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Monthly Archives: January 2007

I started a new job today as a .NET developer. And boy was it a learning curve. For the past 7 months I’ve been used to writing spaghetti code, duplicate code all over the place, tightly coupling all tiers to one another. And I got used to this; accepted this.

Things are different at my new place of work. Everything is an object. I have missed nice object-oriented code. But for sure, I am out of practice.

Today has been one hell of a learning curve and I expect this to carry on for the next few months. There’s so much I don’t know. On top of learning Microsoft tools (Visual Studio 2005, MS SQL 2000 / 2005, Team Server, Source Safe, etc…), I’ve got to pick up C# and learn the company’s internal suite of products inside out. I love a challenge but dislike being a total newbie. My brain was worn out at the end of today just through the sheer amount of new information it was trying to take on board.

It’s company tradition that new guys, like me, schedule a 15 minute meeting with every member of the company in order to introduce myself and learn what everyone’s role is. I managed to speak to 6 people this afternoon, that’s just under half the workforce. Everyone I met was very friendly and far too clever. How am I going to fit in?

All in all, I’m very happy to have moved and will just have to go through the motions of being a total newbie.

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A couple of week ago I rewrote my CV and submitted it to those pesky recruitment agencies and job boards. My CV is looking quite polished, yet one can always do better. Christian Heilmann writes about writing better web developer CVs. Even though he is writing about corporate HR departments, he articulates better my frustrations with recruitment agencies. Marko Dugonjić also has a few CV tips appropriate for web developers. One tip is to include a short list of the most recently read on-topic books.

Something that I am missing is a personal website that can act as a sandpit, somewhere where I can play with the new stuff and demonstrate my ability to pick up skills. Olly has a sandpit and he’s starting to play in it again. Who else has a sandpit?

Ikea Shelf BuildingHere’s Steinunn and me putting together a bookcase from Ikea. Two dowel rods were missing and we didn’t find them until after the screws were tightened.

Since the move, my PC has been experiencing problems. After switching on, it will stay on for anywhere between 10 minutes and 10 hours, after which it’ll power down completely. To power it up again, I have to take the power lead out of the back, wait for 10 seconds, re-insert the power lead and press the power button.

A search reveals that it could be any number of problems. Seeing that I have a computer repair shop just metres away from my flat I paid them a visit this afternoon. I explained the symptoms and the thai / scottish tech guy listened patiently and nodded knowingly. He asked how old the PC components were and told me a few things I could check. Are any of the capacitors bulging at the end? Is everything seated correctly? Possibly it’s a virus. Or the power supply.

I’ve discounted a virus as I freshly re-installed Windows XP the other day. I made sure all PCI cards, memory sticks and power connectors were plugged in correctly. I’m thinking it must be the power supply, a loose connection…

Must dash… Dave from the shop has just phoned. He’s replaced the power supply and everything is running tickety boo. Though, I won’t believe this is the case until the PC has been running for more than a 10 hour period.

I’ll add to this later to tell you what the mouldy reference refers to.

By the way, did I mention that I’d moved flat? I now live one minute’s walk away from The Meadows – see the banner at the top of this blog? That’s the Meadows.

I had another interview yesterday. Before attending it, I checked out the company’s website and was immediately impressed. I was not disappointed when I arrived at the company’s premises; the office was bright, spacious, warm and the atmosphere created by the staff was one of professionalism, hard working, yet sociable.The guy who interviewed me for the job was a clever, polite, nice guy who explained to me that even though he was looking for a more experienced .NET developer, after looking at my CV, was intrigued by the mix of my skills. One question that I have been asked during my previous week of job hunting by recruiters is how whether I see myself as a web developer or software developer. Given my academic background I’d say I was software developer but over the last 12 months I have gone down the web developer path. I can never give a straight answer because I think I’m both, though obviously have little commercial experience of non-web development roles.

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On Sunday the Sunday Herald published an article on Scotland’s Flickr community. Accompanying the article was a glossy magazine featuring a selection of the best photos taken by amateur photographers over the last year. In association with the Scottish Flickr group, a separate blog records the best photos of the day and is meant to be a collective photographic history of Scotland as viewed by its members. The photos featured on this blog are fantastic and I urge you to take a look for yourself.

Since last Friday I have applied for 7 jobs, via various recruitment agencies, and as of today I have been put forward for 3. Now I’m waiting to see if I get any interviews. Please God, don’t make me speak to any more recruitment consultants. How useless are these people? Has there ever been a single recruitment consultant that knows more than how to list of a bunch of acronyms? Generally, they will phone up, tell you about an amazing position, say they’re going to put you forward, and then all of sudden the job doesn’t exist anymore, and sometimes the person you originally spoke is impossible to get hold of. 

The main recruitment sites like Monster.co.uk and Jobserve.com are full of listings entered by employment agencies. It’s very rare that an employer itself posts on these boards. If you want, like me, only web developer type jobs listed directly by the employer check out 37signals Job Board, CrunchBoard, CSS Monster and Jobs @ JoelOnSoftware. Out of these niche job boards, only JoelOnSoftware allows you to filter jobs by country. All let you subscribe by RSS feed.

Here’s a plea to employers: Forget the large recruitment sites and please stop using employment agencies. They charge far too much for their services (not that I have to pay) and, like all middlemen, do nothing useful except create beaurocracy and get in the way of the task at hand. Instead, find a job board that caters for the particular niche you want and advertise directly and accurately.

I’d put recruitment consultants in the same bracket as estate agents. Useless, but a necessary evil.