Saba Software: Technical Consultant

October 24, 2008

Saba Software is looking for a technical consultant:

Integral to our business is our Worldwide Professional Services organization. Based on experience, Technical Consultants can work with our customers in any or all phases of our deployments: initial requirements gathering, configuration and optimization of servers and applications, acceptance test of the solutions. All our Consultants work virtually and should anticipate 35% to 50% travel. 

Because Saba builds highly complex, enterprise wide systems, almost all installations include an array of Java/J2EE implementations supported by: a variety of Operating Systems; Applications Servers (Websphere, Weblogic, Tomcat, JBOSS); Saba and Customer Databases (Oracle, SQL Server, DB2); and both Saba and customer developed Frameworks. We provide options for licensed, hosted and OnDemand deployments that can run into the $Millions. 

The Good
Consulting that requires travel can be well-paid, although Saba doesn’t mention their compensation.  The work varies quite a bit, and you’ll presumably get a lot of client exposure.  The technology stack seems relatively sane.

The Bad
While some of you won’t mind travel, I imagine most of you will find 35% to 50% travel to be in the ‘bad’ category.  If you don’t have a lot of local roots and you like to spend a lot of time in airports, this could be the perfect role for you.

Also, the system uses Crystal Reports.  Anyone I know who’s worked with Crystal in recent years has had absolutely nothing good to say about the experience.

What’s Missing
What’s your compensation like?  Who would you report to?  What do you do when you’re not traveling?  What kind of expense budget would you have?  What tools does Saba use to enable virtual working?  What are the clients, where are they located, where are you likely to spend your time traveling to? 

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working ‘virtually’, which I assume means working from home (or wherever you like, as long as Saba doesn’t have to pay for it), rather than, say, simulating working.  

In Summary
Basically, if being a traveling consultant appeals to you, this is something you could look into.  If it doesn’t, then you’ve probably already stopped reading.


N/S: Java Team Lead

May 6, 2008

Some unspecified “boutique consulting firm with blue-chip clients” is looking for a Java Team Lead:

• Work with stakeholders to define, design, and implement software technology
• Participate in the software development process from design to release
• Investigate, review and integrate third party technologies
• Provide assistance to other developers on and off-site
• Provide assistance to customer support, documentation and quality assurance as needed

The Good
It’s a pretty simple description of a job, not overflowing with unnecessary technical skills, stuffed with process terminology.  And there are some key phrases in here that I’d consider green flags.  In particular, the desire to do what’s best for the customer (not a part of every consulting organization), simple technology lists that don’t overemphasize vendor solutions.  No reference to overblown processes.

I guess the posting reads like it was written by someone who wants to hire someone to get some work done and get it done well, rather than someone who wants a buzzword-heavy, white-paper friendly person who can talk about total cost of ownership ’til the cows come home, but has trouble writing and deploying code.

The Bad
The description doesn’t say much about the company, the process, the technology, the compensation, the location or the work.  Mostly, it talks a little about the role.  What’s there sounds pretty decent, but what isn’t there is quite a bit, so you’d have to fill in the blanks by talking to them.

The security and financial checks sound onerous to me.  While I imagine most of you would be able to pass these checks, some of you might not want to work for an employer where these kinds of restrictions are necessary.

Travel – up to 25%.  The posting isn’t clear if that’s a theoretical maximum, where most weeks won’t involve any travel, or if that’s a regular expectation of travel.  Regardless, some people would find 25% travel (one week in four, or 2.5 days every two weeks, for instance) to be pretty taxing.

In Summary
I’m not sure how to conclude.  What’s there sounds pretty decent, but there’s so much missing that it’s hard to form much of an opinion.  I guess if this sounds interesting to you, you’ll want to talk to them, and beyond that, I can’t add much.

Capgemini: Enterprise Architect

May 6, 2008

Capgemini is looking for an Enterprise Architect:

As a senior member of the Capgemini Technology Services: Strategy, Architecture & Integration team you will be responsible for and play a leadership role in the creation of Business and Technology Strategies, Transformational Roadmaps and value-driven technology implementation plans for our premier clients.  You will be seen by both your clients and your sales & delivery team partners as a trusted IT technology advisor and thought leader.

The Good
Capgemini’s pretty big in consulting, and this is a senior role.

The Bad
There’s a lot of Big-E enterprise in here: ITIL, PMBOK, Six Sigma, CMMI, TOGAF, Zachman, RUP, ESB. It’s hard to know if this is just because Capgemini has work with enterprises that are trying to manage their vendor relationships with one of these, or if Capgemini believes that these are the key to good service delivery.  I tend to find these warning signs that the position will be about following a process rather than attempting to get something done

The travel requirements (up to 100%) are excessive.  There’s very little about the location, but with those travel requirements, it may not matter.  The compensation doesn’t get a mention, although given the above, I sure hope it’s good.  There’s very little about the work, but that’s probably the nature of the consulting.

Consulting.  Some of you are made for it, others are likely to hate it, and the rest are only willing to put up with it if the pay is high enough.  You should probably know where you fall before you talk to Capgemini.

Travel.  If you don’t have ties, getting to shuttle about the globe can be exciting, and fun, and with paid expenses, you can stash your paycheque into long-term savings, or toys.  If you’ve got ties, or your idea of a good night is curling up with a home-cooked meal, your dog and watching the latest episode of Gossip Girl, then travel’s probably not for you.

In Summary
This position sounds like it’s well-suited to someone already well-adjusted to the desires of Big-E Enterprise Architecture and consulting.  If ITIL, CMMI, TOGAF and Zachman are your best friends, or at least casual acquaintances, and you’ve got no ties to encumber the travel, this might be for you.

Deloitte: Senior Manager J2EE/.Net Consulting

March 22, 2008

Deloitte is looking for a Senior Manager J2EE/.Net Consulting:

As a Senior Manager, the successful candidate will hold a key leadership position within our practice, responsible for leading large-scale technology projects. Our client’s technology environments are complex, therefore the candidate will need to bring experience in similarly complex environments and understand how to coordinate across many applications and teams as part of a single effort.

The Good
It’s a pretty senior role. I’m given to understand that Deloitte tends to be a decent employer, although that’s third-hand information at best.

They are certainly a large employer, with “6,800 talented people in 51 offices dedicated to helping our clients.” That might strike you as good or as bad, depending on your background and preference.

The Bad
It’s not clear to me how close Deloitte imagines a Senior Manager being to the implementation efforts. It’s difficult to manage a technology project if you’re disconnected from the implementation, unless you’ve already established a great working relationship with people who are part of the implementation effort, so depending on Deloitte’s culture around this, you could be getting set up for failure. That said, this is something you could ask them during the interview process, and change, if need be.

The travel requirements are unclear; it rates a mention, but no specifics. It’d be good to know more about the compensation. The reference to offshore development doesn’t score many points with me either.

It’s amusing to me to see paragraphs like this one:

Due to the ever-expanding inventory of IT systems within most large organizations, clients are increasingly looking for ways to leverage and expand existing systems while avoiding duplicate or “throw-away” solutions. Current vendor offerings are rising to this challenge by supporting functionality re-use through “Service Oriented” architectures (SOA) and technology standards.

You could replace ‘Service Oriented’ with ‘Object Oriented’ here and turn back the clock ten years and it’d be like you never left. Practically speaking, developing large systems is hard work, and the code isn’t always re-usable. Architecture can aid in this area, but ultimately, nothing as vague as a grand architectural style like OO or SOA will, in and of itself, promote re-use, and many of the people spending lots of money retooling their systems with SOA are simply repeating the same mistakes they made when they rebuilt their systems in object-oriented code.

But, hey, I know I’m in the minority here; vendors are good at making new things sound important in order to sell you the latest technology stack, and business gets up in arms, and of course, consulting organizations respond to that. It’s not Deloitte’s fault, they’re just filling a market need.

If you’re in, or would like to be in, a pure management role in a large organization, this could be an interesting opportunity.  If you’re looking to do some coding, or find a niche in a small company this clearly isn’t your bag.  Those of you in the middle might want to talk to Deloitte and see whether you feel there’s a fit.