I Love Rewards: Java Ninja

April 20, 2009

I Love Rewards is looking for a “Java Ninja”:

We want great Java Ninja’s [sic] to join our rapidly-expanding development team. You want to work on hard problems and be recognized and rewarded when you go above and beyond (which is often!). You want to work for a small company big on attitude and character, and you’re motivated by making an impact. Most importantly, you want to be in a place that’s full of people like you- A players who are fiercely intelligent, share a passion for their work, and know how to have fun!

  • Write code from scratch that builds major features and squashes convoluted bugs for the _I Love Rewards Express_ web platform
  • Optimize and refactor our services using Amazon’s EC2, S3, and EBS cloud based architectures
  • Work with passionate and talented individuals in a startup atmosphere, producing customer facing functionality in short iterations in an Agile environment

The Good
I Love Rewards is a relatively well-known and fast-growing company in their space, as far as I can tell. They’ve got lots of listed awards for things like ‘top employer’, ‘fastest-growing’, etc. They’re obviously doing something right.

The technology is both decent (Spring, Hibernate) and interesting (Amazon web services). They claim to be agile. The posting seems to be written by someone who understands technology.

Rumor has it that vacation policy may be four weeks.

The Bad
Word on the street is that their pay scale is decent but not spectacular, and most of the team is pretty junior. If you’re interested, you can verify some of those facts for yourself.

What’s Missing?

What are they expecting to pay? What’s their process really like? What’s the size and composition of the team, and how would you fit into the organizational structure? What is the generous vacation policy?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to what you’ll be developing. Having worked on loyalty and incentive systems before, I have to say that it’s a slight detractor for me. That said, if everything else is right, it wouldn’t be decision-dominating.

Your mileage may also vary when it comes to being called a ‘Ninja’. To be honest, I’m happy to be a technologist or software generalist, I don’t need to be a ninja, a rockstar, or any of the other “trying too hard” cool titles that some companies throw around.

I Love Rewards projects the image of ‘having fun’. Sometimes, companies that try hard to project that image give of a faint ‘cult’ vibe, which ILR does for me. That said, it probably is a fun place to work.

Some companies that say things like “Nine to Fivers need not apply” are basically just trying to make it clear that they’re looking for people with passion for the work, who aren’t just there to clock in and out and get paid. Others are trying to make sure you’re up for hard slogs, long hours. Your mileage may vary, although you’ll want to probe to understand what they’re looking for.

The Location
This is one of the bigger stumbling blocks. I love rewards is buried deep in Liberty Village. Basically, if you’re not already in the west, or possibly south-central, or driving in from the west and/or north-west, then this might be a deal-breaker. Getting out to Liberty Village from the east end or after taking a GO train is probably not everyone’s cup of tea — it’s not mine.

In Summary
Interesting technology in the west end, with decent vacation and possibly a fun working environment.