TD Bank: VP Engineering

March 21, 2009

Toronto Dominion Bank is looking for a Vice President, Engineering:

Vice Presidents (VP) at TD Bank Financial Group are strategic, responsible and accountable members of the Bank’s leadership team. Collectively, these roles contribute significantly to the overall reputation of TD as an excellent investment, a highly customer focused organization, a top employer and an exemplary corporate citizen. Executives set the ethical, organizational and performance standard for the teams they lead and exemplify how an effective performance and development culture functions day to day. A VP is expected to guide his/her team, collaborating as appropriate with TD partners, to deliver superior results in both the short and long term.

Reporting to the SVP of Infrastructure the VP, Engineering is accountable for the design, build test, and implementation of the banks data center based technology infrastructure. The position is responsible for the development and implementation of technical business strategies in cooperation and alignment with our business partners. The position holds overall responsibility to ensure robust infrastructure solutions are in place to ensure optimal service and security for all customers and partners. The department is made up of over 500 IT professionals.

Lead the overall Engineering team across various functional areas which include: Servers, Mainframe, Operating Systems, Storage, Database, Security Technologies, Directories, Middleware, Email/Collaboration Infrastructure, IT Tools Engineering as well as Infrastructure Project Management, Dev/Test Environment Support and Production Acceptance Testing.
Contribute to the creation of a North America organization ensuring talent workforce and succession management is in place to support TD’s NA growth goals and to win in the war for talent within the technology industry.
Effectively manage an operating budget in excess of $ 215mm as well as a pipeline of projects focused on quality, time to market and cost effectiveness.
As a member of the Infrastructure Senior Executive Team, continuously optimize the technology capability of the bank, guide infrastructure priorities, improve our organizational capability and manage the risk profile of the bank’s IT infrastructure.

The Good
It’s a very, very senior role at a very $35B market cap bank.  An operating budget of $215M.  A lot of responsibility.

The Bad
Well, for starters, I’m guessing that many of you couldn’t get this job if they really, really wanted it.  I’m pretty sure I couldn’t.

What’s Missing?
A ton of things.  But, to be honest, for a leadership position this senior at such a big company, that’s to be expected.  If you’re interested in the position and have the experience to stand a chance, then you’ll want to have detailed conversations with TD about the challenges, the team, the role, and so forth.

Although banks haven’t been doing that well in the last year, Canadian banks seem to be relatively healthy still.  It’s probably still a challenging time, but challenge can also mean opportunity.

The Location
A senior position at TD Bank probably means Bay street, financial district, the TD Tower.  I’m just guessing.

In Summary
Probably most of you don’t qualify for the position.  I’m guessing TD Bank is really only going to seriously consider people in VP/Director positions at relatively large companies already, and it probably wouldn’t hurt to have a connection at TD Bank.


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.

Stochastic Systems: Sr. Developer / Architect

January 26, 2009

A company supposedly named stochastic systems has a posting up on workopolis looking for a Senior Developer / Architect:

Stochastic Systems is a young and highly capitalized startup company that is focused on building and delivering competitive, leading edge, order execution software services to brokerage firms in Canada and overseas. Stochastic has several Java/.NET development openings in both Toronto and Vancouver.

The job description is spartan, but what’s there is relatively sane.  What I don’t understand is why I haven’t been able to find a web presence for Stochastic Systems, which makes me wonder if there’s a real company on the other side of this posting (although most fake postings don’t bother to invent a fake company name, so I’m open to the vague possibility that Stochastic Systems just hasn’t bothered to put up a web page, or that it’s difficult to find).

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: Senior Derivatives Developer

December 17, 2008

MIS Consultants is helping an unspecified company search for a Senior Derivatives Developer:

A Strong Java developer is required for  a Senior Derivatives Developer role. The successful candidate will join a fixed income securities / credit derivatives team already in place in Toronto Ontario. You will be responsible for leading the development and design of complex derviative systems.

The Good
It’s a moderately senior position with interesting technology in a complex financial field, which I’m sure is filled with its own set of challenges.  The technology seems to include distributed computing with JMS messaging.   If they’re truly agile and expect you to exercise architectural skills, those could both be positive signs.  And although knowledge of derivatives is nice-to-have, it’s not a requirement, which is relatively rare for these kinds of positions.

The Bad
The language sends mixed messages, talking about desiring the candidates to have architectural experience and to have worked with agile methods, but also using language like “assigned tasks” and “meet business specification.”  These aren’t necessarily bad things, but they’re also not couched in the language of most agile shops, so I’d want to understand their process and culture in a little more detail.  There’s also almost no mention of auomated testing, which is surprising if they’re truly agile.

What’s Missing
Tons, as usual.  What’s the company?  What do they do in terms of derivatives, and do they do other things?  What’s the project you’d be working on?  How has the downturn affected this company, and what are their prospects, revenue, burn rate?  How are they building distributed systems with JMS — what’s the architecture of their applications look like?  Who uses them?  What’s the compensation like?  What’s the size and nature of the team you’d be working on?  What’s their development process like?  Where are they located?

Your mileage may vary on whether or not this is a good time to be involved with finance and derivatives.  This could either be a great time or a terrible time for companies that deal with derivatives.

Much of the current downturn could be laid at the feet of complicated derivative products sold by and to people who didn’t understand them completely.  Then again, that could simply mean that there’s changes headed to the world of derivatives, possibly in the form of new regulations.  These hypothetical changes might require additional development effort, so this is potentially a good time to get involved.  It may also be true that with the markets so far down, there are a lot opportunities in trading, and so this could be a good time to be involved. 

Your mileage may also vary with respect to the fact that this is a full coding position.  Some people love it that way, others chafe at the lack of control.

In Summary
This is probably most interesting if you can see yourself as a Senior Java Developer and you’ve either got experience with or interest in financial software and derivatives.

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board: Software Developer

December 10, 2008

The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board is looking for two Software Developers:

Responsible for analyzing, recommending, implementing/creating/customising, support and enhancement of the in-house developed software systems required by the Board to meet its business objectives. Contributes considerable business and technical knowledge to complex IS projects.


  • Under general direction of a project leader or supervisor completes high quality, well designed and architected systems that make appropriate use of technology. 
  • Ensures that personally completed systems which enter production are sound, well architected and well coded. 
  • Develops personal plans and the tasks detail appropriate for mapping out and completion of all work assignments. 
  • Develops the implementation plan for systems roll-outs and assists the user community in the development of a thorough testing plan. 
  • A sound knowledge of the agile methodologies, object oriented analysis, design, development, and leadership skills are used in coordinating of activities, timing, scheduling, and project control.


The Good
On the surface, it’s a pretty dull posting.  Basically, they expect that you code well, do what you’re asked to do, plan what you’re going to do.  There are a few hints that there might be something interesting under the details.  They’re interested in people with a sound knowledge of agile methods, they seem to expect their developers to do some design and architecture, rather than simply implement what was designed and architected elsewhere.  They seem to believe in developer-testing.  There’s a curious reference to smalltalk.

The pension plan board manages $100B in assets, so they’re pretty big.

There’s also room for two developers, which means that your chance of getting the job goes up somewhat and, if you’re very lucky, you and someone else you trust can both get hired, such that you know before you even accept the job that there’s someone there you can work with.  The pension plan board website also lists other jobs if this one isn’t too your fancy, including some analyst and .NET positions.

The Bad
Although I’m pretty sure that the business domain of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has some interesting challenges, I’m not sure that Member Services is it.  This might be a membership database, for all intents and purposes.  It’s also possible that this isn’t the best of times to work somewhere that depends on equity investment.  Then again, this might be the perfect time.

And, frankly, if the tone of the posting is on the dull side, perhaps the job is too.   It certainly could have tried harder to make the job sound appealing.

What’s Missing
Quite a bit.  What will you be working on in member services?  What are the projects and technologies in more detail?  What’s the size and composition of the team?  What’s the local organizational structure like?  What’s the compensation like, both in terms of salary and in terms of other benefits that OTPBB might be able to provide?  Are they looking for developers without a lot of experience for the desired pay bracket, or are they open to a wide range of experience?

They’re not looking for a ton of experience, so your mileage may vary if you have lots of experience.  That may mean that they’re expecting to pay accordingly.  On the other hand, if you don’t have a ton of experience, this might be a good fit. 

Their primary location seems to be up at Yonge and Finch, which is subway-accessible, but probably mostly of interest to people already out of the main area of the city of toronto – North York and parts further north, as well as locations to the east and west if you’re willing to highway-commute.

In Summary
This is probably most interesting if you’re looking for Java work but you aren’t exceptionally far along in your career already.

RBC: Lead Architect

October 29, 2008

The Royal Bank of Canada is looking for a Lead Architect:

Assist the Lead Architect in developing the strategy, vision and architectural direction for Information Security.
Provides direct support to the Lead Architect and may be called upon to perform the duties of the Lead Architect as events warrant.

This position will contribute to the development and refinement of Enterprise Security Architecture and communicate Enterprise Security Architecture Strategy to business and technical project stakeholders. Project level security architecture consulting will ensure enterprise security architecture strategy is delivered consistently and is in line with current and future enterprise security architecture strategy.

The Good
It’s a pretty senior role in a pretty big company with a 60B market cap.  If you’re even slightly interested in security, this seems like a role where you could really dig in and learn/apply security concepts, which could be an interesting technical challenge.

The location’s very central – as is true for many of the bank jobs in Toronto.  It’s not a bad area to work in, and it’s moderately convenient for just about everyone.

The Bad
The title is Lead Architect, and yet it reads like Assistant to the Lead Architect or Architect would be more fitting, since the job description makes regular reference to assisting the lead architect.  It’s not clear how you’re supposed to read into that. 

What’s Missing
Well, a link to the job posting would be a good start — it’s not hard to follow another RBC posting to the source and then put in the reference number to get the actual posting, but that requires a lot more work than simply clicking on the link that should be in the posting.

What’s the compensation like?  What would be the localized organization structure in which you’d be working: who would you be reporting to, working with; would anyone be reporting to you?  Would there be much need to travel?  What kind of mix would there be between the various things you’d be working on?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in finance right now, even though the Canadian retail banking sector seems to be weathering the storm for the most part. 

It’s not clear how hands-on this role would be; some might find that problematic.

In Summary
This is probably most interesting to people already in some kind of architectural role with either a background in security of an interest in it.