Fuel Industries: Server Programmer (Ottawa)

February 21, 2010

Fuel Industries is looking for a Server Programmer in Ottawa:

We are looking for someone who is well versed in both Windows (ASP.NET, C#) and Linux (PHP) development environments. A better than basic understanding of the various OS platforms, web servers and networks is required as well.

You will be involved in all aspects of the business from project briefs, risk assessments, setting milestones, assessing resourcing requirements through to sign-off and delivery. This will involve building trusted and respectful relationships across the company. All this while providing continuous up to date commentary and forecasts to all levels of the business.

It looks to me like Fuel Industries is a cross between an advertising agency and a game company (advergaming? gamevertising?), using games to build branding for companies and/or products.  Scott Hunter from Fuel Industries contacted me directly to say they were having trouble finding good people and suggested I take a look at their posting.  I’d just about finished with the writeup when it finally clicked that this was in Ottawa; for some reason I’d deluded myself into thinkin that Fuel Industries /also/ had a Toronto office.  As a result, most of you have already stopped reading.

The Good
It’s not banking or insurance, so it’s already slightly more interesting than your average tech job in Toronto.  Social/casual games and facebook integration seem to be big for them and it’s definitely a growth segment, so even if you don’t end up feeling like Fuel Industries is your long-term home, this might be a good company at which to hone your social gaming skills that you’ll use to launch the next Zynga.   It also sounds like some of their projects may have significant scale-out, which is a good skillset to pick up if you don’t already have it.  Also, if Fuel Industries is having trouble finding good people, and you’re “Good People (TM)” then presumably you’ve got a good shot.

It sounds like it’s a small enough place that it’s all about getting things done and less about heavy formal processes and “but that’s Steve’s job”.  I count that as good, although some people are more comfortable with the latter.

It looks like Scott’s got a passing interest in JVM languages, and you could learn a little bit about him since I imagine you’d be working with him.  He seems sane.  Fuel Industries also has a helpful list of twitter users that you could use to learn more about your potential co-workers, and it also implies they know a little about social media, which should be in their wheelhouse.  Heck, they even have a Wikipedia entry.

The Bad
It’s basically advertising.  I’ll touch on that again in YMMV, but I know a lot of people who’d be happy for me to place that directly in the ‘bad’ category.  Then again, if you can find a well-paid job in Toronto curing cancer with your favorite programming language, you wouldn’t be reading this, right?

They mention a wide array of languages, some of which you might not have.  It sounds like they do a lot of PHP, which is not surprising for a company with tie-ins to Facebook, although I don’t know that many people that really love working in PHP, despite the fact that a lot of serious internet companies are powered by it.

What’s Missing
How many people are there?  What’s the size and composition of the team you’d be on?  Who would you be working with?  What kinds of projects will you be working on?  What’s the mix of technologies likely to be in practice, and how hung up are they on you having experience with all or most of their stated platforms?  What’s the compensation like?  Would you be doing any mobile work?

The Location
It’s a little farther out than most of the jobs I post.  It’s in Ottawa.  🙂  I won’t claim to know anything about the area.

Your mileage will definitely vary if you want to commute to Ottawa.  If you’re willing to consider relocation, you’d need to understand how they’d support that kind of a move.

Not everyone wants to work in what amounts to advertising, even if it’s building games.  Your mileage may vary as to what Fuel Industries does, so if that’s a concern for you, then you might want to look over their portfolio in detail and talk to the company about the sorts of work they do, and where you’d fit into that.  Then again, that’s a good idea for any company at which you’re considering applying for a position.

This sort of work is often a good environment for trying new technology, as the projects you’re working on may be short-lived.  It’s less likely to be the kind of place where you build a massive code-base that you have to support for five years.  This may be good or bad depending on your point of view.

In Summary
If you’ve got the skills you’re looking for, the location isn’t totally out of the question, and you’d like something a little fast paced, and/or to get into gaming and facebook integration, then this might be a good fit.  Submit your resume to fuel industries via their website or get in touch with Scott Hunter.


Fiver/Riptown Again

July 29, 2008

One of the amusing things about reading a good deal of the technology jobs posted in Toronto on any given day is that you start to recognize certain patterns almost without thinking.  On the very first quick visual scan of this posting, I was already starting to think it was Fiver Media, and reading a few more details made it seem pretty likely.  The recruiter’s keeping the details on the down-low, but it doesn’t take much to read into this posting.

I’m not going to review it, we’ve talked about Fiver before.  Basically, if you can handle working for a company in the online gambling business and all that comes with that, you could consider looking at Fiver, but if you’re not certain that you want that sort of position, then it’s probably not worth looking any deeper.

Whether there are deeper problems is a subject for other people to debate — personally, as soon as I see the company’s doing “gaming” I move on, but I respect the fact that some of you will make different choices.

Fiver Media / Anon: Team Lead Game Developer

June 24, 2008

An ‘anonymous’ company is looking for a “Team Lead Game Developer“.  Any Toronto job talking about ‘game’ or ‘gaming’ without being too specific about it is probably gambling rather than what I would call game development.  And if the “gaming” job talks about Java server-side skills (as opposed to, say, J2ME), it’s further evidence that it’s a back-end for some kind of gambling shop.

Finally, when the posting is anonymous but otherwise almost entirely similar to the aforementioned Fiver Media posting, it’s a lock.  I don’t have any personal experience with Fiver, but they do seem to be the latest in a long chain of names associated with a gambling company whose reputation is far from pristine.  So if you see postings like this one, I suppose it’s up to you to make the call, but you might want to read some of the discussion thread on this post before getting too excited.

Fiver Media: Technical Team Lead

June 10, 2008

So far, no WWDC announcements of new mac-book pros, so I may have to choose between the great high-res screen of the large 17″ MBP and the less-great, but less-expensive screen on the reasonably-sized 15″ MBP.  Once that happens, posting rates should uptick again.

Fiver Media is looking for a Technical Team Lead:

  • Design, develop, and manage all technical aspects of the project, including:
    • Development and review of technical requirements
    • High-level design and architecture
    • Assignment of work to team
    • Coach and mentor other developers
    • Conduct performance reviews
    • Represent team in management meetings
    • Code reviews as well as doing some coding yourself
  • Fiver Media seems anxious to portray themselves as fun:

    There was a small team that tried “dress-up Thursdays” and that only lasted a few weeks!  The last thing we want is a working environment where eight bosses are asking for “TPS” reports, like yesterday. Fiver is professional, but never corporate. In fact we don’t even like saying that word. It’s evil. We laugh and play hard, but always work harder

    The Good
    Companies that work hard to be fun are often, in fact, fun places to work.  I’ve worked at a few, and I enjoyed many aspects of that environment.

    There’s not a lot of information on the technology, but this employee testimonial from their website implies they might be doing some interesting things:

    “I find myself working with things I had only read about and never expected to use, like massively virtual environments and extreme density blades.”

    Then again, the only hit on ‘extreme density blades’ is their website, so perhaps that testimonial doesn’t go as far as I’d like, even if blade density is something that vendors talk about.

    They’re located over by Wellington/Simcoe, which is both pretty central and yet still in a nice area for shopping, food, etc.  They’re on the 16th floor, so they may have nice views.

    The Bad
    The thing that stands out right away is that their website is directed to the potential employee.  They don’t talk about their clients, and they don’t talk about the work.  That’s often indicative of an industry that not everyone wants to work in (e.g. gambling, porn).  I don’t know what Fiver Media does, but I’m suspicious of anyone who isn’t busy trying to tell me what they do.  Looks like it’s a gaming shop, affiliated with bodog with all that entails.

    There’s not much information.  The role is reasonably well described, the work, the compensation are barely mentioned, and the process, while it does rate a mention, doesn’t get much more than that.

    Your mileage will definitely vary when it comes to working for a gaming company.  I know people who are dead-set against it, and others who don’t really know what they think.  I’ve heard my share of war stories from a colleague who used to work for a company that did online poker.

    Some companies work hard to be fun because they’ve elected to use that, rather than cash, as a motivating factor.  As a result, some of those companies don’t pay very well compared to their corporate brethren.  Other companies work so hard to be fun that they’re willing to continue to employ people who aren’t getting the job done, which can be frustrating.  I don’t know that Fiver Media is or isn’t like that, but those are some areas where your mileage may vary.

    Ultimately, as a gaming shop, my first instinct is that they pay reasonably well and are a reasonably fun place to work in an industry that’s a little sketchy and not to everyone’s taste.

    In Summary
    If working for a company involved in online gambling doesn’t bother you, Fiver Media might be your thing.  They’ve got a nice location, and they imply that they’re a fun place to work.  There’s not a lot of detail, but if that much sounds good, you could certainly inquire about the rest.