FreshBooks: Software Developer

July 22, 2008

FreshBooks is looking for a Software Developer.  Normally, I’d segueway right into a description of the job here, but there’s a pleasing backstory here that’ll set up the rest of this post.  A few months ago, I wrote about the job of Agile Web Development Manager for FreshBooks, and Corey Reid saw that posting, responded, and got the job, which he seems to be enjoying.

Now that he/they are looking to grow the team by adding a Software Developer, he’s come full circle by letting me know there’s another job at FreshBooks open, if I’m interested in posting about it.  And, indeed, I am.  Partly because of the backstory: A toronto technology jobs reader gets one of the posted jobs, then comes back to suggest new postings for the new company.  But also, because I’m impressed by FreshBooks.

Here’s what they’re looking for:

We need fresh-thinking, disciplined developers who don’t sneer at scripting languages but also know their enterprise-level design. In return, we supply a stable, creative environment (want a Mac? got Ubuntu? No problem!) with a competitive compensation package, and the sort of collaboration that comes out of just wanting to get things done, not from the latest IEEE-mandated “best practice”.

[D]esigning and developing our popular online application and the tools we use to run our business behind the scenes — you should be able to figure out what that entails. You’ll learn hands-on about our industry and our customers, and you’ll be figuring out how to make them happy, and then going ahead and doing it.

  • 3 years’ experience building online applications
  • 2-3 years experience with object-oriented development
  • Serious SQL chops
  • Communication skills like whoa (you better be able to talk to customers on the phone (yes, we talk to our customers on the phone))

FreshBooks describes themselves this way:

Love the fast-paced and creative environment of a start-up, but could do without the stress and chaos?  FreshBooks has been around for more than five years now and has a fanatical fan base of over 400,000 people who use our groundbreaking Web 2.0 application.

Personally, I’ve used FreshBooks’ product, found it easy to use and more than capable for the simple tasks I threw at it.  I think they’ve done an excellent job getting potential customers in the door through the freemiuim model, and then potentially getting revenue as their little fish grow in the way they use the product.  I’m inclined to believe that if FreshBooks keeps at it, they’re almost certainly going places (although perhaps they’re already “getting places”, I can’t say.

The Good
First and foremost, I think FreshBooks is an interesting company that stands a reasonable chance at success.  And, although I’ve only had a few conversations with him, Corey Reid seems like a nice enough guy, with a sense of humor, but also an earnestness about making a difference.

Secondly, because their application is public and easy to access, you can try the thing out before you apply for the job.  That’s rare, in Toronto.  Using it and building it are different, but it’s nice to get some sense of what you might be working on.

The Bad
Well, it’s a startup, so even with reasonable funding, there’s a question as to the compensation.  Although “competitive compensation package” implies it might not be awful, that also doesn’t mean it’s good.  They’re not looking for tons of experience, so that might be another cue with respect to the salary.  You’ll have to talk to them to sort this out.

And, despite some gentle prodding from me, there are still things I don’t know about the job, some of which might matter to you.  For instance, there’s limited references to specific technology.  Last I heard, this was a PHP shop, but there have been occasional Ruby references, so it’s hard to feel like I’ve got a concrete story to tell you in that regard.  The role, company and work seem to get reasonable descriptions.

The location‘s probably good for some, bad for others.  At roughly Glencairn and Dufferin, I’m inclined to say that it’s not ideal for a TTC commute.  If you’re not already midtown, uptown, or in the burbs, that location’s probably both inconvenient and lacking in the little touches that a great neighbourhood can offer.  That said, if you’re vehicle-commuting, or not too far away from that location already, it might be a good fit.  Besides, in your lunch hours, you can do some shopping for design stuff on Castlefield and deals up on Cartwright and Orfus.

Working in a startup’s not for everyone.  If you’re hoping for the kind of environment where you can spend a week surfing Slashdot before someone notices you’re done the last thing they asked you to do, you want to work for a bank, not FreshBooks.  I’m not going to go on and on about the differences between a startup job and an enterprise job, but they exist, and there are both good and bad sides to the coin.

In Summary
If this sounds good to you, and the location works, then I’d be happy to recommend you drop them a line.  I’ll let Cory Reid know when this post comes up, so if you have questions you want to fire off here, feel free to post a comment, and I’ll see if I can get him to respond.


TD Bank: AVP, Software Engineering

June 29, 2008

TD Bank Financial Group is looking for an AVP,  Software Engineering:

Reporting to the VP, Engineering the successful candidate will oversee an annual plan of approximately $50mm and a team of 143 FTEs spread across five campuses: Scarborough, Mississauga, London, Toronto and Lewiston, Maine.

The role is accountable for leading the teams in Security, Directory, Software Engineering and Database and ensures this North American team is aligned with ITS strategic initiatives.

The Good
TD Bank is a big, well-known financial institution.  Assistant Vice-President for a bank is a pretty senior role, and the size of the budget and team is significant.

The Bad
The usual dearth of information.  What’s the compensation like for an AVP at TD Bank?  Is the location the TD HQ downtown, or something else?  What are the travel expectations, given the distributed team?

Your mileage may vary when it comes to working in a financial institution, even in Canada, in the wake of sub-prime.  It’s also likely to be a very corporate environment.

There isn’t going to be very much actual technology.  At this level, you’re mostly about managing people and contracts and budgets, and not so much about the technology.  Sure, it’s important to have some understanding about the technology that you can get a sense of strategic direction and do an effective job of managing the people who’re going to have to work more closely with the technology, but you’re not that likely to fire up an IDE, even to review someone else’s code.

But then, if you were looking for that sort of thing, you probably stopped reading after “TD Bank: AVP,” because what else would you expect?

In Conclusion
To be honest, anyone who thinks they have have a shot at the job and is at all interested should probably look into it in more detail.  Positions this senior at this big a company don’t come around every hour, so it’s worth a quick look to see if there’s a fit.

World Vision: Director of Support and Infrastructure

April 29, 2008

World Vision is looking for a Director of Support and Infrastructure:

  • Define the enterprise technology architecture and strategies, and set all associated policies, standards, and guidelines.
  • Define technical evaluation criteria and participate in product selection for technology architecture domains.
  • Ensure that proposed architectures are sound and aligned with corporate assets and competencies and provide guidance to ensure proper technical partner / vendor selections.
  • Identify and understand trends in the IT landscape.

The Good
It’s a senior role for an organization focused on the protection of children, which most people would agree is a pretty noble goal.

The Bad
They’re large enough to think that PMP certification and ITIL are useful approaches in the management of IT, which may not be to everyone’s taste.

There’s not a ton of information on the work, process and technology. I’m guessing about the location for the job, and I’ll put in a similar guess for compensation: not exceptionally high. Honestly, if money is a key factor, I’m guessing that World Vision can’t compete, and to a certain extent, may not want to. That said, if this opportunity excites you, I suspect you’re better off talking to them than making assumptions.

The location is out by 410/403 and the 401. That’s probably best for those of you in the West, or possibly the North, and certainly for those of you already highway-commuting.

Some of you are probably thinking that PMP and ITIL are good signs, I’m just not necessarily in agreement.

They’re self-identified as a Christian organization. Not everyone has a Christian background, and/or would be comfortable working for an organization that does. That said, I know someone who’s worked with them directly, and who would be happy to say that they’re a nice bunch of people, as you might expect.

In Summary
Seems tailor-made for a highway commuter (or someone already in the Northwest) looking to improve the world, rather than bring home the bacon, and willing to do so within a Christian organization.

ATC-Onlane – Senior Software Developer

February 26, 2008

ATC-Onlane has been looking for a senior software developer for a few months now.  They claim to be late-stage Pre-IPO, which could be a good time to ‘get on board’:

With more than a 50% growth rate this year (to over 350 employees), we are currently looking for new, talented team members to grow with the company. This is a great time to join ATC-Onlane because we are experiencing such growth and plan to go public this year.

Ultimately, though, those kinds of potential benefits are secondary, to me — good straightforward compensation and a good fit jobwise are more important — if you can get some kind of IPO payout, that’s a nice perk.  That said, the rest of their job description sounds interesting in its own right (agile: +1.  struts: -1)

J2ME Developer

February 17, 2008

It’s nice to see some mobile software development in Toronto occasionally, such as this J2ME development position, looking for some of these qualifications:

  • WAP, J2ME, J2EE, Brew
  • Solaris, Linux
  • Weblogic
  • GPRS, Edge, EVDO

There’s very little information about th company/proect, but the mobile side is interesting.

I think the mobile industry would get a huge shot in the arm if they stopped trying to control everything.  I hope iPhone and Android shake things up a little.