Time for change

published: Thu, 11-Dec-2003   |   updated: Thu, 5-Oct-2017
Wells cathedral

It's been a roller-coaster seven months, to be honest. I was amazed that Microsoft would offer me a position, especially in the Visual C# team (considering my relative lack of knowledge about C# and .NET at the time), but they did and I accepted and I started work with a lot of enthusiasm and, let's admit it, wonder. The job seemed to fit me perfectly and it was the C# team to boot. Brilliant language.

And at first it did all seem to work out. The deep end has never appeared so deep, but I jumped into it anyway with gusto. The people here are passionate and committed, and it was exhilarating being in their midst. But, slowly, the realization that the job I was doing (Program Manager, see here for details) didn't fit my experience and abilities. Although I enjoy the vision and design part of what I do, I felt disconnected from what I enjoy most: coding. For the large part, Visual Studio is written in C++ (of which I'm a slow reader, but an illiterate writer) with only small portions written in managed code. I couldn't participate in that and it grated somewhat.

Also, I came here in the belief that although Microsoft is bloody huge (55.000 people and counting) and the Developer Division is quite large (2.000 people and counting), I thought that working in the Visual C# team (about 30 people) would be isolated enough for me. You see, I like small companies, or small teams. I feel more connected, more responsible, more aware. Unfortunately, I soon came to realize that it doesn't work that way; the Visual C# team is intimately connected to the rest of the Visual Studio group. What the rest of the group does has implications in our team, and what we do has implications elsewhere. The whole design and development cycle becomes a set of meetings and bartering sessions at the PM level. Now, I'll freely admit to being naive about this, but it was a shock.

(Aside: I've always worked in small companies or in small isolated teams or divisions within larger companies. The largest company I'd worked for before was Deutsche Bank, but there I was working for a small integrated swaps trading group of about 30 people. Yes, the group was working within the confines of a large multinational bank, but the lines of communication came through the group's upper management. At my level, I interacted with the IT department, but that was about it.)

So, for the past three, maybe four, months, I've been wrestling with thoughts of what I want to do, can I do it here, where do I want to be and is it Microsoft.

There's been another problem to wrestle with as well: property here is at least twice as expensive as in Colorado Springs, where we have our house. So, just to move into the same type of house, of roughly the same size and in the same kind of neighborhood, I would be paying at least twice the mortgage. I certainly wasn't being paid twice the salary. Again, I was naive and should have checked thoroughly before and factored that into my calculation of whether to accept or not. Oh well.

Anyway, next Friday, 19 December, will be my last day at Microsoft. It's been fun and frustrating, I've learned an awful lot about C# and .NET, and I've met a number of very intelligent, dedicated people of whom I'm in awe, but it's time to move on.

So, I'm on the lookout for another job. As I've been travelling a lot over the past two years (first with Aristocrat in Las Vegas, and then with Microsoft in Redmond), I'm looking for a job in a company in Colorado Springs, or a job in a company where I can work remotely at home (with some regular travel to the main office, say, one week a month, or something), or maybe a contract where I can work remotely from home. You can read my résumé here, but here's a quick executive summary:

  • Expert in C# and Delphi, Win32 and .NET, software development methodologies, architectures. Some Java. Management skills, algorithms expert.
  • Well known author. Was columnist writing articles on algorithms for The Delphi Magazine (the column was called Algorithms Alfresco) from Nov-1997 to Apr-2003 (I had to give it up when I joined Microsoft). Wrote a book called Tomes of Delphi: Algorithms and Data Structures, published in June 2001.
  • May-2003 to Dec-2003: Program Manager, Microsoft Corporation. Working in new features in Visual Studio Whidbey in the Visual C# team.
  • Mar-2002 to May-2003: Director of Future Systems, Aristocrat Technologies Inc. Researching and implementing a new software development methodology. Driving requirements writing process. Designing architecture for new future casino management system. Managing team of developers.
  • May-1993 to Feb-2002: Director of Programming, TurboPower Software Company. Managing the team of developers. Managing the implementation of new and upgraded library and tool products. Involved in vision, design, coding, testing, documenting various products (for example, B-Tree Filer, FlashFiler, Abbrevia, SysTools, Orpheus, etc). Algorithms guru.
  • Prior to May-1993: software development in various financial institutions or financial software companies in London.

I can be contacted at julianb at boyet dot com. If you want to IM me or phone me, please send me an email and I'll give you the details.