Tag Archives: career

May these tidbits be helpful if you’re contemplating a job search in the tech market.

The search

Like last time, I wanted to stay in Seattle but considered as far north as Vancouver, B.C. and south as Portland. I wanted to work in the Python ecosystem and in open-source, in a technical or managerial position.

I think I’m more discriminating (read: picky) than the average job seeker. My technology preferences eliminated almost all of Microsoft, and every company using .NET. In Seattle, that’s a lot.

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I contacted six recruiters in my recent job search.

Four of them disappeared after only a couple of days. As a friend likes to say, “For most of them, we’re just baubles. They forget about us once the shiny wears off.”

Two recruiters were head-and-shoulders above the rest. They got me into great interviews, stuck with me for the entire search, and were especially supportive during unfruitful periods. I highly recommend them for Seattle tech job seekers.

Matt Chung, of West500 Partners. He was great in my 2014 job search, too. He got me one interview I was very keen on.

Ray Zambroski of Rooster Park. Ray lives in California but is in-the-know about the local tech economy. He got me two great interviews.

(One and two interviews don’t sound like much, but the savvy job seeker values quality over quantity. These prospective employers were spot on and the positions were beautiful. More on this in another blog post.)

I’ve resigned from Solinea. The Christmas company holidays made this a little awkward… My last day is Monday the 28th, but we have the previous Thursday and Friday off.  Not sure how much I’ll get done on that last isolated day.

I worked on Goldstone, which is an über monitoring and configuration platform (i.e., it does lots of stuff out of the box, and you can install extensions) for OpenStack . And maybe other things, eventually.  The technical work has been challenging, and the Solinea folks are all very knowledgable about OpenStack, and deployment technologies such as Docker.

Notwithstanding that, the company direction isn’t what I bargained for when I signed on. So I’m moving on to something else, which I’ll write about in a few weeks.

In a comment on my Thoughts on DEC post, Tom Miller offered a rat’s ass if I scanned in my VAX 8600 (Venus) Ibox microcode listing.

Well, here’s Venus Ibox microcode v3.73, generated on 7-May-1984. Tom, you owe me one rat’s patootie.

This ran on Venus through the end of 1984. I had transferred to Alan Kotok‘s Simplified Architecture for Fast Execution (SAFE) project, where I was looking into VAX-11 emulation. Large VAX Engineering’s senior management called an “all hands on deck” emergency, and everyone needed do whatever they could to help Venus ship on time.  So, I informally returned to work on Venus and ran one of the lab debug shifts. It was equally exhilarating and stressful… An, “I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything in the world,” and, “I hope I never go through something like that again,” experience.

This version ran VMS and oodles of VAX programs.  I don’t know if there was a later version; if so, I never heard about it.

BTW, here’s a nice paper about why DEC went down the tubes.

I’m off this week, and while loafing around the house I took an hour or so to search the web about Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a former employer. That was a mistake, because it got me thinking about my past. This was fun for a while, and then it got sobering.

I worked for DEC from February 1978 until August 1996. During the glory years (before 1986) it was an adventure. We were on a world-changing mission. The code I wrote would live on and the work I did was so cool. Working for DEC was like working for Microsoft in the ’90s or ’00s, except that nobody hated your company. It was like working for Google except that nobody thought you were evil. It was like working for Amazon but pretty much everyone loved working there and it seemed like the world rooted for you to succeed. Most of all, everything we did clicked. There were some bad decisions, but the company always recovered and went on to greater glory.

I wrote CPU microcode for the VAX-11/750 and VAX 8600, worked on some cancelled projects that nobody will ever know about (ECL microprocessors, large ECL mainframes, a new RISC architecture), and my last project was working on Windows NT at DECwest.  In its day the VAX 8600 micropipeline was the coolest thing since sliced bread. How many people today know or care about it? Zip.

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I started my search for a new job on September 29 2014, when my employer (IP Street) implemented some organizational changes, and I concluded it was time for me to move on. I accepted an offer on December 22. My search took 12 weeks.

My parameters, and some unease, at the outset

I was still gainfully employed, which helps when you’re job hunting. The changes that were the proximate cause of my leaving would be implemented in the November — January timeframe, so I wasn’t worried about future unemployment. For IP Street, this was as good a time as any to leave: The product was stable, there wasn’t a big product initiative in progress, and the impending business changes would cause a blip in the company’s pace anyway.

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I talked to a few recruiters in my recently concluded job search. Two of them stood out from the pack…

Kathi Jones, founder of 3DegreesTalent, spent a lot of time working an opening, even after it became clear that the company might not pay her a commission.

I contacted Matt Chung, of West500 Partners, late in my search, when I already had companies in play. He gave me great résumé advice, and displayed a personal touch that is unfortunately less common today.

There are many other fine recruiters in the Seattle area. These two went the extra mile.


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