Unspecified: Director/Manager of Information Technology

December 16, 2008

Keith Bagg is helping an unspecified company look for a Director / Manager of Information Technology:

Responsible for strategic planning, including identifying, selecting, and deploying the appropriate resources that will support the client’s corporate goals and objectives.  Tactically, you will oversee project management, resource management, supervision of staff, and provide clear communication with executive management, peers, clients and end users.

The Good
This sounds like a pretty senior role covering a wide variety of skillsets.  They seem to want someone with a background in both development and IT, as well as management, client interaction and vendor management.  

The Bad
Although the posting defines some of the skills required, it doesn’t really talk much about the role, so you’re left to piece together the role from the skills.  There’s a lot of detail missing, which we’ll cover in the next section, but they’re actually telling you almost nothing about the job, only about the qualifications you’d need to have for the job.

As a result, it’s hard to be too concrete one way or another here.

What’s Missing
Everything 
that isn’t simply your skillset.  That’s quite a lot.  

What’s the company?  What do they do?  Where are they located?  Why are they filling this role now?  Are they profitable and well-cushioned against the financial downturn?  How many people do they have?  What’s their organizational structure like, and where would you fit into that.  What are the challenges currently facing this company?  Is there a CTO/CIO, or is that essentially the role you’re filling?

Working backwards from the skills they’ve asked for:

  • They would like you to know Java, Web, SOA, so i’m assuming that means this company does some development work.  How much?  What kind?  To what end?  How many people do they have on it?  Do they do professional services, sell products, or simply develop internal web applications?
  • They’re hoping you understand firewalls, VPNs; is this simply the corporate network, or do they also potentially host their own applications?
  • They’d like you to know something about Grants — does this organization get their funding from the government?
  • They’d like you to deliver cases for technology acquisitions — are we talking about making purchases like servers, or are we talking about buying other companies?  The difference between the two is vast.

There’s really nowhere near enough information here, so if you think you meet the qualifications and you’d like to learn more, then give them a call and see if they can explain some of these elements.

YMMV
Your mileage may vary about investing your time into learning more on a job opportunity where you know so little to begin with. 

In Summary
This is probably most interesting if you’ve got experience with both software development and with “IT” in at least the servers, storage and networks areas as well as some management experience.  You’d want to understand the company and the role in better detail.

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Unspecified: Java Integration Developer

December 9, 2008

TAL is helping an unspecified company look for a Java Integration Developer:

Perform analysis, development, testing, and support of enterprise integration applications. 

Analyze business requirements and design and implement integrated solutions using TIBCO integration products and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA) principals. 

It’s been a good week for TAL, I guess — they’ve had several postings that seemed interesting to me, despite being thin on detail.  It doesn’t hurt their case that there aren’t as many interesting postings around right now, so they don’t have to work quite so hard. 

The Good
Some companies apply service-oriented architectures where they’re unnecessary.  Integration is a good case for SOA, so if you’re into SOA, but don’t like to see it over-applied, this is perhaps a role in which SOA may be being applied sensibly.  SOA with open standards, distributed messaging — these are still relatively big skills for enterprise development, so some of you probably already specialize in this sort of thing and others among you may want to be moving more in this direction.  Also, the emphasis on team performance and the use of Scrum doesn’t hurt.

The Bad
I’m not sure if the company or the recruiter failed to catch the error in “service-oriented architecture principals“, but  it should have been principles.  It’s a small thing, so I’m trying not to read too much into it.  There’s not enough else here to really latch onto.

What’s Missing
As is usual for a recruiter posting, quite a lot is missing.  What’s the company?  What do they do?  Where are they located?  What will you be doing for them?  What kinds of systems do they want to integrate, how, why, and why is it so important to use TIBCO products to do the integration?  It almost sounds like this is a consulting position for TIBCO.  What’s the team like, and how would you fit into it?  There’s too much to fill in here, so essentially if this appeals to you you’re going to need to follow-up and start with the basics.

YMMV
Your mileage may vary when it comes to enterprisey service-oriented integration work, but people who don’t want to do that sort of thing probably didn’t bother reading this far.  

In Summary
This is most interesting if you like this kind of service-oriented integration work and you’ve got a background in TIBCO products.


Unspecified: Service-Oriented Architect [sic]

November 9, 2008

Hudson is helping an unspecified company look for a “Service-Oriented Architect“:

Our client is seeking a highly effective Service Oriented Architect to join their team. This role will focus on the design and development of SOA which delivers integrations across organizations and extended enterprises through new web services.

  • Lead large-scale business application design efforts
  • Independently interacts at the director-level in client organizations
  • Demonstrates expertise with a broad set of development tools/technologies
  • Has a firm understanding of design methods and architectures
  • Assists the Project Manager in establishing team goals, objectives, and budget
  • Provides support to the sales effort on new business development pursuits

I’m sure most of the people reading the posting realize that the architecture is service-oriented rather than the architect, but it amuses me nontheless.  Unfortunately, there isn’t really enough meat on the posting to go into details.  Sounds like it could be a senior role somewhere, but there’s just too much missing information to be more than amused.  If you’re into SOA and you’d like an architect position, you could inquire for more details.


CPP Investment Board: Manager / Lead

October 1, 2008

The Canada Pension Plan Investment Board is looking for a Manager, Application Services:

We are presently recruiting for a Manager, Application Services to join our dynamic Information Services Team. The Manager, Application Services leads the design and oversees development of cross-functional, multiplatform application systems across the CPP Investment Board.

The ideal candidate is recognized as having exceptional leadership skills and competence in software architecture and development disciplines. He/She is committed to, and deeply experienced with, service oriented architecture principles and excels in instilling effective software development practices in a fast paced, results-oriented environment.

This role interacts with various investment and investment operations departments across CPPIB, and partners effectively with other groups within Information Services, including Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Data Management, Quality Assurance and Infrastructure Management. It manages software development teams to meet project objectives and evolve CPPIB’s software applications to achieve its longer-term goals via a buy, build and integrate philosophy. This role partners closely with Enterprise Architecture to deliver solution architectures that are consistent with CPPIB’s broader architectural principles and directions.

They’re also looking for a Lead, Portfolio Analytics Systems:

The Lead, Portfolio Analytics Systems, manages a team of software engineers who design, develop and support quantitative models for cross asset investment strategies. This role partners closely with investment professionals across Public Market Investments’ (PMI) five (5) investment groups, and ensures the delivery of software engineering expertise backed by the infrastructure, architecture and data management capabilities of the broader Information Services team. 

This role manages the software engineering team to meet project and operational objectives, and design PMI’s analytic model systems to achieve goals of agility through re-use, production stability and controls (e.g. source library, change controls, logical security). It oversees software development and integration, maintenance of a coding library and knowledge repository to capture and distribute research documentation across PMI.

This role provides recommendations to senior management regarding the resources (human, financial, tools, etc.) required to complete assigned projects, and effectively manages change within the organization to transition systems from implementation to stable operations. When implementing new systems, this role takes a comprehensive view of the technology, process and architectural implications of the deliverables, and the change management activities associated with the project. It ensures that support resources are in place to support systems on a 7×24 basis, in conjunction with Infrastructure Management.

And finally, a Lead, Capital Markets Technology:

The Lead, Capital Markets Technologies, is responsible for the end-to-end delivery and support of technology solutions for CPPIB’s Global Capital Markets (GCM) Group. This role is a key relationship manager to the management team and investment professionals in this investment group, and is responsible for the implementation, support and integration of systems that support GCM’s portfolio management, analytic and trade execution activities. GCM is a sophisticated and rapidly growing portfolio management team, active across asset classes including cash and derivatives products in the equity, credit, currency and FX markets. This role is accountable for the client service relationship to GCM, manages the vendors that support investment systems and ensures that IS delivers the quality of technology expertise and services required for GCM to execute on their business objectives.

The ASP.NET career site they’re using makes it painful to get the above links, so be thankful for them.  The CPP Investment Board is a large investment organization that shepherds what is currently over $100B in assets for the canadian pension plan.  A large institutional investor, essentially.

The Good
The CPP IB is clearly a pretty significant organization, and one that has both public and private connections in a way.  These are pretty senior roles within the investment board, either what looks like a ‘development manager’ position or one of two team-lead positions.  I imagine these roles come with a fair amount of responsibility and an opportunity to make an impact.

Since the developer positions seemed to offer solid compensation, we might project that these will as well.

When processes are mentioned, they tend to use the word ‘agile’, which is good.  Then again, some of these postings also talk a lot about PMI, which might imply there are other process models afoot.  Similarly,  if agile methods are meant to adapt to change, the phrase “change control” tends to speak to organizations that aren’t thoroughly agile.

The only location listed is 1 Queen East, which would be Queen and Yonge, and a decent neighbourhood to work in, although it’s not certain that that’s where these roles would be.

The Bad
There’s some business-speak in there like “Manage stakeholder expectations”.  None of those phrases are necessarily wrong, but I’ve come to take that as a bad sign at times.

I’m getting very mixed messages as to the likely process.

The usual information gaps apply.  Where are they located?  There’s very little about compensation: do they do RSP matching?  What salaries do these roles command?  What technologies do they use other than SOA/ESB?  How many people would you be managing or leading, and what’s the composition of the teams?  How much experience are they looking for in these roles?  Why are their postings on their site that are six months old or more?

YMMV
Although your mileage may vary about working for a kind of investment firm while you’re hearing about all the investment bank disasters, the CPP IB would be happy to quell your fears about their exposure to the credit issues in the states from their FAQ.  Your mileage may also vary when it comes to a pervasively service-oriented approach, although it would take more understanding of the specifics of their business domain to really evaluate that.

In Summary
Pretty senior roles in a pretty significant institutional investor which may be well-paid.  If agility is important to you, I’d recommend probing on that in more detail, and clearing up some of the information gaps.


Unspecified: Application Integration Manager

July 22, 2008

A contract ‘manager’ role is a little unusual, but this posting for an Application Integration Manager has its good points:

We are looking for an outstanding professional contractor to work for our client on a six month contract. You will be working for a major player in the telecommunications arena. In this role you will be managing the relationship with extremely important clients through your adept skills and the breadth of your knowledge in relationship building, software development projects and integration.

What you will do:
-Perform client facing tasks ensuring client satisfaction through effective delivery
-Engage client as warranted to develop deliverables and manage expectations
-Lead the integration of client’s application with hosted middleware platform
-Implement the ecommerce application according to guidelines, budget, reqs etc
-Contribute to project estimation and planning phases

The Good
Notably, the pay.  $78/hr max should mean that you get paid $78k for the six-month contract.  That’s not mad money, but it’s not bad for six months work.

The Bad
Very little detail in some areas.  “Major player in the telecommunications arena” could mean a lot of different things.  What’s the work, what’s the process?  Who will you be working for and with?

YMMV
Contract’s not for everyone.  You may be making more than $78k already, and have benefits.  To take this job, you have to quit, with only $78k promised, and even that might not pan out.

On the other hand, you can take your 78k, live frugally for the rest of the year, and relax, or start a startup, or find another job.  The world is your oyster.  Whatever that really means.

In Summary
If you have the freedom to take a contract right now, and you’re making less then $78/hr, this could be interesting.


Deloitte: Senior Manager J2EE/.Net Consulting

March 22, 2008

Deloitte is looking for a Senior Manager J2EE/.Net Consulting:

As a Senior Manager, the successful candidate will hold a key leadership position within our practice, responsible for leading large-scale technology projects. Our client’s technology environments are complex, therefore the candidate will need to bring experience in similarly complex environments and understand how to coordinate across many applications and teams as part of a single effort.

The Good
It’s a pretty senior role. I’m given to understand that Deloitte tends to be a decent employer, although that’s third-hand information at best.

They are certainly a large employer, with “6,800 talented people in 51 offices dedicated to helping our clients.” That might strike you as good or as bad, depending on your background and preference.

The Bad
It’s not clear to me how close Deloitte imagines a Senior Manager being to the implementation efforts. It’s difficult to manage a technology project if you’re disconnected from the implementation, unless you’ve already established a great working relationship with people who are part of the implementation effort, so depending on Deloitte’s culture around this, you could be getting set up for failure. That said, this is something you could ask them during the interview process, and change, if need be.

The travel requirements are unclear; it rates a mention, but no specifics. It’d be good to know more about the compensation. The reference to offshore development doesn’t score many points with me either.

Sidebar
It’s amusing to me to see paragraphs like this one:

Due to the ever-expanding inventory of IT systems within most large organizations, clients are increasingly looking for ways to leverage and expand existing systems while avoiding duplicate or “throw-away” solutions. Current vendor offerings are rising to this challenge by supporting functionality re-use through “Service Oriented” architectures (SOA) and technology standards.

You could replace ‘Service Oriented’ with ‘Object Oriented’ here and turn back the clock ten years and it’d be like you never left. Practically speaking, developing large systems is hard work, and the code isn’t always re-usable. Architecture can aid in this area, but ultimately, nothing as vague as a grand architectural style like OO or SOA will, in and of itself, promote re-use, and many of the people spending lots of money retooling their systems with SOA are simply repeating the same mistakes they made when they rebuilt their systems in object-oriented code.

But, hey, I know I’m in the minority here; vendors are good at making new things sound important in order to sell you the latest technology stack, and business gets up in arms, and of course, consulting organizations respond to that. It’s not Deloitte’s fault, they’re just filling a market need.

Conclusions
If you’re in, or would like to be in, a pure management role in a large organization, this could be an interesting opportunity.  If you’re looking to do some coding, or find a niche in a small company this clearly isn’t your bag.  Those of you in the middle might want to talk to Deloitte and see whether you feel there’s a fit.


Sr. Java Solutions Architect

March 22, 2008

3k Consulting is helping an unspecified company look for a Senior Java Solutions Architect (devbistro, craigslist).

The Good
The listed salary range is pretty solid, so as long as the rest of the compensation matches up, the compensation is attractive. The only references to processes are agile ones. The requested technologies are often relatively modern ones (although it’s often quite a mix, e.g. “Axis, JSON RPC, SOAP, WSDL, REST, XML-RPC”).

The Bad
Well, as is often true of a posting listed using a placement agency, there’s very little detail about the company and the job, which could make the difference. Surprisingly, there’s also almost nothing about the role, so the candidate has to read into the required skillset in order to imagine what it is the company would like you to do. Unless, of course, you’re of the opinion that “Senior Java Solutions Architect” is a concrete, well-defined role, which I would certainly argue isn’t true.

And ‘CA Harvest’? Really?

Conclusions
It’s hard to read much into this, to be honest. It’s mostly a list of requirements, and you can decide easily if you meet those requirements. However, beyond that, there’s really only ‘reasonable compensation’ to recommend it.