Looking for an Integrator/System Administrator?

I am currently employed in a stable situation, but I think it’s still useful to talk about the kinds of things I look for during those times when I am actively seeking work.

So what is it that I do, anyway?

I’ve done just about everything in software development, from product planning and management, to development, testing, integration and documentation. I’ve worked solo, and as part of teams numbering in the hundreds. What I’m about to discuss is what I do best, and what I would most like to continue doing.

I do software configuration management, primarily with Rational’s ClearCase tool. The goal is to make sure that over the life of a project, it can be reproduced as it existed at any time in the past, and that all changes to it are properly tracked, managed, and when appropriate, prohibited. I plan how this is done, and then insure that it is done according to plan, and that changes to the plan itself are as tightly controlled as the software product. I also make sure that everyone knows what the plan is, and make compliance with it as easy as possible.

I also do software integration, also known as release engineering. I take the code written by your hundreds of developers and collect it all into one place, build it, then make sure all the right parts are in all the right places. I may also cut media or provide other mechanisms for delivering built code to the testing staff. I not only write tools to help do this, I design toolsets which track everything that needs to be tracked while not burdening developers or testers with any more bureaucracy than is absolutely necessary. This usually has involved providing tools to developers and testers which are streamlined for local policy and which hide the minutiae of the underlying source control and bug tracking systems.

Throughout my career, I’ve done this more than any other development activity, I’m very good at it, and I enjoy it. I have worked within existing processes, as well as designed and deployed new processes where required. I can work with many popular source control systems, but I have the most experience with ClearCase. I can also work with just about any bug tracking system, commercial, freeware or home-grown. I have worked as a member of a team of integrators for a very large project, been the sole integrator for mid-sized projects, and I have been the technical lead of a team of five integrators who collectively supported twelve small- to mid-size projects. All this is detailed in my resume.

Wearing other hats, I have also done system administration work, built esoteric servers for large system stress testing, and managed small development projects. In my latest work in the latter category, I planned, designed, coded and supervised the testing of the addition of Rock Ridge capabilities to the HP-UX CD-ROM file system. This work was 95% complete when I was laid off from HP; the code is shipped soon afterward.

As the foregoing implies, I would also be interested in management and planning of a development lab facility. In particular, I could manage a team of integrators and tool developers, or extend the work involved in building an infrastructure for integration into lab support for developers and testers.

Everyone has a “wish list” that describes their ideal job. Aside from the actual work assignments, here are the other things I’d like in a job:

  • Location in central or northern New Jersey, less than a 45-minute drive from Bridgewater
  • A meritocratic corporate culture with close-knit teams
  • Unix/Linux based development projects
  • Work hours flexible enough for me to accommodate my children
  • Low likelihood of the position being outsourced or offshored
  • Full-time direct employment only, NO contracts

One thing I must insist on is that I cannot relocate. Not to NYC, not to another part of New Jersey, not to another state.

A word about professional references:

Like every other job seeker, I have a set of references that I will provide on request. These are colleagues and friends of mine whose time and privacy I value even more than my own.

I have seen increasing numbers of job postings that request references to be provided along with resume and salary requirements as part of the initial contact, even when the prospective employer acknowledges that they may not respond at all to the submission. I will gladly bring my list of references to a face-to-face interview. I must repectfully decline any request for references earlier than that. I do not feel comfortable giving anyone else’s personal information to prospective employers until I’m sure those prospects are strong.

And a word to recruiters:

I have received many inquiries from recruiters regarding positions whose basic requirements I clearly do not meet. For example, a listing may state, “must have financial industry experience,” or “three years of Visual Basic development.” I do not have these. My resume is intended to communicate my skill set clearly, honestly and completely; if there is any confusion I would like to hear about it, so that I may correct the problem. As I have stated elsewhere, relocation and excessive commutes are not options for me, yet I frequently get contacted for positions in New York City, Philadelphia and out of state.

It does not take long to read and digest my resume and the other material on this site. Just as the ability to provide a resume in the format a recruiter needs is often used as a litmus test to see if a candidate is worth representing, the willingness of a recruiter to read and respect what I’ve presented here is my litmus test for recruiters I might want to represent me.

I know this sounds picky, especially in the tightest job market in decades, but I am very happy where I am now, and I would have to be very strongly motivated to even consider making a move. If you have my dream job of a lifetime, I’d like to know about it. If you’re just blindly scooping up resumes and looking for a few keyword matches, chances are you’re not going to be contacting me with that dream job. And if it’s obvious you’re doing that (“I saw your resume on the Internet, please send me your resume”), I will presume you are spamming and treat your message accordingly.

That said…

If you are looking for a CM engineer or lab manager with extensive experience all through the development process, we may be able to help each other. Please contact me any of the ways listed on my resume.

Ed Horch — ed at
Last modified: 30 October 2007

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