Looking for Work

I’ve really enjoyed the past year or so of “sabbatical”, learning new skills, doing some hobby projects, and spending more time with my kids, but it’s time to look for a proper job again. I suspect I’ll do some freelancing for a while until I find something suitable.

I’m hoping to find something still in the Linux and open source world, maybe moving into Android, and maybe with some management. I enjoyed running Openismus├é┬áso I hope I can continue doing something similar: managing multiple small teams of highly skilled software developers who work with open source code and collaborative open source methods, while still doing some software development myself. I’d like to continue working with people with such high standards.

I don’t expect this to be easy because:

  • I want to stay in Munich.
  • I’d really like part time or flexible (start early, leave early) hours so I can spend some of the afternoon with my kids.
  • Running Openismus gave me project management experience, but I’m not sure it’s given me enough to call myself a manager rather than a programmer, and I don’t want to stop being a programmer.
  • GTK+ (and gtkmm) experience is apparently no longer such a popular niche. Qt still is but I’m less enthusiastic about it.
  • C++ is still broadly popular, but I’d like to stay away from MS Windows development.
  • I’ve really enjoyed doing Java Android development recently, but I hesitate to call myself an expert Java developer, compared to my C++ skills. Then again, if most Java developers are as bad as most C++ developers, then I must be better than most.
  • Although I’m learning some Algorithm analysis theory at the moment for fun, it doesn’t greatly interest me and I’ve never needed it over the last 20 years. But it seems to have become a popular interview filter.
  • I’m still not a Kernel developer and I still don’t really want to be. I like creating libraries, tools, and user experiences.

Here’s my CV if you think I can be useful.

9 thoughts on “Looking for Work

  1. Have you looked at Google? We have an office in Munich working on a variety of interesting things, often involving some combination of C++, open source and tools. It’s a Big Company, but I’ve been enjoying it more than I expected.

    1. Thanks. I’d love to be at Google – everything I hear from friends tells me that it’s a chance to do productive work. But sadly I don’t think I can get through the algorithms part of the interview process. That’s just not what I generally do.

      My complete inability with the “choose an algorithm to sort a million 32bit numbers” question is what made me get the undergraduate text book that I’m going through now. I used to get a lot of emails from Google recruiters, but not since I made a mess of that (and some other simple stuff) from an initial call with a Google recruiter, though I’d hoped just to find out about the interview process. In retrospect I should have done the studying before beginning the conversation.

      But even if I had the perfect Googly computer science education, I would still think that it’s the more down-to-earth day to day stuff that we need to get right to fix most of the problems that keep being repeated by software development teams.

      1. I can’t tell you how much I love your comments and thoughts on this. =:)

        I’ve been an Open Source developer for more than 20 years. I was a Math major in college and was never able to graduate, due to marrying and having to support my family. I’ve only ever had one Comp/Sci class: Beginning Programming in Pascal. >_< I've been programming for a variety of Fortune 500 companies as my only source of income for more than 17 years.

        Yet I cannot get past the first couple of interviews with the likes of Apple or Google (not to single them out, but I'm guessing it will be like this with any big tech company these days?). I've even gone so far as to spend time explaining my history and lack of any formal Comp/Sci training and also my very successful work/FOSS history with interviewers and yet they dive right into the algorithmic questions all the same. And when I do as badly as I told them I was going to do, I'm told "here, here's a bunch of material you can review, so you can interview well!"

        And that really irks me.

        Because it's exactly as you say it. In the real world, we have languages and libraries and APIs that do this for us. Granted, as professional developers, we need to understand them enough to know which to use and when. But to expect someone who either never took Comp/Sci classes at all or has been out of college for 20 years (or both) to know this stuff is ridiculous.

        And yes, I suppose I could try to allocate a lot of spare time over the next year and try to learn this stuff so I can do well on interviews. And then what? I don't want a job where I actually have to know this stuff to that level of detail. I like working higher up. So I invest a lot of time that I don't have so I can do well in interviews… and then not use that knowledge for the next 5+ years… and then have to repeat it all over again? Also, at this point my life, spare time is something I have very little of.

        Anyway, I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your comments on this because they echo my own sentiments really well and I don't often hear another developer I respect voicing them. =:)

        1. Thanks.

          What I don’t understand is that when I last found myself working in the real world with people who had graduated from computer science courses, they didn’t understand how to use pointers. Only the people I meet in the open source world seem to have actually learned anything.

          1. Pointers – you really need a fair bit of practical experience to able to work effectively with them, IMHO. You won’t get that from most comp. sci. educations.

            Almost all computer science courses are on theoretical stuff – how do common algorithms work, how do you design compilers or databases, how do you analyze algorithms/programs, how do you make software capable of learning, etc. Basically it’ll teach you how some really, really hard problems are solved.

            Most people will probably face not even just one of these hard problems. But that’s what’s in the education. So I think most comp. sci. graduates have learned tons of stuff, most of it is just not very practical.

            Anyway, thought I’d mention that in case you’d like to be self-employed again but need to find another niche, I can recommend picking up Django + Javascript (e.g. jQuery). Lots of companies have their own systems and most of those are migrating towards something web-based.

  2. Not sure if VMware is hiring Linux UI developers right now, but I believe we (Linux Workstation, Linux Player, etc.) are one of the biggest active consumers of gtkmm in the world. I’m not a recruiter, but I’ve worked on the Hosted UI team at VMware for the last 8 years. Might be worth it to look at VMware’s job openings or whatever. Let me know if you’re interested or would like more info. VMware is also a Big Company, but we have a LOT of Linux development work going on still, have some of the brightest people in the world, have an amazing company culture, and I still love working there after 8 years. HTH! =:)

    1. Thanks. Yes, I’m sure VMWare would be a wonderful home. However, I’m fairly sure that they don’t allow remote work, but do let me know if you hear otherwise. They do seem to have an office here in Munich dealing with their Airwatch product.

      1. Actually, they do allow remote work. I’ve been working for VMware for 8 years now and it’s been 100% work from home. I was actually one of the first developers we had to do this, but now we have lots of developers working remotely. There are at least 3 other people on my small Hosted UI (VMware Workstation/Player/Fusion/VMRC) team that works remotely, and I know of more than 10 other remote developers just off the top of my head. =:)

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