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.


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.

Intelex: Manager of Product Design

May 4, 2009

Intelex is seeking a Manager of Product Design:

Intelex Technologies Inc.​ is a progressive Canadian software company providing innovative, web-based applications for Environment, Health & Safety and Quality management.​ Intelex currently has a need for a Manager of Product Design.​

The ideal candidate will: Have worked on numerous web-based software projects for Fortune 500 companies.​ Possess a good eye for system design and consistency.​ Be a good leader and have experience managing a team of Business Analysts.​ Have excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to take charge of meetings and requirements gathering sessions.​

The Good
Intelex would have you believe they’re doing well, at least before the downturn. They’re in an unusual, and therefore potentially interesting field, “Environmental, Quality, Health and Safety.” They have a blog and an API, so they’re at least somewhat modern in terms of being a software company. They claim to take an agile approach. It’s a pretty senior role.

The Bad
Although the field is unusual, it’s probably an area that some might describe as boring. It’s the sort of thing where people’s eyes glaze over before you finish telling them what your company does, unless you’re an excellent salesperson yourself.

What’s Missing?
What’s a role like this pay, at Intelex? What’s the Product Design team you’d be managing — size and composition? What’s the development organization look like, and what’s the organizational structure from management to product to development look like?

I imagine this is fairly hands-off on the actual writing of code. A good thing for this kind of role, but not everyone’s cup of tea. The field is both unusual and industrial — could be interesting for some, boring for others.

The Location
Intelex seems to be at Adelaide and Charlotte. It’s a little far afield if you’re taking GO, and it’s a bit of a walk from the Subway, but it’s certainly walkable, and it’s in a nice area, what with the Charlotte Room, Dark Horse, and a pile of other places to eat and shop.

In Summary
A relatively senior role in what I’d probably call product management at a centrally located company in an unusual industry. Could be interesting, particularly if you’re already in product management.

Toronto Rehab: SIMS Technical Specialist

March 2, 2009

Toronto Rehab is looking for a Technical Specialist for their Shared Information Management Services (SIMS) , and their requirements have really triggered my curiosity:

  • Extensive database transaction-processing experience.
  • Informix, Ruby on Rails, Oracle, Sybase or MUMPS (?!)
  • Unix, Windows or Novell (?!)
  • Java / .NET
  • Extensive use of computers, software and peripherals, including Microsoft Office and Microsoft Project
  • Experience with computer hardware/software vendor processing? (Soylent green is made of vendors, apparently).

And, from the sounds of things, the goal of this position is to migrate an HP-UX/Informix project to “current technologies”, whatever that means given the above list.

Toronto Rehab sounds like a somewhat interesting organization:

Toronto Rehab is Canada’s largest rehabilitation hospital and the University of Toronto’s fully affiliated and specialized teaching hospital dedicated to adult rehabilitation and complex continuing care. We are at the forefront of one of the most important and emerging frontiers in health care today — rehabilitation science.

But I’m not sure that’s enough to get me through the job posting, which has left me pretty thoroughly baffled as to who and what they’re really looking for.

Manager, Application Development at Direct Energy

February 6, 2009

Direct Energy is looking for a Manager, Application Development:

This position is responsible for managing the performance of a team of technical staff in an assigned function(s) of application support and development. The incumbent works to ensure that resources are in place to identify and provide business application systems in support of assigned function(s).

  • Sets a framework for the provision and support of solutions covering areas such as resourcing, program and project management, development standards, etc.
  • Responsible for overseeing the effective use of strategic processes as they pertain to this group
  • Negotiates IT project requirements (i.e. deadlines, budgets, resources, etc.)
  • Manages a team of IT professionals responsible for system analysis, application software, and programming
  • Establishes performance plans for staff, reviews individual results on a regular basis.
  • Identifies individual and organizational developmental needs/career goals and ensures developmental efforts are put in place to support them

The Good
It’s a senior role at a big company, and the energy sector is likely to do well, with ups and downs, for years and years to come, given the fact that there are only so many fossil fuels, and we’ve got a strong desire to use ’em.  Direct Energy seems to be owned by Centrica PLC, with a $14B market cap.  There’s a reference to Agile, but it’s just a reference.

The Bad
The role is described in a very matter-of-fact “these are the skills we want” sort of way, without any attempt to convince you of the value of working at Direct Energy.  That’s not always a bad thing, but it’s lacking in points of interest.

What’s Missing?
Where’s this located?  What’s the compensation like for a manager at direct energy?  What applications does Direct Energy develop, other than the billing application?  How many teams are there, what size and composition?  What are the details of their technology choices, and what’s the Java / .NET Platform mix like for them?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to the Java / .NET mix — some people know the one and not the other, and would like to stay that way.  It may also vary when it comes to working for Direct Energy.  Personally, I’d have a hard time taking a role at Direct Energy, because the sales tactics at the street level in my neighbourhood by lots of individual employees have been, what I would call … misleading at best, if not close to fraudulent, and very, very aggressive.  I don’t know that they’re employed directly by Direct Energy, and I don’t know whether or not that culture goes deeper than the sales organization, but I am personally very wary of them as an organization at this point.  That said, many of you may have no history with Direct Energy or positive experiences, so don’t let my bias ruin your chance at getting a job.

The Location
Their main office seems to be up at Yonge and Sheppard, so I’m guessing that’s where the job will be.

In Summary
There’s not a lot to latch onto, but if you like the idea of managing a development team for Direct Energy at Yonge and Sheppard, you could inquire to learn more.

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).

Cineplex: Manager, Software Development & Integration

January 22, 2009

Cineplex is looking for a Manager, Software Development & Integration:

The Information Technology department has an immediate opening for the position of Manager, Software Development and Integration, reporting directly to the Vice President, Software Solutions.

Your mission is to manage a team of software developers to success, in designing and building software solutions for our company that exceed user expectations and ultimately improve the company’s bottom line.

Software Solutions is a group within Cineplex’s I.T. department.  We are a small and efficient group composed of a Business Analysis/Project Management team and a Development team.  In this position you would be heading up the later.  It’s a casual environment, with flexible work hours, a great sense of camaraderie and a passionate appreciation for the business.

Our ideal candidate is someone passionate about software development & integration, with a keen mind for details, architecture, standards and protocol. 

You are a great communicator.  You are clear, precise and friendly – both verbally and in writing.  You are an excellent negotiator, able to diffuse conflict situations and build consensus.

You are a leader.  You have a proven track record of managing a technical team to success.  You are a mature supportive manager with a strong capacity to inspire.

You understand business.  You have an excellent grasp of standard commercial processes and are enthusiastic to learn about the specifics of our business.  You use this to ensure the most efficient technical approach to any given solution.

And last, but not least, you are a technophile.  You vigorously follow a number of blogs/news groups. You’ve been on the net since Netscape 2.0.  You speak the XSLT computer language. You write code with ease and enjoy it. Furthermore, you are passionate about Microsoft technologies.  You beta tested .NET.  You have solid experience with much of their application stack and understand the power of leveraging the api’s and libraries that they provide.

The Good
First and foremost, this posting has a pretty decent tone, a good vibe.  It feels like it was written by someone who knows a little (or a lot) about technology and potential candidates, who knows how to explain some of the merits of the job, and is interested in explaining clearly why you might want to work there and what they’re looking for.  I don’t have .NET experience myself, but if I did, the tone of the posting might be enough to make me want to inquire further.

Now, that said, I don’t know who wrote the posting.  It could be written by an outsider who has nothing to do with the organization, so it’s not enough in and of itself, so you’ll want other reasons.  It sounds like it’s a fairly senior role in a fairly well-known organization, it sounds like they’re looking for a good business/technology/leadership mix.  From a quick glance, they’re doing reasonably well financially right now, although we’ll know more on 12-Feb.

The Bad
Some of the process language sounds pretty hierarchical, so if that’s important to you, you might want to probe a little more. 

What’s Missing?
What software would you / your team be developing and integrating with?  What are the business needs and challenges?  What’s the size and composition of your team(s)?  What’s the compensation?  Given the wide array of technologies they’re hoping for you to have experience with, what’s their technology mix like?  Are there a lot of old VB/COM systems, or is it mostly C#/.NET?  What’s the process like?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to processes that involve Effort Assessments and Technical Specifications, although, to be honest, you’d have to get some sense of what that means to Cinplex to really form an opinion.  If might also vary when it comes to off-hours operations support, although you’d have to know how often that’ll come up to decide how big a deal that is.

The Location
As far as I can tell, this just south of St. Clair on Yonge, between the St. Clair and Summerhill station.   If you’re commuting by GO train or car, or walking to work from your downtown condo, this might be a bit of a pain, but for most of the rest of us it’s not too bad.  Two stations North of Yonge, or not too far south from points north.  There’s some interesting shops and restaurants around, but it’s also not an incredibly busy area.

In Summary
A management position requiring a  Microsoft / VB / COM / .NET background working for Cineplex at Yonge and Summerhill / St. Clair.