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.


    Little Bites: .NET/Java Technical Lead, Intelliware Architect, Java Developer

    March 29, 2008

    Robert Half is looking for a Technical Lead with good experience in both .NET and Java, with decent listed compensation. There’s not a lot of details there, and the technology stack leans toward .NET, but if that’s your bent and you’d like to consider getting paid $90-115k, I’m sure Robert Half would like to hear from you.

    Looks like Bevertec is trying to help Intelliware find that architect.

    This posting seems to be casting the net pretty wide.  A Java developer looking for a fun working environment with some basic technology requirements.  If anyone responds to this, do let me know what it is, I’m morbidly curious.

    CIHI: Technical Lead

    March 23, 2008

    Canadian Institutes for Health Information is looking for two technical leads, each of whom:

    leads/coordinates all applications development activities. Activities include, but are not limited to, participation in requirements identification and feasibility analysis, generation of technical solutions and design, coding, testing, quality assurance, implementation and all supporting project artefacts and documentation.

    CIHI says, about themselves:

    The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) is an independent, not-for-profit organization that provides essential data and analysis on Canada’s health system and the health of Canadians.

    They seem to be looking for people with both .NET and Java expertise.

    The Good
    This is mostly interesting because it’s a moderately senior role in a not-for-profit organization dealing with something positive (health), which isn’t always that easy to come by. The role and responsibilities sound reasonable, if you can stomach the kind of working environment that makes reference to PMP documentation.

    The Bad
    There’s no information about the work, the compensation, and limited information about the company.

    Although I understand that CIHI collects health information, and may well use software to do so, the posting says almost nothing about the nature of the work with which the candidate will be involved.

    The location is unknown; it may be the Toronto office at 90 Eglinton Avenue East, or could be somewhere else. There’s not much information about the working environment or the compensation. Given that most of their funding comes from the government, I’m not sure if their compensation can afford to be above-average at least in salary, although the inclusion of a pension plan might be interesting for some. Since an application development services manager makes under $80k, my hopes for a good salary are not high.

    If you’re not too hung up on salary, and working for a not-for-profit health organization with a good pension plan sounds like your cup of tea, this might be just the place you’re looking for.

    On the other hand, if you’ve got fair experience and you’ve gotten used to private sector pay, I have the feeling you’re going to find the salary disappointing, so you’d want to make sure the rest of the benefits and compensation plan make up for it sufficiently.

    Technical Lead (via Dunhill)

    March 23, 2008

    Dunhill is helping someone (company unspecified) look for a Technical Lead:

    • [T]o manage an existing software development team building large, high volume solutions using J2EE technologies
    • A SCRUM-Master certification, XP-coach, or other experience with agile methods is necessary, complemented with software engineering knowledge
    • Extensive experience with Java, J2ME, JUnit, Fitnesse, JMS, EJB, Web Services, Web Applications, Hibernate
    • Strong technical and non-technical communication skills: familiarity with presenting and explaining technical concepts to a variety of audiences
    • Experience working with company executives, shareholders, and directors an asset

    The Good
    There’s not a lot of detail about the technology stack, but what’s there looks good, for the most part.  (I’ll touch on EJB in the next section).

    It looks as if they take testing seriously, and agile methods, both of which are positive signs.

    The Bad
    The base problem is that there’s not a lot of information.  What’s the company?  What do they do?  What’s the project?  Is there an existing team?  Are they any good?  What are the details of technology and process?  What’s the location?  What’s the compensation like?
    As far as technology goes, there’s a reference to EJB here.  EJB’s not a technology I’m overjoyed to use, although if it’s EJB 3.0, I could possibly live with it.  I’m not sure if this is legacy code they have in place, or a long-term technology choice.  If they take testing seriously, EJB is a bit of a bear because it tends to require in-container testing, or strategies to mitigate the fact that it’s difficult to test enterprise java beans.

    I’m also a little concerned about this phrase: “excellent opportunity for a highly skilled technical person with some management skills to move to the next step.”  That phrase could imply that they’re looking for someone with less experience that they can get at a lower cost.  Or they may just be willing to consider people with more talent than experience, it’s hard to say.

    Not much detail here, but what’s here is interesting, for the most part.  You’d need to probe more to form an informed opinion: learn about the company, the project, the team, the location.  Still, if you can get past EJB, it feels like the basics might be sound.

    Merrill Lynch: Java Technical Lead

    March 22, 2008

    Merrill Lynch is looking for a Java Technical Lead to work at their Toronto Technology Centre of Excellence (250 Yonge, the Eaton Centre):

    The Good
    Merrill Lynch is a well-known financial company, and in the long run, financial companies often do well (although I’m not sure this the the right time to join one, what with subprime, but that’s another story).  The job seems to relate to securities trading and messaging, which could be interesting technically.

    Although ‘centre of excellence’ is a little over-the-top, it does sound as if this’ll be a location of some importance for ML, so working there is perhaps a good thing.

    Merrill also claims to be a bit of a meritocracy, although I’d have to talk to someone who works there to get a sense for how real that is (or isn’t):

    Merrill Lynch places a high value on talent and on maintaining a culture defined by meritocracy. For these reasons, it is deeply committed to professional development, opportunity and accountability at all levels of the organization.

    Having worked at 250 Yonge for four years, I can say that it’s a nice location, if not perfect.  It’s pretty central, there’s lots to eat in the area, getting a little shopping done is dead easy.  Transit access is good, although the TTC is always crowded and somewhat unreliable.  Surface routes are pretty congested, but it can be done.

    The Bad
    Nothing leaps off the page as being horrible.  Typically, financial institutions in Toronto don’t pay all that well, and the work can be dull, and process-bound.  I can’t argue whether or not that’s true for Merrill Lynch.  It sounds like a background in order management systems and the FIX protocol wouldn’t hurt, which I imagine some of you don’t have.

    More of a sense of the project, the existing team, and the processes at work in ML would help a lot.  Some sense of compensation would also help.

    It’s a little spartan, as postings go, but there’s no huge red flags either.      I’d certainly want to probe on compensation, process and culture, but if you’ve got the background in OMS and FIX they’re looking for, this seems worth a look.

    Riptown: J2EE Technical Team Lead

    March 13, 2008

    Riptown is looking for a J2EE Technical Team Lead.  They’re located over by Roy Thompson Hall (as well as in Vancouver).
    The Good
    It’s not so much that any particular aspect of the posting stands out, it’s just a relatively sane and sensible posting.  It asks for the sorts of things that one might expect a technical team lead to do.  It doesn’t emphasize big heavyweight processes that’ll get in the way, or imply that someone in this role will spend most of his or her time coding (which tends to take too much time away from the team leadership).  They seem to espouse agile.
    Besides, who wouldn’t want the occasional trip to Vancouver, a lovely city.

    The Bad
    Some people take issue with the space they’re in: online gaming of the gambling type.  Since the business is clear from their website, they might as well put it in the posting.  Riptown also does a good job of selling the work environment, but they do that on the website, rather than in the posting itself.

    There’s no obvious sense of the compensation.

    Devlin: Tech Lead / Architect

    February 22, 2008

    Devlin’s looking for a technical lead / architect to whip an existing project into shape, from the sounds of things:

    – Design, refine and enforce efficient development processes and high-quality code
    – Provide direction and assistance in re-architecting, re-factoring existing code base for greater stability and maintainability
    – Continually improve development environment and tools – focus on consistency and productivity!

    Being “process-driven” is slightly worrisome to me, even though it sounds like the processes they have in mind are reasonable. I guess I feel like people should be driven by project goals and business needs rather than process — process is a means to an end. The description also makes me wonder if you’d be leading a team that has a problem with consistency and productivity.

    Knowing more about the projects and the compensation would help to make this more compelling.