Sunday, April 4, 2010

Time to find a new job.

I have been in my current job for 8 years. I am thinking it may be time to move on.

The problem is that in this job I have slowly been becoming somewhat deskilled, no longer being buzz word compliant. If I were to rely purely on the employment history in my resume, I am not sure how successful I would be at actually finding a decent job. On top of that, the local job market isn't particularly flash as far as interesting roles anyway.

One of the reasons on specualating about changing jobs is that my interests don't actually intersect with what I have been doing in that position. I have hardly even got to do much programming at all in that position for quite a long time. The only way I have managed to keep myself challenged is through the work I do on Open Source projects in my own time.

If you talk to local head hunters in my area though, some are quite adverse to Open Source. I have even had one bluntly say to me that I should stop doing all Open Source work as it will get me no where. I sort of got the impression that he felt that when working for a company that everything you do should belong to them and that if you work on Open Source in your spare time that you must be stealing from the company.

You also get head hunters and/or companies that seem to put more emphasis on your ability to answer a mini exam on basic programming or system factoids commensurate with you having just left university. That you may have been working for a long time and have a diverse experience with working on many systems and integrating them together, especially Open Source software, and can show signficant activity as a developer or contributor of respected Open Source projects seems to mean nothing.

Anyway, you can see I have a rather dim view of head hunters. Because of this and because my current contract doesn't end until October (although can leave earlier) I think I might like to try an experiment. Rather than see what I can do through the local head hunters, I would like to see what others out there who know me and what I do in the Open Source community have to directly offer me or can point me to that may be of interest.

Obviously if it is in the area that my own Open Source projects relate to, ie., Apache module development, Python web development and web hosting, then all the better. Just be aware that my focus has very much been on the issues around hosting. This means I am not an expert on specific Python web frameworks such as Django, Pylons or TurboGears, although obviously I would have no problems learning what I need to know.

At the same time though, a job in a hosting company simply maintaining existing web hosting infrastructure will likely not be of interest. Instead my preference is probably for working on development of new or better ways to support web hosting, in particular for Python. If the company is a big user of Open Source and contributes back to the Open Source community rather than keeping everything proprietary, then would be a bonus.

What are the restrictions? Well, I cant relocate from where I am in Sydney, Australia. So, would have to be a company with a local presence. Alternatively, company would need to be able to cope with remote teleworking such that I could work from my home. I accept that if working remotely that trips to company offices may be needed occassionally, although the USA is quite a hike from here for me, Asia not so much and Europe may as well be on a different planet.

So, what job opportunities do you know of out there in your own companies that you think I might be interested in?

As I said, my resume probably doesn't say much. Thus am relying on my reputation from developing my own Open Source projects OSE and mod_wsgi and my involvement in mod_python as well as contributions to other Open Source projects over the years. Providing some recognition of my contributions to the Open Source community is the fact that I am a member of both the Apache Software Foundation and Python Software Foundation, membership of both being by nomination only by existing members.

If you need to ask for my resume, then it sort of defeats the purpose of my experiment and so likely wouldn't be interested if that is all the company is going to rely upon. Also don't submit me as referral into any companies recruiting programs. The last thing I want to deal with is some faceless people who want to herd me through some never ending recruitment interview process. If you are going to approach me, then I want to know about the actual projects you have which I might work on if working at the company. Am not interested in just the prospect of being able to work for some well known company without even knowing what I would be doing. Obviously, any head hunters themselves also need not apply.

Let us see how this works out. If no bites, then I guess I will just have to see what the local head hunters do have to offer. That or just stick it out where I am working now. :-)


vernomcrp said...

i think this is time to build startup company, too, right!:)

Unknown said...

Well the no resume thing is kind of a hindrance. Just because someone in the community can recommend you based on your OSS activity, doesn't mean out bosses or HR people will skip a resume to look over.

I'd really suggest posting one as well and use this experiment as more of a test of "can my OSS activity get me a foot in the door" not "can my OSS activity get me a job on it's own"

I know my latest job came about from my own outside of work programming activity, hosting weekly coding/hacking time at a semi-local coffeeshop. I still had to go through the interview process and such though.

Good luck!

Martin Aspeli said...

If you want to work with open source, Python and deployment, there's good money to be made working with Plone. There are a couple of Plone companies in NSW. I suspect your expertise in deployment would be really valuable and your experience in general very welcome in the Plone community. There's a sprint happening next month to try to improve the Zope 2 WSGI story. mod_wsgi deployment is one of the big reasons for focusing on this.

fumanchu said...

Check your inbox ;)

Paddy3118 said...

Hi Graham,
From your post, it seems you need an injection of confidence.

Maybe go read old stack-overflow or comp.lang.python posts to remind yourself of just what it is you *do* know don't listen too much to those that say that open-source work is a negative - some of the best/largest software companies find it easy to trawl your OS activities to find concrete evidence of how you have worked in the past.

If you are thinking of doing it, then know your worth and push it!!

All the best, Paddy.

Wes Winham said...

Sometimes open source work can leverage itself directly in to a great position. VMWare hiring the main Redis developer to work on Redis full time is the most recent example I can think of:

Perhaps it would be worth trying to get in touch with some of the companies who do python web development or hosting. Google and Rackspace jump out at me right away as companies with some open source cred who could benefit from an expert in python hosting. Hopefully there are people from companies like that who read your blog.

Of course, it might be worth putting together a resume anyway, but I wouldn't be afraid of filling it up mostly with open source experience and skills if you think that's more relevant to what you'd like to do. Good luck, either way. It's obvious to me from your work on mod_wsgi that you have a lot to offer a company with an interest in python-web hosting.

Greg Whitescarver said...

Apparently I've had better luck finding cool recruiters than you have. Never have I been told to get away from open source, ever. I've also had interviewers ask me on many occasions what I've contributed to open source projects (the answer unfortunately is "not much"), making it clear to me that many employers value that quite a bit.

It's too bad you're not interested in relocating, because I know plenty of companies that would love to talk to you in California and New York.

Best of luck! Starting something new is so much fun.

Unknown said...

Hi Graham,

I happen to run a Sydney company that profits from and contributes to open-source Python, and we are on the lookout for compatible people, particularly with hosting/deployment expertise (but that's a relatively small part of what we do). One of our team mentioned a few weeks ago that we should ping you, and now seems to be the ideal opportunity!

Anyway, I'm not sure how to get in touch directly, so maybe give me an email - (I laugh in the face of spam harvesters!).

We're having a party tomorrow, you'd be welcome to rock up and say hi!