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.


Sun Life Financial: Director, IT Security & Governance Development

March 5, 2009

Sun Life Financial is looking for a Director, IT Security & Governance:

The Director – IT & Security Governance Development serves as Enterprise Information Security’s key “ambassador” to the Business Groups, building effective relationships that promote key security initiatives and market the business benefits of security to SLF Business Groups worldwide.  The incumbent is responsible for managing Senior IT & Security Governance Specialists developing security governance documents to enable effective IT & security governance, risk management and regulatory compliance from within Sun Life Financial.  This position manages the development of enterprise-wide policies, standards and procedures and the compliance framework for IT & security, based on ITIL, ISO 17799, ISF, COBIT, CICA and other existing and emerging frameworks and existing or emerging regulatory requirements.

The Good
It sounds like a pretty senior role at a big company with a $10B market capitalization.  Their profits are down significantly in the last quarter, but, then, this hasn’t been a good quarter for companies in finance, which includes insurers, so it’s not exactly shocking.  The fact that they may be in talks to purchase another life insurance unit seems to imply they’re doing less badly than some.  This is also a sector (governance and security) that has been growing in IT in recent years, and will probably continue to.  It’s also a sector near and dear to the hearts of organizations and CIOs, so it may be a good long-term career move.

The Bad
This isn’t a great time for companies in the financial sector.  There’s a risk you could join only to be cut.  On the other hand, with challenges tends to come opportunity, so this might end up being a great time to be on Sun Life.

Not only is this not likely to be a very hands-on role, it’s deep in a sector of IT that many technologists do their best to avoid.  The candidate who takes this position will presumably spend more time with standards and government regulations than they will with technology itself. You’re going to be neck-deep in ITIL, ISO, ISF, CICA, COBIT,COSO, OSFI, FSA, SEC, NASD, NAIC, SarbOx, PIPEDA, GLBA, HIPAA, EUDPD UK IDPA, ISACA, IIA, AICPA, CPAB, PCAOB, and any number of other acronyms the whole time you’re in this job.

Lots of people won’t have the experience and/or the credentials to pull off this role. I certainly don’t.  Then again, if you’ve got this background, you can take comfort in the fact that you won’t have as much competition.

What’s Missing?
What’s the compensation for an IT Director at Sun Life?  Where will you be working?  How much will you be traveling?  Where will you fit in the organizational structure?  What are the challenges facing you in this role in the near term?

Your mileage may vary at this sector of IT; I’m not sure I’d enjoy it, but if most of those acronyms are already familiar to you, then chances are, this is something you might feel good about.

In Summary
A very senior position at a big company; mostly, if you’ve got the background for this sort of job, you’re probably also somewhat interested.

Filogix: Director, Lender Delivery

January 20, 2009

Filogix is looking for a Director, Lender Delivery:

A management lead within the Product Development team, the Director, Lender Delivery is responsible for the delivery of Filogix’s two key software products, Express and Exchange. Express is an established Canadian mortgage adjudication and underwriting application that is utilized by 25 Canadian lenders. Exchange is a document management application which utilizes Open Text’s application. Exchange facilitates communication and document sharing amongst the broker and lender as they complete the mortgage application process. 

  • Prepare Yearly Budget and Quarterly forecasts for department and projects 
  • Manage actuals and variances within 10% of budget 
  • Establish best practices on all aspects of software delivery: Project management, business analysis, development and testing.
  • Work with CTO team on cross-platform solutions & architecture
  • Work with Product Managers to develop progression roadmaps
  • Team management, growth and team engagement: leading a dedicated team, provide career growth, coaching and training for the team act as a point of escalation for team members, while ensuring strong succession planning for on-going team continuity

The Good
Sounds like a relatively senior managerial role in a company.  I don’t know filogix well, but it seems like they’re a subsidiary of Davis + Henderson and have been doing reasonably well according to D+H financial reports.   It also seems like any company that’s willing and able to complete a $35M acquisition right now can’t be doing terribly.

Their location seems to be at University and Wellington, which is pretty central and reasonably convenient, close to GO, the Subway, and some good restaurants and shopping.

The Bad
Near as I can tell, Filogix is a company whose primary lines of business are mortgages and real estate, which seems to be to be an unfortunate combination.  They may be in for some hard times, as those industries are likely to be tightening their belts somewhat.  That doesn’t seem to be true in their latest financial reports, but I still suspect there are some tough times ahead.

What’s Missing
What’s the compensation for a director at Filogix?  It’d be nice to understand more about the relationship between Exchange and the Open Text application.  

And what, exactly, is a beach manager? 

Your mileage may vary in taking a role that’s so hands-off.  That said, I think that’s to be expected in a director role of a company at this size.  If you’ve got the skills for this job, then you’re probably not put off by the hands-off nature.

In Summary
A pretty senior position at a company that seems to be doing fairly well in the market place, as of last reports.

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.

Unspecified: Director, Investment Applications

January 13, 2009

An unspecified company is looking for a Director, Investment Applications:

Direct, manage and deliver large, complex, mission critical application development projects. Identify the drivers, strategies and needs of clients’ technology operations and lead internal change to support those operations. 
·Manage relationship with clients; interface and maintain communications with it and business management. Monitor business and technology developments and provide on-time response and support. 
·Facilitate smooth workflow of the department; ensure high standards and quality of technical work. Direct reviews of tools and technologies for improving performance and reducing costs. Establish, monitor and adhere to budget for respective area. 
·Direct, motivate, develop and manage performance of the management team and key staff. 

The Good
Sounds like it could be a relatively senior role in a challenging sector.  Atlhough Investment’s taken some hard knocks, I know that’s also caused a few people to get a little more interested in this side of finance, so I imagine that’ll be true for some of you as well.

The Bad
Even with the tough economic times, $110k seems low for a director position in a finance/trading firm; that might be a little more clear if we had any idea who they are.  For instance, if it’s a small company developing software that they sell to investment banks, vs., say, a director position for a big canadian bank, those are two very different scenarios.   Unfortunately, we don’t have enough information to make the call here.

What’s Missing?
What company is this for?  What kind of investment applications do they build?  What technologies do they do it with?  What’s the compensation like?

There’s a mention about managing culture change, but really no sense of what culture change is needed and/or desired.  What are the challenges the organization is facing with respect to culture, and what are the proposed solutions and changes?  What’s the size and composition of the team you’d be “directing”?  Experience managing a budget depends, to a certain extent, on the size of othe budget. 

Your mileage may vary about taking a job in finance, and in particular, investment, at this juncture.  It’s either a challenging time or a good opportunity for the investment sector, so that’s up to you to measure.

In Summary
If you’ve got a finance/investment background and experience with management, or you’re really anxious to get into this sector, this might be worth further investigation.  For the rest of us, there’s just not enough detail to latch on to.

Unspecified: Director/Manager of Information Technology

December 16, 2008

Keith Bagg is helping an unspecified company look for a Director / Manager of Information Technology:

Responsible for strategic planning, including identifying, selecting, and deploying the appropriate resources that will support the client’s corporate goals and objectives.  Tactically, you will oversee project management, resource management, supervision of staff, and provide clear communication with executive management, peers, clients and end users.

The Good
This sounds like a pretty senior role covering a wide variety of skillsets.  They seem to want someone with a background in both development and IT, as well as management, client interaction and vendor management.  

The Bad
Although the posting defines some of the skills required, it doesn’t really talk much about the role, so you’re left to piece together the role from the skills.  There’s a lot of detail missing, which we’ll cover in the next section, but they’re actually telling you almost nothing about the job, only about the qualifications you’d need to have for the job.

As a result, it’s hard to be too concrete one way or another here.

What’s Missing
that isn’t simply your skillset.  That’s quite a lot.  

What’s the company?  What do they do?  Where are they located?  Why are they filling this role now?  Are they profitable and well-cushioned against the financial downturn?  How many people do they have?  What’s their organizational structure like, and where would you fit into that.  What are the challenges currently facing this company?  Is there a CTO/CIO, or is that essentially the role you’re filling?

Working backwards from the skills they’ve asked for:

  • They would like you to know Java, Web, SOA, so i’m assuming that means this company does some development work.  How much?  What kind?  To what end?  How many people do they have on it?  Do they do professional services, sell products, or simply develop internal web applications?
  • They’re hoping you understand firewalls, VPNs; is this simply the corporate network, or do they also potentially host their own applications?
  • They’d like you to know something about Grants — does this organization get their funding from the government?
  • They’d like you to deliver cases for technology acquisitions — are we talking about making purchases like servers, or are we talking about buying other companies?  The difference between the two is vast.

There’s really nowhere near enough information here, so if you think you meet the qualifications and you’d like to learn more, then give them a call and see if they can explain some of these elements.

Your mileage may vary about investing your time into learning more on a job opportunity where you know so little to begin with. 

In Summary
This is probably most interesting if you’ve got experience with both software development and with “IT” in at least the servers, storage and networks areas as well as some management experience.  You’d want to understand the company and the role in better detail.

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.