and integration, maintenance of a coding library and knowledge repository to capture and distribute research documentation across PMI.

This role provides recommendations to senior management regarding the resources (human, financial, tools, etc.) required to complete assigned projects, and effectively manages change within the organization to transition systems from implementation to stable operations. When implementing new systems, this role takes a comprehensive view of the technology, process and architectural implications of the deliverables, and the change management activities associated with the project. It ensures that support resources are in place to support systems on a 7×24 basis, in conjunction with Infrastructure Management.

And finally, a Lead, Capital Markets Technology:

The Lead, Capital Markets Technologies, is responsible for the end-to-end delivery and support of technology solutions for CPPIB’s Global Capital Markets (GCM) Group. This role is a key relationship manager to the management team and investment professionals in this investment group, and is responsible for the implementation, support and integration of systems that support GCM’s portfolio management, analytic and trade execution activities. GCM is a sophisticated and rapidly growing portfolio management team, active across asset classes including cash and derivatives products in the equity, credit, currency and FX markets. This role is accountable for the client service relationship to GCM, manages the vendors that support investment systems and ensures that IS delivers the quality of technology expertise and services required for GCM to execute on their business objectives.

The ASP.NET career site they’re using makes it painful to get the above links, so be thankful for them.  The CPP Investment Board is a large investment organization that shepherds what is currently over $100B in assets for the canadian pension plan.  A large institutional investor, essentially.

The Good
The CPP IB is clearly a pretty significant organization, and one that has both public and private connections in a way.  These are pretty senior roles within the investment board, either what looks like a ‘development manager’ position or one of two team-lead positions.  I imagine these roles come with a fair amount of responsibility and an opportunity to make an impact.

Since the developer positions seemed to offer solid compensation, we might project that these will as well.

When processes are mentioned, they tend to use the word ‘agile’, which is good.  Then again, some of these postings also talk a lot about PMI, which might imply there are other process models afoot.  Similarly,  if agile methods are meant to adapt to change, the phrase “change control” tends to speak to organizations that aren’t thoroughly agile.

The only location listed is 1 Queen East, which would be Queen and Yonge, and a decent neighbourhood to work in, although it’s not certain that that’s where these roles would be.

The Bad
There’s some business-speak in there like “Manage stakeholder expectations”.  None of those phrases are necessarily wrong, but I’ve come to take that as a bad sign at times.

I’m getting very mixed messages as to the likely process.

The usual information gaps apply.  Where are they located?  There’s very little about compensation: do they do RSP matching?  What salaries do these roles command?  What technologies do they use other than SOA/ESB?  How many people would you be managing or leading, and what’s the composition of the teams?  How much experience are they looking for in these roles?  Why are their postings on their site that are six months old or more?

Although your mileage may vary about working for a kind of investment firm while you’re hearing about all the investment bank disasters, the CPP IB would be happy to quell your fears about their exposure to the credit issues in the states from their FAQ.  Your mileage may also vary when it comes to a pervasively service-oriented approach, although it would take more understanding of the specifics of their business domain to really evaluate that.

In Summary
Pretty senior roles in a pretty significant institutional investor which may be well-paid.  If agility is important to you, I’d recommend probing on that in more detail, and clearing up some of the information gaps.