Monday, February 23, 2009

Switching Gears and Software Jobs

Today, for personal enjoyment and with complete disregard for my masses of forgiving readers, I'm going to complain.

There is a lot of ignorance in the world when it comes to computers, the power of people to learn and what it means to be a software engineer.

When I was younger I applied for a job at a game company in Dallas (Ensemble Studios). I didn't beg for a job. I have kind of always dreamed of getting into a position where I could design games for a living, but I didn't let that into my application. I knew I could do it. I just felt sorry for them trying to get started and hiring the right people so I thought I'd send them a little note letting them know that I'd be happy to take a job over there and use my expert skills to catapult them to greatness. They responded back that I was lacking "game" experience, but if I could send them some demonstration of my work, they'd be glad to evaluate my qualifications. Their loss.

A couple of years ago Amazon flew me to Seattle to interview for their "Distributed Systems" department. Amazon apparently cruises for applications and calls the ones that look good. They called me three times and were impressed enough with my knowledge that they flew me out there for an interview and to tour the facilities. They've gotten a customer out of it. I was impressed with them. I came back home and immediately opened up an account with Even though I wasn't qualified for the position they had in mind they still took a chance with me. They flew me up there and I talked to them for about 6 hours. They said that I was one of the best interviews they had to turn down. Not in exactly those words, but close. I figure they had already made up their mind on someone else when I interviewed. Either that or I asked for too much money.

Last year I applied for a CTO job at Travelocity. That's out of my league experience wise, but I knew I could do it. I have no lack of confidence when it comes to technology jobs at software companies. Anything I've done in software has turned to gold. I feel sorry for these companies that peruse someone's application looking for a particular skill.

If you are lazy, you can skip that introduction and just start here!

The software guys that are good can do anything and learn anything and become experts in some stuff so fast that after one week you'll think they've been doing it all their lives. That's the kind of computer intuition I've been blessed with.

I can go sit down in front of a terminal with a book and 8 hours and start making whatever is controlling the terminal sing. Unfortunately, companies don't ever advertise for this. Today I was looking at a job and they said, "Experience with Postgres required". It was a project management position. So, I didn't apply. Their loss.

If companies want to hire good software/computer folks, then they have to change the way they write job postings and/or they have to change the way they interview. Once, about 10 years ago, I fudged my application a little because the company I was applying for "required ORB experience". I knew what ORB was an acronym for, but that was about it. They called me in for an interview. The first guy I talked to was just another nerd like me so I got him to open up to me about how they used ORBs in their development. By the time I got to the manager who had to make the hiring decisions I fed him full of good ORB knowledge based on the first nerd. They made me an offer.

I guess I'll have to go into business for myself.


  1. Where does one apply for a job at this business you are starting. I'm certain I'm totally over qualified for whatever it is.

  2. You are already hired. I'll give you the position of "Chief Investor". I need some money to get going. Let me know when you are ready to start.