Archive for the ‘Autobiographical’ Category

I had fun for a few months programming Ruby at eLabs, but now I’m moving on*. What exactly I’ll be doing next is not entirely clear. My plan, at least initially, is to work as an independent consultant specializing in automated testing and agile coaching. I’d also like to do some contract Ruby or Python programming. Hopefully I will find customers who are willing to hire me to do those things on a part-time basis, or with short term contracts, so I can do a mixture.

I have a long term dream to build some kind of product around PyUseCase and TextTest. I really believe in the approach Geoff has built for testing rich client python GUIs, and I’d like to see if it could be adapted for testing web applications. I have some ideas I’d like to try out, but I’ll need to find real customers with real applications and problems to try them out on. I’m hoping that will be possible through the agile testing consulting that I’ll be doing.

I’d also like to develop the idea of the coding dojo as a forum for teaching Test Driven Development and related agile engineering practices. I’m certain there is more that could be done to help people to get going with these skills. I’m looking into what courses are currently offered by local training providers, and hoping to both teach and develop those courses. I’m also working on my own formal training course based around the JDojo@Gbg meetings I led last year.

As you may have noticed from previous posts, I really enjoy going to conferences, and often speak at them. I don’t expect that to change much 🙂 Geoff and I are both scheduled to speak at Agile Testing Days in Berlin in October, which I am really looking forward to. It’ll be a chance for us to learn from some of the best in our industry, and share some of our ideas. Geoff’s testing tools are developing all the time, and I’ll be talking about what we’ve learnt from the many dojo meetings going on in Göteborg. I’ll be speaking together with my friend and former colleague Fredrik Wendt, a stalwart member of GothPy and assistant leader of JDojo@Gbg.

So it’s an exciting time for me, and I have several activities lined up to get me going with my new business. I’m also hoping to find a bit more time to spend writing articles for this blog. We’ll see if I succeed!

* eLabs is a very young company with only about 8 employees, and after I agreed to join CJ and his team back in January the company strategy changed a little. After I started in March, my role didn’t work out the way I’d anticipated. CJ and I had a good talk about it, and I think it’s with no hard feelings on either side that I left the company at the end of June.

I’ve enjoyed my time working for Iptor, but I found I just couldn’t refuse Carl-Johan when he offered me a job at eLabs. I first med C-J a few years ago at Got.rb, the local Ruby User Group, and I know he has a great entrepreneurial spirit and deep technical expertise. eLabs is his company, (a startup he co-owns with Edithouse), and he’s attracted a really competent, friendly bunch of coders to join him. This a chance for me to get to learn Ruby and Rails properly, and work in a truly agile team. Hopefully I’ll be able to contribute some insights from my years working with agile advocacy, automated testing, and development in Python and Java. I’m looking forward to starting at eLabs in April.

It occurred to me that I should mention that I now work for Iptor Konsult AB rather than IBS JavaSolutions. This is not due to my changing jobs, rather that IBS decided that since we don’t do the same things as the rest of the company, we should have a separate name and image. We are even going to be a separate legal entity, although still wholly owned by IBS.

I think it’s a very positive development for both parties, and I personally am much more comfortable standing up and presenting myself as from Iptor than I ever was when it was IBS JavaSolutions. For a start it’s not also the name of a rather unpleasant illness, and secondly it means I can avoid mentioning Java. A language I now work with daily, but don’t enjoy nearly so much as python.

In practice though, the name change probably won’t make that much difference in my daily life.

Today at europython we listened to a keynote about Bletchley Park. This was the centre of British and allied codebreaking activities during the second world war, and where the first digital, programmable computer was built, Colossus. We heard about the current financial plight of the museum there, and the need for investment to renovate the huts that amongst others Alan Turing worked in. Dr Sue Black told us about her experiences trying to help lobby the government for more money for Bletchley park, using social networking, blogs and twitter. She recounted that she had recently met an elderly gentleman, one of the surviving codebreakers. She told us how close she felt to history when he related a story about when he was decoding a nazi message during the war, and his shock when he got to the end and discovered the message was signed “Adolf Hitler, Fuhrer”.

As a professional programmer, I think the site where the first digitally programmable computer was built has to be a place worth preserving. I hope that people will be able to visit there and see the reconstructed Colossus computer and be inspired by the stories of innovation and codebreaking that it enabled.

It was particuarly poignant for me to think about this when in the next session I checked my email and found a message from my mother saying that my grandmother died this morning. She was a living link to the history of the second world war for me. During the war she was a wireless operator, transmitting and receiving messages in morse code. And now she is not there any more. I am kind of in shock. But it just confirms for me that we need museums like the one at Bletchley Park to retain contact with our history.

(I wrote this post yesterday)

If you were looking to employ someone, what would you say to a candidate like this:

  • highly intelligent, excellent qualifications for the job, 10 years relevant experience, hardworking, ambitious.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? What if she then added:

  • has 2 children, will not work overtime, (although still hardworking during normal working hours)

Perhaps not quite as interesting?

Then if she went on to ask to work 80%?

So the reality is, how many employers turn to the next CV at this point?

Anyway it looks like I am going to be finding out. My experience as a contractor so far is not encouraging.