CPNI: Manager of Software Development

February 10, 2010

CPNI is looking for a Manager of Software Development:

We are seeking top candidates for the position of a hands-on Agile Software Manager to Lead and Mentor a Team of Java Software Developers. The position is of prime importance to the company; the selected candidate will be responsible for development of new products or extensions of existing products. The Manager of Software Development will receive specifications from the Product Management Team and translate them into software fully and thoroughly QA tested and delivered to the Operations Team.

This might be a replacement to this earlier role that CPNI posted.

The Good
A friend interviewed there once, suggested that the people he spoke to seemed intelligent, that the interview process at least was thorough and seemed solid.  They seem to be agile, which I find appealing.  Their technology stack sounds like it has some reasonable points, although there’s not a lot of detail there.  There also seems to be some mobile work, even though it’s J2ME.  Mobile payments is certainly a space that people continue to believe will grow, although it still hasn’t gathered a lot of traction in North America.

A source implied that he/she couldn’t come to terms on payment with CPNI, so their pay scale might not be the best in Toronto.  Then again, this is a pretty senior role, so it might be better-compensated.  A recent commenter suggested that he/she would rather have ebola than work for CPNI again.  There’s not a lot of information in that comment and I’m pretty sure it’s hyperbole, so it’s hard to read much into it, but it’s a pretty passionate statement.  In response to that comment, someone I know contacted me directly to suggest that that comment is ‘unfair’.  While he/she didn’t provide much additional detail, “definitely better than ebola” was made clear.

The Bad
As far as mobile work goes, J2ME is increasingly not seen as the area of expansion, with Android and iPhone capturing a lot of attention.   I’m personally not fond of using EJB, although if it’s EJB 3.x, I might consider it tolerable.

What’s Missing
What’s their approach to agile?  What are they using for web services?  What’s the compensation like at CPNI?  What’s the size and composition of the team?  How is CPNI doing in the mobile payment marketplace, and what are the challenges they and their products currently face?  Why are they looking for another dev manager already?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to Fitnesse; it was de rigeur in agile shops for a while, but it’s never really excited me.  Then again, a company that takes testing seriously is always a good thing.  And then, your mileage will vary if you need to drive out to …

The Location
CPNI’s out at 427 and Burnhamthorpe, which is not a particularly exciting neighbourhood.  If you’re already in the west end of the subway line, the transit route might not be that much worse than downtown, and if you’re west and used to driving, it might be fine, but for most of the rest of the city, it’s pretty far west.  I commuted from the east end to an office north of there for a few months for a contract, and I can’t say that I’d be anxious to do it again, all other things being equal.

In Summary
This is a fairly senior role for a company that claims to be operating in an agile way.  If you want to be in a management position at an agile shop, and the location doesn’t throw you, then this would probably be worth a look.  Try to coax additional information out of past employees who might give you a better sense for some of the rumors above.


socialDeck: Rockstar Engineer

April 20, 2009

socialDeck is looking for a Rockstar Engineer:

We’re building a platform for cross platform gaming — technology that enables games to be played between mobile and the web. Think playing games from your iPhone to Facebook to BlackBerry to MySpace.

We are looking for the brightest and most talented software engineer who will work with the platform team on building out our gaming platform in the cloud.

He/she will design and implement highly-scalable server systems to connect to the world’s most popular networks.

He/she will also be involved in building our client frameworks for iPhone, BlackBerry, Facebook, and Android.

The Good
They’ve got a pleasant web presence and decent press. They’re in an interesting/growing space: mobile / web social gaming. They seem to be taking a bit of a product angle with their talk of ‘a platform’.

Sounds like they’re funded, with nice space. The technology stack sounds reasonable, and the technology would probably be varied and interesting. And, frankly, it’s games. Working on games can be fun.

The Bad
They’re a startup, so odds are good that they’re not paying terribly well, although you’d have to inquire to find out.

Also, someone stop these people before they make another video. Teach them how to use screencasting software instead of a handheld cam pointed at a laptop on an angle.

Heck, I’ll even volunteer to help get ’em kickstarted. A couple hours with Screenflow and their demo would take on new life.

What’s Missing?
Where are they? What’s this position pay? How many other people work there? How long is their funding good for? What’s involved in the platform, and what’s the expected mix of game/platform development?

Your mileage may vary on working for an early-stage startup, especially if the compensation is low.

The Location
Besides ‘King West’, it’s hard to say. Probably a little off the beaten path if you’re not already west of the core, or driving. You’d need to inquire to know more.

In Summary
Game platform and game development on King West for a startup.

Direct Leap: Developer

March 6, 2009

Direct Leap is looking for two Developers [DavidCrow.ca]:


We are a small but established company building telephony applications with Ruby and Asterisk. Our products are specifically designed for national, non-profit customers. Our growing, long-term customer base have used the products we develop to achieve startling progressive election victories.

Our key product is a part-Rails, part custom distributed network application with an AJAX+Comet interface. We are an Agile/Scrum shop, and do test driven development.

We’re looking to add two permanent full time developers to our growing team. We work hard, but give everyone a minimum one month per year paid vacation. Our office is in a converted textile factory at Queen and Spadina.


There’s not a ton of information there, so I won’t do a full write-up.  It sounds like an interesting company doing something interesting to improve the world using fun technologies.  That part’s all good.  It’s not clear to me whether or not you’ll be well-compensated financially — for a small company in a “do-good” space, that’s not always true.  Then again, if you can afford to adjust your salary expectations for the right gig, this seems like it might be worth a further look.  The location’s not bad from what they say – a little off the beaten path, but in a fun area with lots of other startups.

Frameworks: Java Developer

January 28, 2009

Frameworks is looking for a Java Developer, although whether that’s an “intermediate developer” or a “guru” seems to be open to further debate.  Either way:

Frameworks is a leading provider of technology solutions in the retail industry. We have nearly two decades of experience working with some of the world’s leading retailers to optimize their business processes and accelerate learning within their organization. Currently, our core technologies and fail-safe infrastructure deliver online training to over 100,000 users in over 3,500 locations. We’re developing a next generation retail store performance management system leveraging Java, Ajax, web services, and Flash.

Frameworks is looking for a full-time Java Developer to join our growing team [who will be] responsible for developing, unit testing, and deploying a number of J2EE based retail products and sub-systems for a large North American retailer.

As a pivotal member of our development team, the successful applicant will be participating in all areas of software development including technical analysis, architecture, prototyping, development, integration and system documentation. He or she will be working with an application architect, a business analyst and client representatives.

They’re looking for someone with experience in Eclipse, Ant, Spring, Hibernate, Spring WS, Spring MVC, Ajax, Castor, Struts, SQL Server.

The Good
For the most part, it seems like a reasonable technology stack (although your mileage may vary on a few items).  It sounds like the company has a popular product with a significant user-base.   If they’re just starting their next-generation system, then you might have a chance to play a significant role.

The Bad
First and foremost, the fact that there’s a posting (recruiter?) asking for a Guru even though the company in question seems to want to hire an intermediate is either misleading or outright confusing.  Have things changed, and one posting reflects reality while the other’s out of date?  Is the recruiter bumping up expectations even though the company only wants an intermediate developer?  That sounds like a losing strategy.

What’s Missing?
It’d be good to understand a little more about the technology stack, in particular why they’re looking for both Spring MVC and Struts.  Once you understand what they’re trying to hire, perhaps having an understanding of the compensation would be useful, although I’d want to understand the intermediate/guru issue first.  Which retailer would you be focused on, and why does this one retailer need so much attention?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to some of the  listed technologies:

  • Spring-WS is pretty decent, but it’s a SOAP stack.
  • I haven’t heard much about Castor recently; seems like it’s been left behind.

The Location
They’re located at King and Dufferin, which is, frankly, just too far west for many of you.  If you’re commuting by car, and the QEW/427/Gardiner area is plausible, it’s not so bad.  If you’re already in Parkdale, or somewhere in the west end, it’s not totally out of range, but for someone like me coming from near the Beaches, it would be a pretty ugly commute unless I drove.  Go train plus TTC would also be pretty ugly.  There is decent food in Parkdale, although it’s not quite the hotbed that some more central locations are.

In Summary
If you’re willing to take a job at King and Dufferin and you’ve got Java experience, then I suggest you talk to them to get a better sense for what they’re really looking for in terms of experience — and then you can report back.

Unspecified: Director, Software Development

January 13, 2009

The Mergis Group is helping an unspecified company look for a Director, Software Development:

The Director, Software Development leads the design and oversees development of cross-functional, multiplatform application systems across the organization. The Director, Software Development is to ensure and/or maintain alignment with the Lines of Business (LOBs) strategies. The Director, Software Development is also accountable for the on-time, on-budget completion of project deliverables, adhering to standards, such as Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), and Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL).

He/she is recognized as having exceptional leadership skills and competence in software architecture and development disciplines. He/she is committed to, and deeply experienced with structured methodologies (including SDLC, Waterfall, Agile, etc) and excels in instilling effective software development practices in a fast paced, results-oriented environment.

  • Establish and lead a team of application development specialists to provide application support, system development and integration services to meet the needs of the business
  • Promote the use and evolution of a flexible, agile-oriented SDLC which fosters close, transparent communications across and is built upon a close relationship with client business units
  • Organize and manage resource requirements and priorities effectively.  Create efficient resource allocation plans and team schedules, and manage team resources for high performance
  • Ensure on-time delivery of high-quality applications and collaborate effectively with other business members to implement consistent system architecture and development standards

The Good
It’s a senior position, and, if the Mergis Group has the salary range right, a pretty highly-paid technical job for Toronto: $125,000 – $199,000.

The Bad
In that pay range, you’re likely to face off against some pretty serious competition.  That’s not really a bad thing, but it’s certainly a challenge, and might affect your odds of getting the job.

There’s not really enough here to get into much that’s bad.   That said, it always irritates me when software postings put “agile” and “Waterfall” in a comma-separated list.  To be honest, I’ve never yet met a company that really seriously wanted you to understand “waterfall” as opposed to, say, RUP, and I’ve certainly never met a company that thought their candidates should really be experts in Waterfall and agile.  I’m also a little suspicious of companies that look like they might be into heavy process, with ITIL,  CMM/I and ISO mentioned all in one breath, that’s a possibility.  And when you couple that with the desire for agile methods, it’s hard to imagine reconciling all of those conflicting desires into something cohesive and usable.

Then again, it’s a pretty generic recruiter-based posting, so these are simply points to talk to the employer about.

What’s Missing?
What’s the company?  What do they do?  Where are they located, other than Mississauga?  What’s the number, size and composition of the development teams you’d be directing?  What software does this company develop?  What’s the organizational structure like?  What are the challenges facing the development organization?  What technologies do they use?  The missing items are extensive.  Then again, the salary range is enough of a draw to get you to follow up, if you think there’s a chance you’d get this job.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in Mississauga, particularly without knowing where yet.

Your mileage may also vary when it comes to a company that can desire to use agile methods, and yet talk about waterfall, ITIL, ISO and CMMI.  If process is important to you, then you’d want to talk to them and see how they reconcile all of those, and where they put the emphasis. 

In Summary
If you’re willing to face a corporate environment with lots of standards and work in Mississauga, then being a well-paid director of development for a consumer packaged goods company doesn’t sound too bad to me.

Oracle: Senior Director of Enterprise Development

December 14, 2008

Oracle is looking for a Senior Director of Enterprise Development:

Oracle’s Communications Global Business Unit (CGBU) is looking for a Senior Director of Software Development for its Communications Platform organization. This position will report to the VP of Communications Platform and Technology and reside in Toronto, Canada. This position will be responsible for delivering and supporting a robust platform of architectures, software, standards and services that enable the rapid delivery of innovative, high-quality business applications for the CGBU based upon the Oracle Fusion vision and strategy. The ideal candidate will apply their leadership, knowledge, vision, experience, innovation and drive working with key stakeholders to translate critical CGBU business objectives, needs and requirements into results.

The Good
Oracle is a pretty big and successful organization, and this is a pretty senior position within Oracle.  They’re looking for you to recommend process change, manage management, manage development teams.  Oracle seems to be doing well enough on the markets, and is probably a relatively stable employer in tougher economic times.  For that matter, the sector this part of Oracle services, telecom, is another sector that seems to be weathering the crisis well enough.

The Bad
For a position this senior, there’s a lot of information missing, which means you’re going to have to start the conversation with them before you really get a sense for whether or not this is something of interest to you.  The posting on the Oracle iRecruitment site doesn’t add anything significant to the posting on Workopolis. 

What’s Missing
Although Oracle says “local candidate to the Mississauga area”, it would be nice if they made reference to a particular location.  I’m guessing that you’d be working near the 403/401 at Hurontario and Brittania.  Having some sense of the compensation would be nice.  It would be nice to understand a lot more about the Communications Global Business Unit, what they do, what products they offer.  It sounds like they offer solutions for the telecom industry (OSS, etc.) via the product lines they acquired from Portal Software and Metasolv.  It would also be good to understand a lot more about the management structure you’d be working on – what are the multiple layers of management you’d need to manage, and what are the number, size, location and composition of the teams under them?  Why is this position open, and what are the challenges and goals you’d be facing?  Some of that kind of information are things they probably don’t want to publish, but there’s a lot of room for information that they should be happy to publish.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working with remote and off-shore development teams.  But then, if you want to be in technology management for a big organization, I think that’s probably something you’re going to need to come to terms with anyway. 

I’m going to assume that this isn’t likely to be a role that’s very hands-on with technology.  But I’m assuming that if you’re interested in being a Senior Director of Enterprise Development for Oracle, you’re ok with that.

In Summary
If you’ve got experience with management in a technology organization and you’re in the Mississauga area, this could be an interesting opportunity to pursue.  It’s probably best if you have telecom experience and/or good experience with Oracle’s product line.

World Vision: Director of Support and Infrastructure

April 29, 2008

World Vision is looking for a Director of Support and Infrastructure:

  • Define the enterprise technology architecture and strategies, and set all associated policies, standards, and guidelines.
  • Define technical evaluation criteria and participate in product selection for technology architecture domains.
  • Ensure that proposed architectures are sound and aligned with corporate assets and competencies and provide guidance to ensure proper technical partner / vendor selections.
  • Identify and understand trends in the IT landscape.

The Good
It’s a senior role for an organization focused on the protection of children, which most people would agree is a pretty noble goal.

The Bad
They’re large enough to think that PMP certification and ITIL are useful approaches in the management of IT, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

There’s not a ton of information on the work, process and technology. I’m guessing about the location for the job, and I’ll put in a similar guess for compensation: not exceptionally high. Honestly, if money is a key factor, I’m guessing that World Vision can’t compete, and to a certain extent, may not want to. That said, if this opportunity excites you, I suspect you’re better off talking to them than making assumptions.

The location is out by 410/403 and the 401. That’s probably best for those of you in the West, or possibly the North, and certainly for those of you already highway-commuting.

Some of you are probably thinking that PMP and ITIL are good signs, I’m just not necessarily in agreement.

They’re self-identified as a Christian organization. Not everyone has a Christian background, and/or would be comfortable working for an organization that does. That said, I know someone who’s worked with them directly, and who would be happy to say that they’re a nice bunch of people, as you might expect.

In Summary
Seems tailor-made for a highway commuter (or someone already in the Northwest) looking to improve the world, rather than bring home the bacon, and willing to do so within a Christian organization.