PharmaTrust: Platform Service Developer

September 3, 2010

PharmaTrust (PCA Services Inc) is looking for a Platform Service Developer:

PharmaTrust (PCA Services Inc) is a cutting edge dynamic start-up in the field of telepharmacy, producing the MedCentre remote medication dispensary. The MedCenter provides pharmacists with the ability to remotely counsel and dispense medication using IP based audio/visual conferencing and a remotely controlled dispensary robot system.

Platform Services develops and supports the PharamTrust Platform and provides shared enterprise services to the PCA Services group of companies.

The Platform Service Developer has the responsibility for developing the PharmaTrust Platform Services, integrating other systems applications and databases (both internal and customer), and evolving the Platform Train of the MedCentre application software.

They’re also looking for a Platform Technical Support & Maintenance Specialist.

The Good
These robot dispensaries seem like a good idea to me.  The Albany Medical Clinic had one, and it was interesting.  IP-based audio/video conferencing and e-health all rolled into one project.  There’s definitely some interesting elements to this, and these dispensaries are new enough that PharmaTrust might be on a good trajectory over the long haul.

It sounds like they’re in the middle of a technical overhaul from a .NET system to a Java/ESB system (and the support/maintenance specialist would continue to maintain the existing .NET side, looks like).   That means there’s an opportunity to really get in on the ground floor of the new architecture, as long as the architecture sounds like something that would work for you.  Personally by the time you throw ESB and BPEL together, I’m already starting to get nervous, let alone combined with WS-*, a platform shift and technical challenges like SIP.  Your mileage may vary significantly from mine, but I’d want to get a stronger sense for the architectural direction, and whether or not there’s any astronautics involved.

On the other hand, if ESB and WS-* sound like the right way to build a robust, enterprise-class, scalable system with all the -ilities you need, by all means, this might be the perfect fit for you.

What’s Missing?
Why the architectural shift from .NET to Java?  What are the driving factors behind the choices of ESB, BPEL, WS-*?  What’s the current size and composition of the technical team, and how will that change on the new platform?  What’s the compensation like for this position?  What’s the growth and outlook for MedCentre like?  (It seems promising to me, but if this is going to be your company, you might as well have more details than I do.)

I don’t really expect a company to describe the reasons for their technical decisions in a job posting, but it seems like the sort of questions you’re going to want to ask.

The Location
It’s in Hamilton, Mississauga, Oakville or Toronto?  I’m going to assume that’s a result in trying to cast a wide net for candidates in any of those locations.  Their office seems to be in an industrial park in Oakville, which means that if you’re not already in the west end of Toronto or out of town, the location will probably be too far out.  I don’t know much about the area; if that area is somewhere you consider, you probably already know more than I do.

In Summary
Looks like it’s be well-suited for someone with enterprisey leanings, health-care and some exposure to both Java and .NET, in the west end.


CPP Investment Board: Manager / Lead

October 1, 2008

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is looking for a Manager, Application Services:

We are presently recruiting for a Manager, Application Services to join our dynamic Information Services Team. The Manager, Application Services leads the design and oversees development of cross-functional, multiplatform application systems across the CPP Investment Board.

The ideal candidate is recognized as having exceptional leadership skills and competence in software architecture and development disciplines. He/She is committed to, and deeply experienced with, service oriented architecture principles and excels in instilling effective software development practices in a fast paced, results-oriented environment.

This role interacts with various investment and investment operations departments across CPPIB, and partners effectively with other groups within Information Services, including Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Data Management, Quality Assurance and Infrastructure Management. It manages software development teams to meet project objectives and evolve CPPIB’s software applications to achieve its longer-term goals via a buy, build and integrate philosophy. This role partners closely with Enterprise Architecture to deliver solution architectures that are consistent with CPPIB’s broader architectural principles and directions.

They’re also looking for a Lead, Portfolio Analytics Systems:

The Lead, Portfolio Analytics Systems, manages a team of software engineers who design, develop and support quantitative models for cross asset investment strategies. This role partners closely with investment professionals across Public Market Investments’ (PMI) five (5) investment groups, and ensures the delivery of software engineering expertise backed by the infrastructure, architecture and data management capabilities of the broader Information Services team. 

This role manages the software engineering team to meet project and operational objectives, and design PMI’s analytic model systems to achieve goals of agility through re-use, production stability and controls (e.g. source library, change controls, logical security). It oversees software development and integration, maintenance of a coding library and knowledge repository to capture and distribute research documentation across PMI.

This role provides recommendations to senior management regarding the resources (human, financial, tools, etc.) required to complete assigned projects, and effectively manages change within the organization to transition systems from implementation to stable operations. When implementing new systems, this role takes a comprehensive view of the technology, process and architectural implications of the deliverables, and the change management activities associated with the project. It ensures that support resources are in place to support systems on a 7×24 basis, in conjunction with Infrastructure Management.

And finally, a Lead, Capital Markets Technology:

The Lead, Capital Markets Technologies, is responsible for the end-to-end delivery and support of technology solutions for CPPIB’s Global Capital Markets (GCM) Group. This role is a key relationship manager to the management team and investment professionals in this investment group, and is responsible for the implementation, support and integration of systems that support GCM’s portfolio management, analytic and trade execution activities. GCM is a sophisticated and rapidly growing portfolio management team, active across asset classes including cash and derivatives products in the equity, credit, currency and FX markets. This role is accountable for the client service relationship to GCM, manages the vendors that support investment systems and ensures that IS delivers the quality of technology expertise and services required for GCM to execute on their business objectives.

The ASP.NET career site they’re using makes it painful to get the above links, so be thankful for them.  The CPP Investment Board is a large investment organization that shepherds what is currently over $100B in assets for the canadian pension plan.  A large institutional investor, essentially.

The Good
The CPP IB is clearly a pretty significant organization, and one that has both public and private connections in a way.  These are pretty senior roles within the investment board, either what looks like a ‘development manager’ position or one of two team-lead positions.  I imagine these roles come with a fair amount of responsibility and an opportunity to make an impact.

Since the developer positions seemed to offer solid compensation, we might project that these will as well.

When processes are mentioned, they tend to use the word ‘agile’, which is good.  Then again, some of these postings also talk a lot about PMI, which might imply there are other process models afoot.  Similarly,  if agile methods are meant to adapt to change, the phrase “change control” tends to speak to organizations that aren’t thoroughly agile.

The only location listed is 1 Queen East, which would be Queen and Yonge, and a decent neighbourhood to work in, although it’s not certain that that’s where these roles would be.

The Bad
There’s some business-speak in there like “Manage stakeholder expectations”.  None of those phrases are necessarily wrong, but I’ve come to take that as a bad sign at times.

I’m getting very mixed messages as to the likely process.

The usual information gaps apply.  Where are they located?  There’s very little about compensation: do they do RSP matching?  What salaries do these roles command?  What technologies do they use other than SOA/ESB?  How many people would you be managing or leading, and what’s the composition of the teams?  How much experience are they looking for in these roles?  Why are their postings on their site that are six months old or more?

Although your mileage may vary about working for a kind of investment firm while you’re hearing about all the investment bank disasters, the CPP IB would be happy to quell your fears about their exposure to the credit issues in the states from their FAQ.  Your mileage may also vary when it comes to a pervasively service-oriented approach, although it would take more understanding of the specifics of their business domain to really evaluate that.

In Summary
Pretty senior roles in a pretty significant institutional investor which may be well-paid.  If agility is important to you, I’d recommend probing on that in more detail, and clearing up some of the information gaps.


February 12, 2008
  • Empirical‘s looking for a CTO.  Empirical calls themselves dialogue architects, which as I understand it, is marketing-eze for ‘Marketing’.
  • A lead platform architect for a company tackling VOIP/SIP sounds like an interesting opportunity, particularly if you know something about the protocols they’re looking for.
  • There’s not much detail here, and what there is worries me a little.  I guess I’m skeptical of model-driven development claims.  Still, if you believe in MDA, it sounds like the compensation’s good and the role is ‘strategic’.
  • It’s interesting that Canadian Tire is using ESB.  Looks like it’s a big-vendor solution based on websphere message broker, but still.  It’d be interesting to have a few more details.  It’s also interesting that they feel compelled to explain ESB to potential candidates.
  • I have to admit, Part-Time Software Architect seems a little odd.  I can mentally invent scenarios where this makes sense (e.g. small startup wants expertise they can’t afford), but … you just don’t see postings like this very often.