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June 3, 2003

Subclasses of a Programming Position

2/3 of our programming staff (2 people) have announced they are returning to school in the summer/fall. I can think of very few reasons why this is good, but one of them is it allows us to rethink all three positions and bring two new people on under modified positions.

I've been working on ideas for what roles each of the 3 programmers will play (myself included). One of the complaints we hear frequently from our director is we all focus too much on writing/tuning the underlying Perl modules, which means end users aren't seeing much of new or improved functionality. Having someone dedicated to creating/improving user functionality is highest priority as we're looking to fill these positions.

One idea I've been tossing around is to make one of the positions a "functionality programmer" and the other a "library programmer." I know in the end both programmers are writing handlers/scripts/modules which can fall into both functionality and library, but the idea is to make the development efforts of the programmer driven by one or the other end result.

We took a shot at this in the past, having one of the positions be a "front end" programmer. It didn't work so well because the programmer had already been working for us for awhile and frankly, was quite skilled at writing/refactoring the underlying libraries. Made it hard to limit his work to frontend when he was the most qualified to do the library work.

Will be interesting to start looking at resumes and see if breaking things up like this is even close to reality. I recently helped with interviews for a position in another department at Tufts. The job description was tweaked after the first round of interviews because we realized that we just weren't going to find what had been specified in the posting.

The first position opens in July, the second sometime in August.

Posted by mike at June 3, 2003 9:06 AM