I was in the process of writing a great blog post early this morning on the way to work when I heard a click and my battery died. I booted the laptop up again this evening and very strangely, Microsoft Word didn’t have an auto saved copy. Strange but probably for the best because I think I was rambling.
I’m writing today to tell you about what’s been happening in my professional life over the past few months. I had a number of discussions with Fujitsu surrounding where I wanted to go and where they saw me going. Our objectives didn’t exactly match so we agreed that I would look for a new job. I certainly didn’t take this decision lightly. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be such a great time to look for a new job. With Emma expecting our first child in a matter of months I need stability and reliability at work. Turning my life upside down isn’t really what the doctor ordered if you know what I mean. Anyway, I began looking for a new challenge and opportunity in April and in May I was offered a role in a very small company in Dublin. This company have been about for about thirteen years and the number of customers using their products has grown every year.
The name of the company I now work with is DCS Docs. DCS stands for Document Centric Solutions but when you look at the array of products that they have developed, documentation is kind of the most unlikely description you could possibly find. DCS write software that manages contracts, payments, HR, resource provisioning and reporting. That’s just scratching the surface. I’m there two weeks now and I’m still trying to get up to speed with everything they provide.
My job title is support manager but this is only one part of what I do. As you might expect in such a small company, people need to be able to take on multiple roles simultaneously. This means I’m also managing project resources, implementing their new VOIP phone system, coordinating with their out sourced IT provider, stream lining their licenses and updating their internal network.
Although I’m a technical person and I am quite happy to get out of providing support to end users, the opportunity to build up a support team is something that I think I’m going to enjoy. It’s not the first time I’ve done this kind of thing. When working in Stream, I was promoted to the role of technical lead for the Sybase 365 team but for various reasons, this role became very managerial and most of my tasks revolved around making 19 individuals into a 24 hour a day 7 days a week support team that were rock solid. I found this very difficult. Allowing for 19 separate personalities and trying to manage them was a very high pressure environment was way outside the direction I wanted my career to go. It was a huge relief to me when Novell asked me to go back on their support team as their technical lead because it got me away from the managerial side of the business. Prior to working on the Sybase team I was a support engineer on the Novell team so it was great to be asked to go back at a higher level.
I was honestly worried about going back into a manager’s position when I started with DCS but I’m not in the slightest bit worried any more. The three people that work in support are outstanding. They all have incredible motivation to get work done and they take advice really easily.
The role is also very technical. I am working with software that has been developed by DCS so I am constantly using applications such as Visual studio, SQL management studio, the SQL profiler and the SQL optimizer.
Going from a system administrator role to a developer support role is actually really difficult. It takes a lot of effort to let the system administration jobs go to someone else. This is hopefully going to benefit DCS though as I have experience with implementing systems in a large enterprise environment and a small company with only five employees. DCS haven’t had a system administrator in house for quite a while so I’m hoping that my influence will give their internal IT some direction.
One thing that I should say here. I obviously can’t give too much away about the software that DCSDocs have written just in case I step over any lines but their core product is absolutely amazing. If you know about the entity framework, consider this made 13 years ago but with a really usable graphical and web user interface to take over from programmatically creating classes and functions. It’s just stunning the direction that this company took so many years ago when Microsoft were still thinking along the lines of classic ASP. That kind of innovation is continuing today.
I’m finding the work very different and challenging and I’m getting on really well with the people that I’m working with so I really think this was a good move for me. I’m missing Fujitsu and I’m missing the exposure to the systems I had there but for a lot of different reasons, I know that couldn’t continue indefinitely.