GigPark: Ruby on Rails Developer

June 18, 2009

GigPark is looking for a Ruby on Rails developer:

  • GigPark is a Toronto-based web startup that’s growing fast
  • Built with Ruby on Rails and hosted on EC2
  • We’re not religious about technology. We believe in using the right tool for the job
  • You believe that database design is part of application development and you know your responsibility doesn’t end when your code is deployed
  • You have opinions on better tools & technologies and love to try new things. You are also pragmatic and choose the best tool for the job
  • You have a solid understanding of software fundamentals including: programming languages, scalability, security and source code management

If you’ve also got some design chops, you might want to check out their Ruby on Rails Designer/Developer position instead.  I haven’t met that many people that do a particularly solid job of both, but if GigPark can find one at a price they can afford, they should certainly hire him or her (you?)

The Good
It’s a live, working application you can use.  If you’re not already familiar with GigPark, register, and see if it’s something you’d be interested in working on.  This is always a really big plus to my eye, because there are lots of jobs where you won’t know what you’ll be really doing until long after it’s too late to decide if it’s interesting.  It’s also using fun technologies, both Ruby on Rails and EC2 are interesting to many of the developers I know, as well as myself.  They also closed a deal with Metro recently which is probably good for business.

The Bad
There’s nothing overtly bad in what’s there.  The posting’s a little low on specifics, but I think it probably gets the general gist across clearly enough that most people can decide whether or not it’s something that’s interesting to them.

What’s Missing?
What exactly does competitive salary really mean in this case?  I’m assuming startup employment without benefits at this stage of GigPark’s growth?  Are they profitable at this stage, and if not, how are they funded, and how long will that last?  It’s somewhat true that most of the Ruby jobs in town don’t pay quite as well as the enterprisey Java and .NET work, in part because they tend to be for startups.  If pay is a big deal for you, this is something you might want to probe in detail.  What’s the size and composition of the team?  How regularly do they release?  What’s their process like, from design through development, testing and operations?  What do they use for testing, and how do they ensure their code is well-tested?  (If, for instance, they’re using code coverage, what kind of coverage do they aim for and achieve?)

Some people like sharply defined roles and responsibilities.  They want to work on the server-side code, not the database or the client code, and certainly not the operational side.  Most startups don’t really work that way, and it sounds like GigPark is definitely hoping to find a generalist or a specializing generalist.   Then again, that’s often part and parcel of working for a startup, so this might not come as a shock.  It looks like a young crowd — most people would be fine with that, but it might be worth knowing.

The Location
Looks like GigPark is located at Lansdowne and Dupont.  That’s a fair way west for most of you, but still central enough that it’s not a brilliant place for highway commuters.  Basically, it’s well-suited to people who are already taking the subway a fair ways, and particularly those in the west end of town.  I don’t know the area especially well; there are certainly some nice things down by High Park, but that’s just far enough to be inconvenient.  You’ve also got the Junction around  you, which might supply some interesting shops and restaurants.  Ultimately, it’s out of the way, but not horrific.

In Summary
There are only so many Ruby on Rails jobs in town, mostly for startups like GigPark.  If that appeals to you, then you’re probably already interested.  If it doesn’t, then you’re probably not the right fit anyway.


Direct Leap: Developer

March 6, 2009

Direct Leap is looking for two Developers []:


We are a small but established company building telephony applications with Ruby and Asterisk. Our products are specifically designed for national, non-profit customers. Our growing, long-term customer base have used the products we develop to achieve startling progressive election victories.

Our key product is a part-Rails, part custom distributed network application with an AJAX+Comet interface. We are an Agile/Scrum shop, and do test driven development.

We’re looking to add two permanent full time developers to our growing team. We work hard, but give everyone a minimum one month per year paid vacation. Our office is in a converted textile factory at Queen and Spadina.


There’s not a ton of information there, so I won’t do a full write-up.  It sounds like an interesting company doing something interesting to improve the world using fun technologies.  That part’s all good.  It’s not clear to me whether or not you’ll be well-compensated financially — for a small company in a “do-good” space, that’s not always true.  Then again, if you can afford to adjust your salary expectations for the right gig, this seems like it might be worth a further look.  The location’s not bad from what they say – a little off the beaten path, but in a fun area with lots of other startups.

Unspecified: Software Architect, Java

February 12, 2009

An unspecified startup is looking for a Software Architect (Java):

We are a software start-up based in downtown Toronto looking to build our core team as part of a new venture we are getting ready to launch in the fall of 2009. The company is targeting one of the most exciting online market opportunities available today. We’ve got our plan developed and now it’s time to start building out a world-class technology team. 

If you have a strong background in Web 2.0 in a Java environment, passion for using cutting edge technology and solving interesting customer problems AND improving people’s lives, our little company is the right place for you. We provide a positive and supportive work environment, interesting and challenging work and a ringside seat to witness and contribute to the explosive growth of online media in the 21st century. Our team is passionate about their work and our vision to secure an enviable position of what is today a $100Billion industry. If this sounds like you, then please read on. 

We are looking for an Application Architect with a passion for technology coupled with great communication skills. We are seeking a hard-working, adaptable problem solver, who loves to solve technical challenges and feels comfortable working directly with marketing, product, creative and other teams. This is a fast-paced, open environment where innovation and participation is encouraged through blogging, custom tool development, hack-day events and other out-of-the-box techniques. 

As the “Application Architect” must be highly analytical and have exceptional hands-on technical skills in Java. You must possess the skills needed for successful technical leadership and motivation of high performance team of developers, including: open source committers, framework architects and expert software engineers. 

The Good
It’s an early stage to get involved with a startup, and if they do in fact have a good idea in a lucrative market (big if, of course), then it could be an excellent time to get involved.  The way the posting is written implies people who have at least a reasonable understanding of technology and development and approach, which are all good signs.  They also seem flexible about the work arrangement (contract, full-time, telecommute).  The technology stack seems like a reasonable one.

The Bad
It’s an early stage startup.  That could mean long hours and limited pay, not uncommon for a startup environment where they’re banking on the startup success being valuable to all of the participants.  Then again, they seem open to the idea of contract work, which might imply at least reasonable pay.

What’s Missing?
What’s the startup?  What do they do?  What’s their big idea, and  how are they going to get a toe-hold in a $100B industry?  How did they get as far as a plan without having an architect-type-guy in mind?  What are their expectations in terms of compensation — salary, equity, etc for contract or otherwise?  Who’s already on board the startup?  How are they funding this effort, and how long will that funding last?

Not everyone is sold on working for a startup.  It’s a very different vibe from a large or even small-to-medium established company.  There’s usually a lot to do and not very many people to do it, which means wearing a lot of hats, rolling up your sleeves and typically working hard.   

The Location
Well Yonge and College isn’t terribly specific, but it’s not a bad little area.  There’s a food court and grocery store in college park, some decent restaurants on Yonge and over on Church, as well as nestled in the side streets.   It’s pretty accessible by subway.  On the other hand, if you’re driving in or you’re taking the GO train, this might not be your first choice, as it’s a bit of a walk from Union and somewhat painful to reach by city streets.

In Summary
If you’ve got a strong background in Java, architectural experience, and some willingness to either join a startup or do some contract work for one, this could be an interesting opportunity.  You’d need to know more to get really interested, but what’s there seems solid.

IAF Fund Jobs

January 6, 2009

The Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation announced funding [via David Crow] in eight companies so I’ll do the usual and check to see which of these companies are local and looking to hire:

  •  C2CLink does non-linear optical chips out of Hamilton, and, although they seem to have trouble spelling ‘Contact Us’, they encourage resume submission for people with backgrounds in lasers, optical circuits and circuit design.
  • Echologics does leak detection devices out at 401/409/Kipling.  They don’t seem to have a career section, but if you think this is your kind of company, you could try contacting them.
  • IPeak Networks is looking for a Senior Developer (C/C++ Linux/Windows) in Kanata.
  • Kneebone does marketing performance measurement at King and John, and has a ‘Coming Soon’ careers page.
  • Nulogy does supply chain management at Queen and Bathurst for packaging companies in Toronto, and is looking for sales and professional services hires, although they don’t supply much information on what skills they consider important.
  • Regen Energy does wireless controllers to manage peak electrical demand at 401/409/Kipling, and encourages resume submission without talking about specific opportunities.
  • Skymeter does vehicle use information in MaRS (Collage/Unversity), and isn’t looking for anything specific, although they do encourage resume submission (Java, C, C#, GIS, GPS, etc.
  • Sysomos does social media monitoring in Java/Mysql/Lucene with a work-from-home setup, and is looking for web and Java developers.

It’s worth noting that although these companies probably knew about the funding for longer than we have, they may not have finalized their hiring plans, so if you’re looking at one of these companies and you’re excited by what they’re doing but they don’t have a job that you’re interested in, it might be worth following up with them directly.

Devver: Ruby Developer

December 11, 2008

Devver is looking for another developer to add to their team, working on “cloud-based tools for Ruby hackers”:


Devver is building cloud-based tools for Ruby hackers – tools that tell you more about your code and make you more productive. We’re looking for a top-notch Ruby hacker to help us build the next generation of developer tools. 

Devver was funded by TechStars in the summer of 2008. We recently closed a funding round that included a major San Francisco VC firm as well as a group of stellar angels. 

We are looking to add another developer to our team. We’re located in Boulder, CO but are comfortable working with a distributed team. This is a full-time position. 

This job will require you to solve new and interesting problems on a daily basis. You’ll help us do everything from fixing bugs to building features to refining our architecture. 

In return for your hard work, you’ll be rewarded with a significant piece of equity along with a competitive salary. 


The Good
The Cloud is at the very least an interesting technology challenge, and possibly the future of development.  Ruby on is at the very least an interesting languages, and possibly the future of  … ok, well, I wouldn’t go that far, although I know some that would.  😉  They sound like they’re focused on getting stuff done, and doing so in a test-driven, iterative way, which is a great thing if they’re serious about it.  One of their tools sounds like it might be distributed-testing-related, which could be interesting.  Mostly, it just sounds like an interesting and funded startup doing interesting things.

The Bad
They’re comfortable with a distributed team, but does that include those of us in Toronto, or just a distributed team in the states?  Boulder is, I gather, a nice place to live if you’re not opposed to move in the long term.

What’s Missing
What’s does Devver consider a competitive compensation?  What’s their funding history — how much money do they have, and what’s the burn rate and revenue?  Is the team already distributed, and if so, how do they manage the distributed work?  What’s the size and composition of the team?  What other tools are they considering building?  What’s the ‘cloud’ they’re using?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to remote work.  I know it’s not my first choice, but for the right company I’d be willing to try and make it work.   Your mileage might also vary when it comes to Ruby, but if that’s true, you probably don’t want this job.

In Summary
If you’re looking for a role in an interesting Ruby startup, and you’re willing to convince Devver that you’re worth the hassle of working with a Torontonian, could be just the thing for you.

Unspecified: Lead Technical Architect

October 23, 2008

The Laudi Group and Red Canary are helping an unspecified startup look for a Lead Technical Architect:

Armed with your understanding of how layers of technology, infrastructure and usability underpin a successful web app, you’ll plan and build the company’s flagship product.

While you’ll be an architect first and coder second, this is very much “roll-up-your-sleeves” work. You’ll select base technologies that will scaffold the most robust and scalable application/platform possible, integrating APIs, relational databases, cross-browser development, and more in your long-term plan.

Enjoying both salary and options, the small team you’ll join is lead by two successful entrepreneurs – both with expertise running and selling venture-funded companies.

They are looking for you to put your signature on a yet-formless application and platform. You’ll contribute not only your technical expertise, but lend business wisdom and insight – as well as the ability to fight in the trenches and build a polished product.

Although I haven’t received any official information about the company’s name, the information that I have received implies that this is a startup we’ve listed a job for before, but not for this role.  I won’t clarify further, since the information I’ve received may be considered confidential.

The Good
This is a pretty senior role, and it sounds like an opportunity to make your mark with a startup.  The startup also sounds like it’s at least moderately well-funded.  If this is the company that I believe it is, they’ve recently received a multi-million dollar investment that should last a little bit.  The technology stack sounds pretty wide-open.  If it’s true that it’s founded by serial entrepreneurs with a clear track record, that could be positive.

The Bad
If this is the company that I think it is, they had a senior technical guy on staff who was eventually titled CTO.  Is he still there?  If so, can’t he fill this role?  If he isn’t , why isn’t he? 

What’s Missing?
Most of the specifics.  What’s the company?  Where are they located?  What’s the compensation like, and does it include benefits?   Is there a team of people you’d be working with on the implementation?  What’s the size and composition of that team?  What is your relationship with said team?  What would you be building?  What’s the profit model?

Not everyone wants to work for a startup.  Compensation tends to be lower, with some kind of salary-equity tradeoff, although this isn’t always true in funded startups.   Not everyone has and/or wants to apply this kind of cross-technology skillset.  And if this is the company that I think it is, not everyone will be excited by their business model.

In Summary
If being a lead technical architect for a startup sounds like your idea of fun, then it’s probably worth talking to these people in more detail to get the information you’re missing.

Unspecified: Java / Web Developer

October 20, 2008

An unspecified but self-lableled ‘ambitious startup company’ is looking for a Java / Web Developer:

– The opportunity to take part in implementation of the next gen, specialized Internet portal
– You will be able to use your talents in an agile, creative, yet well managed environment 
– See your contribution playing an important role in the project success 
– Be a member of the team of bright individuals who enjoy working together 
– A competitive compensation for your hard work 

The Good
The technology mix looks reasonable.  Spring and Hibernate are pretty standard these days.  Acegi’s not horrible.  Using Flex in front of Java is becoming a fairly common approach, so it’s a good skillset mix to have.  And if this will be using Amazon EC2, the cloud computing space is another emerging technology that might be good to learn.  Automated testing and automated builds are both good signs.

I’m not certain why Struts2 & JSF get mentioned along with Flex/Flash – seems unlikely that they would be building out two interface technologies, although perhaps it’s a question of not knowing which.  

There’s very little reference to process, but they’re clearly presenting the vibe of a “getting the job done” focus rather than a very process-and-procedures vibe.

The Bad
Information gaps: Who’s the company?  What are they working on?  How are they funded, and how long will that last?  What’s the compensation like?  Who would you be working with?  What would you be doing?  How is the team organized?  What’s the location?

My first instinct when someone uses the word “web” in front of “developer” is that they don’t expect to pay all that well, but the rest of the post sounds like someone looking for someone who’s pretty capable.  But then again, it’s a startup, so if compensation is important to you, that’s something you’d want to inquire about.

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working anywhere that describes themselves as a startup.

In Summary
If you’ve got a Java background and the above sounds interesting might be worth trying to find out who this company is and what you’d be working on.