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.


Comverse: Director – Development

March 11, 2009

Comverse is looking for a Director – Development:

Responsible for the development of products and applications including design and implementation guidance for web based products.​ Provides prototypes of key functional implementations and oversees and provides leadership for all technical approaches.​ Provides technical leadership and mentoring to the Front End development team on technical implementations including web server and portal based multi-tier applications.

  • Work closely with the Product Architecture and the FE Design team to define technical architecture.
  • Responsible for design, development, and testing of applications and products
  • Provide decision making for software engineering and development, sensitive to the constraints and needs of the business.
  • Monitor technology trends such as emerging standards for new technology opportunities
  • Work within software engineering plans/​schedules, providing technical designs and guidance.
  • Ensure adherence to technical architecture standards and practices to ensure reproducible development and high quality.
  • Engage in hands-on, in-depth analysis, review, design and implementation of applications
  • Provide employee coaching and mentoring.

The Good
Sounds like a pretty senior position at a telecom company with a 1B market capitalization.

The Bad
Ultimately, the fact that Comverse is down very significantly in stock price year over year is a bit of a concern.  The markets haven’t been kind to anyone, but Comverse looks harder hit than many.  The financial results restatement may have had something to do with that, based on a quick scan.  You might want to do a more detailed probe into their financial health and ask some probing questions of your potential employer.

They’re looking for someone with good Java and C++ experience; this is a fairly rare combination these days, although certainly there are some of you out there with both.  That said, given that it’s a director-level position, they’re probably looking for someone with enough experience to lead well, rather than someone they expect will be writing C++ and Java code.  And, far as I’ve seen, Java ‘portal’ technology is a bit of a dead end, so I’m surprised it still comes up.

What’s Missing?
Is this position located at University and Dundas, which is the only location I’ve found for Comverse in Toronto?  What’s the technology mix like?  What are the sizes and composition of the teams that you’d be directing, and what products and solutions does Comverse build in Toronto?

Although I’d say that most senior tech positions require decent negotiation skills, the fact that this opportunity calls it out so directly implies that you might have a struggle ahead in terms of conflicting priorities.  I’ve worked in environments where the biggest challenges were getting a set of product priorities in place, and it can really distract from the effort of building the product.  Your mileage may vary as to whether or not this is something you want to take on.

The Location
Comverse seems to be located at University and Dundas, which isn’t a bad little neighbourhood.  There are a pile of Chinese restaurants to the west, a fair number of restaurants on both University and Dundas, and it’s not far to Queen.  There’s not a ton of shopping right there, but the Eaton Centre’s not far, and likewise Queen street.  The subway’s right there, although it’s a bit of a walk from Union if you’re taking the Go, and it’s not a great area for parking.

In Summary
If you’re interested in being a director of development and you’ve got a background in telecom, this might be the opportunity for you.

Givex: Programmer / Senior Application Developer

November 4, 2008

Givex is looking for a Programmer / Senior Application Developer:

You will join a team of competent and experienced Developers; 6-8 individuals. Daily responsibilities include programming, analysis and design. You will work on new development projects and existing systems in a 24/7 transaction-processing environment.


  • Development in UNIX environment on significant projects
  • Strong Database Design Skills; Database applications development and relational database management systems; Fluent in SQL
  • Programming languages: Python, C, C++, Java (some) and additional experience in other programming languages
  • Experience in writing client / server database applications using Object Oriented languages
  • UNIX networking experience with solid understanding of virtual memory, filesystems, job control and Strong knowledge of NetBSD, PostgreSQL and Linux
  • Application development experience in the financial industry, including: POS systems programming, debit and credit card terminals, POS devices, and communication protocols
  • Understanding of Extreme Programming practices and rules


The Good
Most development jobs are narrowly focused on a single platform.  It sounds like Givex development is a little more varied.  Python is also first on their list, although I’m not certain that list is in priority order.  It also sonds like they’re looking for people with a good understanding of Unix development – perhaps not kernel coding, but stil lower-level than your average enterprisey application. 

I believe their location is Adelaide and Charlotte — that’s not a bad area to work, good food and shops around, not too far off the main subway lines.

The Bad
I’m not certain why their application process asks some of the questions that it does, like whether or not you’re a smoker, and the question about filling out quizzes.  I suspect they’re a little security-concerned, but it’s a bit of an irritant.

What’s Missing
It’s not very clear what the team structure and composition is like.  What’s the compensation like?  What would you be working on in particular?  Is the team you’re working on the only software team?  How big is the company?  What’s the culture really like?  How does the mix of technologies actually play out in practice?  Why is the application process so unusual?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to the whole ‘time and commitment’ angle they mention in the application process; it might just be a culture that emphasizes getting the work done, or it might be a culture of overwork; you’d have to try and tease some of that out in the interview process.

In Summary
If you want to do Python, C and C++ in pursuit of transaction-processing and card solutions, you might want to consider Givex.

Autodesk: Lead Developer, Character Animation

August 13, 2008

Autodesk is looking for a Lead Developer, Character Animation:

  • Lead the design of new animation features for future releases of Maya. This includes working closely with Product Designers to define the desired behavior, and with other developers to produce reliable estimates of the effort required to implement each feature.
  • Interact with customers as needed to understand their needs and communicate the animation direction & vision.
  • Primarily responsible for developing high quality, stable code for use in products and solutions for customers.
  • The Good
    Autodesk is a well-known company and Maya is a well-known and frequently-used tool, so this is an opportunity to work on visible software that will be used.  Maybe not by your grandma or your friends, depending on who your friends are, but by serious companies looking to do animation for films and video games.  Autodesk makes a point of calling out “Fortune Magazine’s Most Admired Companies for 2007” and “Baseline Magazine’s Fastest Growing Software Companies” awards, but they seem to have a reputation of being a reasonable place to work, if possibly lacking in innovation.

    The Bad
    Autodesk is not a small company, with 7000 employees, so you may end up being a cog in a big machine.  And they’re either off their game or hit by the economy, being down 30% since the beginning of the year.  They also don’t say much about the compensation or the process, let alone the location.  The role and technology could possibly use further definition as well.

    Not everyone wants to develop in C or work for a company of Autodesk’s size.  The location seems to be over by George Brown at King/Jarvis, which won’t be ideal for many although it’s not too far off the subway line.

    In Summary
    If you’re the sort of person who wants to develop animation tools in C, there aren’t many bigger games in town, so you might want to hop to it.

    Autodesk: Software Development Manager, Industrial Design

    June 10, 2008

    Autodesk is looking for a Development Manager: Industrial Design to lead “a top-notch, global engineering team engaged in the development of next generation software solutions for Industrial Design” by:

    • Project Task Estimating and Scheduling.
    • Manage cross functional relationships.
    • Software Implementation.
    • Team Management and Team Building.
    • Communication.
    • Organizational Savvy.
    • Staff and Career Development.
    • Global Engineering Team.

    The Good
    Generally, Autodesk does a decent job with their postings.  The role is laid out, there’s a decent, if not detailed, sense of the work.  Autodesk itself is well-known, and so are a number of their products.  Their financials have been pretty stable, with a little movement around revenue prediction adjustments, but nothing that leads to the sense of instability.

    The Bad
    There’s basically no description of the compensation (other than ‘exceptional’) and process.

    The way ‘organizational savvy’ is described makes me consider if the role is in a politicized, charged environment.  If so, then that’s something that some candidates would see as an interesting challenge, while others might avoid.

    The location seems to be in the King and Sherbourne area, which is quiet, and moderately central, but neither exciting nor close to the subway lines.  Certainly better suited to someone who is vehicle-commuting or in the central or east end.  The nearby George Brown campus would allow for all sorts of extra-curricular learning, I guess.

    The underlying technology, which is less important for this role, I imagine, is C++.  Since Toronto’s mostly a business-programming town in Java and .NET, this may be a problem for some of you.

    The global engineering team aspect is hard to read.  Autodesk is a big company, and a bit of distributed teams is probably to be expected, but it’s possible this masks a development model that might not work well, so you’d want to inquire.  The desire to have someone with experience working with software engineers in China may play into that.  That said, Toronto has a sizeable portion of Chinese developers, so if you’ve got a Chinese background, this might be a strength you can leverage.

    In Summary
    Basically, Autodesk is a big company making recognizable products, so if the rest of the position fits, it may be worth learning a little more about the work and the compensation.

    McAfee: Software Developer

    May 8, 2008

    This is far afield from the usual listings, but caught my eye.  If you’re in and/or around the Waterloo area, there are a fair number of software development shops to choose from, and some may be more appealing than this.  That said, McAfee is a well-known company, and they won a “Best Employer” award recently, so it may not be a bad choice.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of detail in the listing, other than doing C++/Windows development in Waterloo.  If that sounds like it’d be of interest to you, then you’ll need to get more information from them on just about every category.

    Little Bites: Autodesk Maya Threading, Telecom Dev Mgr, Cobol/Assembly, Adult

    April 15, 2008

    It’s been too long since I’ve done C, so I can’t say whether or not Autodesk’s job to look into Threading and Performance for Maya is interesting to someone who’s well-versed in C, but it’s a well-known company, a well-known product, and a technical challenge, so I’m thinking it’s not all bad.

    VTrac is helping a telecom firm look for a Development Manager to work in the new product division, on something related to billing.  The compensation is apparently ‘very competitive’, but there’s just not enough detail to really tell if this is interesting.  If you think this might be you, talk to VTrac and get more details (and then come back and tell us).

    Ten people to recode an application … into Cobol?  And it wouldn’t hurt if they know assembly?  I’m not even sure what to say.  Good luck, guys.  Charge a lot of money for that job.  And is that better or worse than Senior IT for the adult industry?