Web Software Architecture and Engineering – Life on the Bleeding Edge

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Sunsetting Mach-II

Sad to see Mach II being sunset, exact 10 years after it was introduced.

The Harmonious Programmer

Rather than leave things in an uncertain state, we feel it is best to announce that the current team behind Mach-II will no longer be working on or supporting Mach-II moving forward.

Peter, Matt, and Kurt have all moved away from CFML to other technologies: Peter and Matt to Python and Django, Kurt to C#. Since we are no longer doing CFML development and our time will be filled working in and contributing to projects in our new primary languages, we are no longer able to effectively develop and support Mach-II.

Mach-II is a stable, mature framework and is used — and will continue to be used — by a large number of organizations for their most mission-critical CFML applications. Current Mach-II applications will continue to run just fine of course, and if Mach-II does everything you need it to do there’s no reason to stop using it. The code…

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Lousy Job Posting #5 – Voicemail Edition

And it doesn’t stop. I got this voicemail from an anonymous caller this morning. He identifies himself in the voicemail, and I like how he reads off every technology related keyword, as if I’m drooling on the other end thinking, yes, thats the exact skill sets I was looking for!

Take a listen!

Lousy ColdFusion Job Posting #4

Today, I received this email from a recruiter. SO… MUCH… FAIL…

Things wrong:

  1. My name isn’t $first name$
  2. How did my resume end up in your database? I’ve been with the same employer for 9 years.
  3. Your clients is a global company? Wow? Do they outsource to China or something?
  4. “This division is a cloud based software application development company, building multi-tiered SaaS based web based Healthcare applications.” – using the word ‘based’ a little too much? What’s multi-tiered SaaS?
  5. “Lead a team of circa 8 Senior and Junior developers and QA staff.” ‘Circa’, really?
  6. When I clicked on your link, it looked like an old Geocities web site? Paw prints, really?
  7. “We are a highly professional and ethical firm”… sure…
  8. Your LinkedIn shows your vast experience working as a Courier for Fedex.
  9. Your unsubscribe link says I don’t have Javascript enabled. Nice excuse.

Hi $first name$

Your resume is in our database. Please let me know if you would be interested or if you can possibly recommend someone for one of the following full-time job opportunity in Irvine.

Our client is a global company. This division is a cloud based software application development company, building multi-tiered SaaS based web based Healthcare applications.


1.) Team Manager & Sr Developer Irvine – 4 year degree with 10 plus years experience. Lead a team of circa 8 Senior and Junior developers and QA staff. Experience with OO PHP, ColdFusion, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, WebServices (SOAP and RESTful), XML, JSON, and SVN version control software Understand of LAMP stack and PHP design standards- Salary 95k -110k plus excellent benefits!

2.) Sr Developer– Irvine – 4 year degree with 5 plus years experience. Experience with OO PHP, ColdFusion, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, WebServices (SOAP and RESTful), XML, JSON, and SVN version control softwareSalary 80k – 100k plus excellent benefits!

Open Positions: For full job descriptions visit www.techounds.com
If you are interested and feel you are a fit for one of the positions listed above, please e-mail me your updated resume.

About Us

TecHOUNDS is a full service Technology staffing firm. We are a highly professional and ethical firm that provides both permanent career and contract opportunities. We take great pride in finding the right career opportunities for IT Professionals like you. Our services are 100% employer paid.

If you are interested send your resume directly karl@techounds.com

Best Regards,

Karl Swierczek l Recruiter

Back to Blogging

After a much longer hiatus from blogging that anticipated, I will start blogging once again in the coming weeks. I’m particularly interested in cloud computing, big data, and the future of the web, especially as it related to JEE technologies like ColdFusion.

Bleeding Edge CF Architecture

We just deployed a new bleeding edge CF architecture last month. I’m going to be blogging about it, and a lot more this year. Stay tuned!

Hiring Woes in the ColdFusion World

No I’m not going to speak about the lack of CF developers. Quite the opposite, I think there are plenty out there. The quality? Well, that’s what we’ll mention here.

Over the past 8 years, at my current position as an executive who also develops actively, I’ve reviewed probably over 300+ resumes, and phone interviewed over 200+ CF folks alone from all over the world. There are some things you learn along the way as a hiring manager – how the market for talent works, the general capabilities of CF developers, and what their typical strengths and weaknesses look like.

I did want to mention two recent resumes and hiring experiences that both went south. This is advice for all CF folks, as I’ve waited to write this to make sure nothing I said would be personal or negative, rather that I could put a positive spin on things and give advice.

As a developer, there really needs to be a focus on self-improvement. In most cases, I don’t find that – I’m surprise how many people “settle.” For me ColdFusion enables each and every day to accomplish an overall vision I have for the projects that I work on – ColdFusion is not the goal in and of itself, nor is the pay check that drives me. I couldn’t work in an environment which gave me access to ColdFusion, but restricted my ideas on how to improve the projects I worked on, or paid me a high salary – but denied me a voice.

Very few developers (roughly 2% from experience) have anything to show for self-improvement. Have they kept up on blogs, read books, attended a conference, tried new techniques, improved their understanding of object-oriented (if not aspect-oriented) programming? What drives them? The answer I usually get is that they are interested in new techniques and approaches, it’s just that their work environment never provided them the opportunity to do so. This to me is a red flag – I expect any serious developers to have their own work environment at home, and work on their own pet projects on the side.

But I tend to forgive the developers, and blame the management in those companies for not fostering innovation. How often do folks meet to exchange ideas in your department, present on new findings, and are given time to develop new ideas on their own? As a manager, I think less about micro-managing or macro-managing, but finding opportunities for my folks to shine. I want to always market my team to the rest of the company as a high performing, well motivated team.

And that’s what sets our company apart, and that is also what leads to problems in hiring. I often talk, in the first round of interviews, about my philosophy, how the team is run, and how we’re simply different. This gets people VERY excited and I get them thinking about how they can contribute to this environment, what skills they bring, and what they’d like to learn. I often tell them that they can expect the first 90 days to be like a tidal wave – we use so many bleeding edge ColdFusion techniques (the rights ones, not all), that it can be very overwhelming.

The problem occurs when people come with years of experience, but that doesn’t translate to necessarily years of accomplishments. You may have worked for 12 years as a ColdFusion developers, in senior roles even, but if you have never touched a framework, then that is a problem. One year of experience here, I often say, is worth 3-5 at other places.

If you are serious at getting better as a developer, then you have to find an environment that is going to support (and push) you. That in itself is worth a lot.

And that’s where the problem is. I recently got two resumes from folks – who each had 12+ years of CF development experience, but I could not say they were truly senior (in my perspective). Regardless, I was willing to offer opportunities to them as Senior folks, with the understanding that they would be able to pick up all the exciting things I talked about.

And then… the focus turned to salary. Do you want to guess what both of them were asking for? Well, here it is – $130K-$135K annually plus benefits.

I was dumbfounded. I am no position to offer that kind of salary to anyone. Heck, even I don’t make that kind of money, and I’m a Director! You have to do your research: we’re a small company (less than 50 folks), and you have to add the value given by a supportive work environment.

I’m not saying we can’t attempt to meet your needs, but seriously… You know that old saying – you dress for the position you want, not the one you have? Well, that applies to CF developers as well. If you feel you’re worth a ton of money, then exhibit the qualities of a world-class developer. If I asked you to rate yourself on the scale of journeyman to master – where would you fall? Do you have experience leading a sophisticated team – often times filled with people who are smarter than you? No. Have you worked with OO frameworks in CF for 9 years like me? No. (I celebrate my 9 year anniversary with Mach II next month!) Are you a master of both the back-end and front-end languages? No. Do you have the communication skills to interface with all sorts of different stakeholders? No.

So what then qualifies you to ask for that much? Well – the answer usually is: “I can make that much consulting.” Well, if you want to pay for your own health insurance, forgo benefits, and work in an environment that really is not going to make you a better developer, and for a company that isn’t truly committed to ColdFusion as a development platform of choice, then go ahead. But if you want to earn a real salary, and be given the opportunity to prove yourself, and work your way up the ladder, then I’m here to support you and am all for that. But be real.

There is nothing at my company that say that you can’t make that kind of money, with benefits and possible bonuses, it’s quite possible. But you’ve got to also have the pedigree and focus to enable that. If you’re overly focused on salary, then I’m sorry – I have something to offer that is worth so much more.

There is probably more to say, but I’ll stop here. I’ve probably already said too much.

Seven Year Itch – Over and Done!

Back in California this week. Look forward to blogging again!