My New Job (Title)

It has been quite a long time since I last posted anything to my blog. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it or that I haven’t had time (though life has been busy). I’ve struggled topically with what to write.

This blog was started with the intent that I would share things about my work: creating software. But, over the last year my job has been in a fairly constant state of flux with my responsibilities shifting radically from what I was doing previously.

I love being a software developer. I love the problem solving that the work entails. I love being in “the zone” while writing code. I love creating something that others find useful and I like to think that I am fairly good at it. Wishful thinking? Perhaps. But, at least one other person has thought me passable, so I choose to believe. 🙂

At present my job title is VP of Software Architecture. In my new responsibilities I still get to solve incredibly complex problems and derive a lot of satisfaction from it. In many ways the things I work on now are more intricate and stimulating than what I did previously. The only downside is that I rarely get to ride “the zone” via coding anymore.

Two years ago, if someone had described my current job to me and asked if I wanted the position, I would have turned them down outright. I derive so much pleasure and satisfaction from writing code that I could not have imagined wanting something else. I was firm (and vocal) in my commitment to avoiding “the management track.” How then did I end up here?

I joined Mobile Productivity, Inc. (MPI) in January 2004. The people were great and the work was both challenging and interesting. But, after a few years I started to grow bored. Nothing had really changed, except that I wasn’t creating new software anymore. I was responsible for a significant portion of our flagship product, ARGIS (since rebranded MPI Edge), but I had rewritten most of the code several times and just wasn’t being stimulated the way I once was. I decided to leave MPI to go work for another startup named Podango.

Podango was a good company in many respects, but like many startups it wasn’t able to thrive and closed at the end of 2008. Friends at MPI heard that I was in the job market and offered me a position. I was a bit hesitant, but a lot of new things were happening and I felt good about returning.

Internally at SRS, this period of my career is jokingly referred to as my “sabbatical.”

Somewhere in all of this, MPI acquired several companies and was renamed Service Repair Solutions (SRS). We’ve grown from 25 people in a single office to just under 600 total (including offshore teams). The Engineering department alone has over 200 people spread across offices in Utah, Minnesota, Uruguay, Vietnam, Las Vegas and Russia.

I’m not worried about growing bored again any time soon. My job is awesome!

My Development Environment

Last month I found something new on Facebook, it’s called Puzzle Master. I don’t know for certain, but Puzzle Master seems to be run by Facebook (the corporation) as a way to find new development talent.

When I first discovered Puzzle Master the running contest was:

To enter the contest, upload to our fan photo album, a screenshot of your desktop and development environment (including as many editors and tools as you can, and your desktop wallpaper) along with a short essay of 250 words or less explaining why and how you use it.

I don’t generally participate in this type of contest but I always find it interesting to see how other developers work. There were some cool prizes available and not many entrants so I decided to upload a screenshot of my desktop.

I was disappointed because the picture was scaled down so much that the apps were indistinguishable. So, I decided that it might be fun to do a few posts on my development environments.

First up… my physical setup!

My Desk
The picture is a link to flickr where I’ve attached some notes to the image.

  • MacPro (2 x 2.66GHz Dual-core Xeon) with 8 GB and ~2.5 TB
  • Two 24″ Dell monitors, both at 1920×1200
  • Mac OS X 10.5
  • VMWare Fusion running XP SP3

This is my home office but my work setup is similar. At work my MacPro is 2 x 2.8 GHz Quad-core. It has 12 GB memory and a single 500 GB disk. Maybe I’ll try to update this post later with a picture of my desk at work.

Here’s my desk at work!

My Desk at Work