New job, new challenges!

I know. It’s crazy. I had been dissatisfied with my old position for an extremely long time, and it eventually came to a boiling point, leading me to switch jobs in the middle of THE RECESSION!!! ZOMGS!!!!!

Things worked out amazingly, though. I had my new job before my severance even ran out. Nothing like getting paid to nurse my crack addiction play World of Warcraft.

I’m the start of what is basically a new team. I’ve been here a little over 3 weeks now. The previous team consisted of a single developer, who has been here for about eight years. He’s moving to more of a management position, while me and another developer (a Web/UI focused developer) will be working for him. There’s also 2 DBAs that we work closely with, but aren’t technically on this team. We steal a lot of their time though.

My role is “Senior .NET Software Engineer”. What do they mean by “Engineer” exactly, you ask? Well, that’s a good question that took me a bit to find out myself. I think I can explain it best by thinking of what an engineer by any definition really does – makes things work! My job is to make it work, however I feel that should be accomplished. My boss helps critique my proposed solutions, typically by giving me information about how many of the external systems interact with what I’m working on. That’s where a lot of the complexity is currently. The company deals with the health care supply chain. Not only is it my first foray into the health care arena, which is complex in and of itself, but the supply chain has many unique factors and forces at play at the same time. It’s a lot to take in. I’m finally getting a good base grounding (although not very in-depth yet) of how the entire system works.

My current “day-to-day” focus involves refactoring an existing system made for a single client to make it extendable for the second client it needs to support. I’m finally getting a chance to put to use a lot of the great information I had read recently. The code is pretty straight forward, so while it’s not hard to understand what it’s doing, it’s very hard to break up and make extendable. I’ve been referencing some books pretty frequently to help me make the right decisions, however, and I’m excited about how it’s turning out. My boss is liking my work as well (which is very important to the checkbook).

The work here is also extremely data heavy. Collecting and processing the data is a huge concern. Working with tables that contain millions of records, and importing, exporting, and converting them. So I’m learning a lot of information about how to write efficient SQL and designing secure databases.

On top of that, the company is fully committed to doing Scrum in a proper fashion. That’s great – but of course, each company will have it’s own “spin” on it. This is an extremely large company, and we’re actually a remote office, so it involves a lot of phone conferencing. So that’s been another challenge to learn how to work with properly.

All in all, however, this is going pretty great. The work is challenging. It’s a new business domain, which is a great change of pace, if nothing else. I’m being allowed to propose architecture improvements, and implement them. My boss is committed to making sure we have good hardware and the latest development tools. He’s also always looking to the future – we want to wrap up the current project, then move on to the next. Then the next. Then the next.

So, I hope to blog a little here and there about what I’m doing. I figure most people will find it mind-numbingly boring or introductory. Hopefully not though. A lot of it will be difficult to explain or may not make sense. We’ll see how it goes.

Oh, and a freaking huge 11.5% raise. It was over the top end of the range I was asking for. And a bonus plan that actually pays about 10% of your salary a year (and yes, people actually get their bonus). Take that recession!

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