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> Job advice please!
CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jan 24 2012, 09:08 PM
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Hi. I suck at making decisions and want some advice.

*edit* Whoops, this is a personal concern isn't it? Can a mod move it?

I've been in my current job (software development) for 2 years and don't know what to do next.

I mostly like my job, but I work with really awful code using really awful tools and the way products are managed within the company is terrible. There is one application in particular I'm responsible for that is a maintenance nightmare, and it's basically impossible to guarantee the kind of quality customers expect, due to how it's been developed in the past, and how the company continues to operate. This makes me sad.

Today I was told that if I was interested in becoming a technical lead, there may be room for me to take over managing this software. I basically said no, but that I would think about it. I said that the responsibilities of the role weren't very well defined, and my impression from what the current guy does is not good (lots of external pressure to get things done on unreasonable time scales, then dealing with the fallout when things inevitably break). The idea of leading a team doesn't bother me so much as all the BS from other teams/customers I'd have to deal with. So I don't really want to do it, but I can't tell if I'm really blowing things out of proportion because people stuff scares me. I feel like I'm just not assertive or patient enough to deal with that kind of thing and it would all go horribly wrong.

I've also been thinking about jumping ship entirely and finding something that's more interesting technically and has a more reasonable working environment. I want to work uninterrupted on a single project at a time, instead of juggling lots of little things. I like being involved in design decisions as well as programming, and I really like reviewing stuff and collaborating on things. What is my ideal job? Am I being too unrealistic?

How do I even look for a job that is worth applying to? I've looked at some job sites a bit but all the ads by agencies convey so little useful information about what the job involves. The whole idea of job hunting is so unpleasant that I've just been putting it off for ages. I'm comfortable in my current role but I don't see much opportunity to learn new things there. It's complicated by the fact that my current job doesn't offer much marketable technical experience, due to us using a stupid scripting language that nobody else uses, so if I went for some generic Java job I would fail all the stupid checklist items they ask for.


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BigMistake
post Jan 24 2012, 09:24 PM
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I'm no expert at any of this so certainly don't take my word for it, but here's my 2 cents:

First of all, I'd decide on my options. Don't (just) check job sites but contact companies that you're interested in working for, check out their websites and see what they offer and require. A lot of companies don't have anything on job sites because they're not actively looking for employees or because they simply don't need them. It also shows that you put in effort and aren't just clicking around on websites seeing if something sounds good. If you have a few offers, you can start to compare.

You're not being unrealistic about your needs, but that would depend on your employer. The role you're describing is something you'd find in smaller companies, or companies so big it's not hard to become a teamleader or the sorts.

Then your current position. People often say that you can have a job you love, or a job that pays well. Is your job one of the two? If not, you could consider getting that promotion, but I'd be really careful. A friend of mine was in a similar position but he managed to get the job on his terms, and more importantly, got everything written down in case of (like you said) "inevitable failure", so his ass wasn't on the line and his employers knew what to expect from him. If you're clear on what you will and will not do and set boundaries, it could work out.

Hope this helps. Good luck dude!
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LoLo
post Jan 25 2012, 08:45 AM
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To be honest I think you should take the promotion. It may be a bit of a pain in the ass or it could be a new and interesting opportunity. Perhaps it just seems like a pain because the person currently doing it isn't equipped to handle the tasks at hand. They obviously see something in you to ask you to do it, so you could at least give it a go. Also since you're saying you want to try and do different things, this gives you that opportunity. The new things may not be exactly as you pictured them, but it is something different and a new skill set to put on your CV. Which points to my last comment, anything supervisory makes you more marketable, so that would also help with the other issue you find with your job. Do the higher up job for a while, gain the experience and probably higher pay, then try and find the more ideal job afterwards.


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Cath Sparrow
post Jan 25 2012, 03:23 PM
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Also if you take the job it put's you in a better position for if you decide to look for another job else where because you'll be applying from a higgher level rather than the level your employed in at the moment.


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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jan 25 2012, 06:13 PM
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Thanks for the replies everyone. Still undecided but you raise some good points.


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snooodlysnoosnoo...
post Jan 25 2012, 06:27 PM
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I have to agree with Lo and Cath, take the promotion!

Considering how poor the job market is right now any extra experience is going to help when you do come to change job. You do need to make sure that you understand exactly what it entails, and ensure that the boundaries are well defined before you sign a contract so they don't try and throw a load of extra work on you and make out like it was part of it all along... especially if they are generally that disorganised to start with!


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Lurker in the Pa...
post Jan 26 2012, 10:32 PM
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I don't want to offer an opinion on whether to take the promotion or not, but I can make some suggestions about what you're look for.

First of all, in your next-to-last para it sounds like you're describing an Agile environment. So start looking for a company that uses an Agile project management system, such as Sprint & Scrum or XP. I've been working in Sprint & Scrum projects for about two years and you get all the stuff you had on your wishlist, plus a certain degree of managing your own workload and input into what you're going to be working on next. So that's a start.

Secondly, regarding what you know, look for the transferable stuff. So do you know about design patterns, the Gang of Four, MVC, working with frameworks, Object Oriented Programming? If not, get reading. If you do, then you're ahead of a lot of people. As far as I'm concerned a design pattern is something you get in a carpet and they still made me a senior.

Finally, on how to look for stuff, do your research on companies you'd like to work for and see what they're doing and might be looking for. I got my current job through an agency but I'm not enamoured of them, they can't follow basic instructions like "Don't phone, email me" and they tend to have pet companies that they send EVERYONE's CV to rather than working out what might be best for you. There are good jobs out there and ones that pay silly money too, I have a friend who's on 50k for doing purely frontend web stuff, HTML, CSS and JS. Plus noone has to know that you're looking around, I've always just presented my boss with a resignation letter and walked out of the door a month later without anyone knowing what's going on. But that may not be the best policy.
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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jan 27 2012, 09:55 AM
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QUOTE (Lurker in the Park @ Jan 26 2012, 10:32 PM) *
Secondly, regarding what you know, look for the transferable stuff. So do you know about design patterns, the Gang of Four, MVC, working with frameworks, Object Oriented Programming? If not, get reading. If you do, then you're ahead of a lot of people. As far as I'm concerned a design pattern is something you get in a carpet and they still made me a senior.
I know about them, but none of them in feature in my current job at all. The language we use is a joke and no sane person would use it for the things we do. Even if there were frameworks available we wouldn't dream of using them when we could write our own inferior copy... dry.gif

I think you may be right about agile, and it gives me something useful to look for when researching companies. I'm more familiar with the "do everything as soon as possible without any planning" management style, which has its limitations...

QUOTE
Considering how poor the job market is right now any extra experience is going to help when you do come to change job. You do need to make sure that you understand exactly what it entails, and ensure that the boundaries are well defined before you sign a contract so they don't try and throw a load of extra work on you and make out like it was part of it all along... especially if they are generally that disorganised to start with!
Is it normal to sign a new contract following a promotion? (I didn't last time). How do you negotiate these things?


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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jan 28 2012, 11:26 AM
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QUOTE (LoLo @ Jan 25 2012, 08:45 AM) *
Perhaps it just seems like a pain because the person currently doing it isn't equipped to handle the tasks at hand.

It's more like the tasks at hand aren't possible for one person to handle. This guy has 10 yrs more experience than me and is prepared to work insane amounts of overtime. I would face the same challenges we have now regardless.


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Lurker in the Pa...
post Jan 28 2012, 04:31 PM
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QUOTE (CrazyFooIAintGettinOnNoPlane @ Jan 27 2012, 09:55 AM) *
Is it normal to sign a new contract following a promotion? (I didn't last time). How do you negotiate these things?

I've only been promoted once, but I did sign a new contract when I was. Regarding the negoitation, it went something along the line of "You're going to have a 2month notice period now, but we're going to pay you this much" "Erm, ok?".

Just out of interest what language do you use?
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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jan 28 2012, 09:43 PM
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Tcl


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Lurker in the Pa...
post Jan 30 2012, 09:16 PM
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Ok, read wikipedia. Ever thought of making a killing in embedded systems?

It's not a C derivative is it...
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CrazyFooIAintGet...
post Jan 31 2012, 08:59 AM
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lol no, it's a scripting language. I did some C in uni but never done any embedded stuff before (except a little arduino program I made for fun).

I think I've decided to look elsewhere rather than go after the tech lead thing (which isn't certain anyway).


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mooooooooooopo
post Jan 31 2012, 05:31 PM
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I'm late to the party but I think that's the right decision. By the sound of it that tech lead role is a good way to burn yourself out.


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