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February 15, 2006

New Job, Joining OpenAir in March

Two weeks ago I mentioned I was leaving my job at Tufts University at the end of February. Starting March 1st I'll be joining the folks over at OpenAir. OpenAir is an ASP that provides Professional Services Automation (PSA). I'll be joining the team as a Principal Software Engineer, primarily to design and build software to help customers solve problems, but I'll likely be doing some systems architecture and administration. The server farm at OpenAir is much larger than what I've built at Tufts.

Some details on the job search and the reason for moving from Tufts to OpenAir . . .

Why Switch Jobs?

As I interviewed at various places I was usually asked why I'd want to leave Tufts, a good question. The primary reason was that I want to broaden my experience with open source software. I've been in academia for many years now creating software for education. OpenAir is in a different sector, and they are solving different problems using the open source stack. I'm excited to get experience in a different area, and I think that will be a big benefit down the road.

What I was looking for

The most obvious thing I was looking for was a position working with a team of talented folks where I would feel comfortable and stretched using my personal and tech skills. As I looked around for a good fit for me I also wanted to find someone that could offer flexibility in the work schedule and would be excited and supportive of my participation in the open source community.

OpenAir is all of these. I had great conversation in my interviews with the small team of developers, Technical Director and CTO. The position is a great fit for my existing skills, but will give me a chance to expand them in new ways. For flexibility, I'll be working from my home office for most of the week except when attending meetings in the office (usually grouped into a single weekday). OpenAir will also allow me freedom to participate in open source projects, to continue writing, and to attend and present at the MySQL Users Conference and OSCON.

The Job Market, Interviews and People

As I started looking around I was delighted to find that the job market for folks using open source tools was very active and alive. Monster, Dice, jobs.perl.org and many others seemed to have a constant flow of new postings. Over the course of just a few weeks I talked to many, many people. All of the time I spent meeting with folks was good. I had some great conversations/interviews that may not have led to me filling a position but gave me a good sense of what I wanted and where I stood in the range of open source professionals. There were positions that looked awesome but the employer didn't see me as a good fit, and there were positions where the employer thought I was perfect but I wasn't so sure.

In the end there were a handful of opportunities that all seemed like a good fit and looked exciting. This made made the decision process difficult, but good. All said, OpenAir was the best fit for me (and the family) right now. I am delighted that the process has opened many doors that still remain open as I go into this new position.

I do want to thank everyone who was a part of the process, I met a lot of great folks and had many good conversations that I think were bigger than the current job hunt.

About OpenAir

While OpenAir has been around since the early 90s, and has been profitable for many years, it's a small, relatively flat organization. I'm excited to be in a place where an employee can have a big impact on the success of the organization. I'm sure I'll be less revealing about the specifics of the work I'm doing. At Tufts it was always a good thing to publish details about software development or systems architecture. Probably not the case anymore.

More to come . . . less than two weeks until my first day.

Posted by mike at February 15, 2006 7:10 AM