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).

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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?

YMMV
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.


Rogers: Hiring Frenzy

December 2, 2008

Rogers is conducting a hiring frenzy, but, sadly, it’s all in Brampton.  If working in Brampton isn’t out of the question for you and you’re looking for a senior role at Rogers, this seems to be a good time to make that happen:

I’m not going to go through these all in detail.  Suffice it to say that if this is your sort of job, it seems like this is a great opportunity to get noticed at Rogers.


Canada Pension Plan Investment Board: Senior Java Developer (x3)

September 30, 2008

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is looking for three senior java developers:

We are currently looking for experienced Java Developers who can think outside the box and use your technical, critical thinking, and strong mathematics skills to manage the SDLC and deliver state of the art applications for this financial organization. You must have strong communication skills with experience in the financial industry. A PHD or Masters degree is a plus. 

The Senior Developer’s role is to write, code, test, and analyze software programs and applications. This includes researching, designing, documenting, and modifying software and specifications throughout the development lifecycle, as well as providing proactive level III application support for production systems. The Senior Developer will provide innovative and proactive solutions to challenging business problems, contribute to the development and maintenance of leading systems architecture and demonstrate a strong business acumen and subject matter expertise in investment management concepts. 

Collaborate with business analysts, technical analysts, clients and architects to conceptualize, design and develop new software programs and applications, including but not limited to database applications, web services and Enterprise Service Bus services that support our service oriented architecture 

Although the posting doesn’t specify the employer, “Integrity, Partnership and High Performance” seems to be a dead give-away for the CPP IB.  They are also looking for a few managerial positions which I may come back to.

The Good
There are a lot of financial institutions in Toronto, and most of them pay well below par, from what I can see.  In this case, the pay seems pretty competitive, at $95k-125k, which is the high end of most senior developer positions in Toronto.   

With three open positions for senior developers and a few managerial positions, this might be a good opportunity to get on board with a few people that you trust.   The role is moderately senior.  The technology stack seems reasonable for the most part.

The Bad
Despite the fact that a little detective work turns up the likely employer, that still leaves a lot of information gaps.  Who is the employer, is it really the CPP IB?  What do they do?  What will you be working on?  How big is the team you’ll be on?  How does that team get its job done, what’s the process?  What are the non-salary parts of the compensation plan?

YMMV
Your mileage may vary when it comes to working on anything vaguely related to financials and investment right now.  Although the Canadian bywaters seem to be undisturbed, we’re still a long way from ‘safe’.

Your mileage may also vary when it comes to things like service-oriented architecture and enterprise service bus, both of which can be a cue that this is an organization that buys into vendor hype and adopts complex technology they don’t really need (although you’d really have to understand the CPP IB well enough to make that call).

In Summary
Moderately senior positions in financial company that manages tons of assets with reasonable technology and reasonable pay.


Architech: Team Lead / Senior Java / Solutions Architect

September 22, 2008

Architech Solutions is looking for several positions, from a Team Lead [craigslist]:

Architech Solutions is seeking a Team Lead with a focus on the wireless telecommunications sector. The successful candidate will help lead development of a new software product targeted to the mobile advertising space on an international scale. You are proficient with viewing systems from various perspectives and clearly articulating decisions to a varied audience. We are looking for a focused, driven, detail-oriented, and big-picture thinker with the ability to consistently drive winning solutions. 

You are intimately familiar with wireless communications technology at the enterprise level: a real mobile guru. You have real-world experience architecting/implementing carrier-grade projects in the telecommunications space. You are an expert in Java and J2EE and experienced with a broad range of enterprise integration tools, technologies, and architectural patterns. You have experience with ESB products such as Aqualogic and WebSphere, portal platforms such as Weblogic Portal and Plumtree, XML and web services, Messaging Products such as MQ and MSMQ, as well as broad experience with industry class RDBMS systems. 

A solutions architect [architech]:

Architech Solutions is seeking a Solution Architect with a focus on the wireless telecommunications sector. The successful candidate will help lead development of a new software product targeted to the mobile advertising space on an international scale. You are proficient with viewing systems from various perspectives and clearly articulating decisions to a varied audience. We are looking for a focused, driven, detail-oriented, and big-picture thinker with the ability to consistently drive winning solutions.

You are intimately familiar with wireless communications technology at the enterprise level: a real mobile guru. You have real-world experience architecting/implementing carrier-grade projects in the telecommunications space. You are an expert in Java and J2EE and experienced with a broad range of enterprise integration tools, technologies, and architectural patterns. You have experience with ESB products such as Aqualogic and WebSphere, portal platforms such as Weblogic Portal and Plumtree, XML and web services, Messaging Products such as MQ and MSMQ, as well as broad experience with industry class RDBMS systems.

And a Senior Java Developer [craigslist, architech]:

Architech Solutions is seeking a Senior Java Developer with a focus on the wireless telecommunications sector. The successful candidate will participate in the development of a new software product targeted to the mobile advertising space on an international scale. 

You are a speedy and proficient developer who can remain focused in a fast-moving environment. You are familiar with wireless communications technology at the enterprise level: preferably a real mobile guru. You have experience with Agile development methodologies such as SCRUM and have real-world experience developing carrier-grade applications in the telecommunications space. You are an expert in Java and J2EE and experienced with a broad range of enterprise integration tools, technologies, and architectural patterns. You have experience with ESB products such as Aqualogic and WebSphere, portal platforms such as Weblogic Portal and Plumtree, XML and web services, Messaging Products such as MQ and MSMQ, as well as broad experience with industry class RDBMS systems. 

I’m not sure what the difference between the postings on Craigslist and on their site implies; perhaps the Solutions Architect and Team Lead are really the same position?

They’re also looking for QA, tech writers, and business analysts, so you can follow the links to their website to get more information on those fronts.

The Good
This seems to be a good time to join Architech, as they’re going through some growth, and it looks like their clients are among those not currently suffering from the subprime meltdown to any great degree.  In particular, i’d hazard a guess that the work they’re hiring for has to do with Rogers.  The role is fairly senior, the process seems to be some form of Agile, the work seems to have the potential to be visible and of significant scale.

The location seems to be 3 Church Street, right by the Bier Markt, St. Lawrence Market, etc.  Lots of shops, restaurants, food around, and not too far off the beaten path with respect to the TTC.  This is one of the better locations I’ve seen.   They may even have a foosball table.

And, of course, the usual gaps in information: what’s the team? are they hiring a whole new team for this, or working with some people already on board?  how big will the team be? what’s the compensation?  And finally, although there is some information about things like the work, the role, the process, there’s still room for more.

The Bad
SOA and ESB are often employed by companies swayed by technology hype rather than solid technology choices backed by a skeptical agile YAGNI sense.  That said, I believe that either one of those technologies can be chosen for the right reasons as well, and I can’t say that Architech has chosen these for the wrong reasons, only that many companies do.

Although I’m sure they’re just being thorough, the postings have come through Craigslist a fair number of times within a relatively short period, which is vaguely annoying if you’ve got a feed and you keep seeing the same items repeated.  I doubt you can generalize that into a “problem” about working at Architech, though. 

There are some little hiccups in the postings.  Architech doesn’t list an obvious contact point for responding to career postings on their website, and there’s the occasional typo, like “xTremeExperience with” which should presumably be “eXtreme Programming.  Experience with”

YMMV
Your mileage may vary when it comes to large-scale integration projects.  Often, people working on these end up spending most of their time fiddling with the wiring and very little time on what feels like “delivering value”.

I get the impression that Architech is a relatively small company at this stage, and they seem to be pretty new — not much more than a year old at best?  Their branding (name, logo) seems acceptable without being stellar (although presumably that’s a matter of taste — mouth media obviously disagrees with me).  It’s an open question how stable they are, although it’s certainly true that no stability is guaranteed.  Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns, Merril, AIG all looked pretty stable until subprime ate away their foundations, right?

In Summary
Java developer, Solutions Architect or Team Lead working near the St. Lawrence Market on telecom advertising at a very new and presumably small company.