I did it. I allowed myself to be assimilated, and I have no regrets. Maybe it’s because I’m approaching forty. Maybe my values have changed since college, or at least I hope they have. 🙂 Monday, January 9, 2006, after completing a six month stint as a contractor, I started as a full-time employee of a defense contractor. We develop software specifically for the Department of Defense, and we do it very well.
The company is DPRA Incorporated. I work for the Defense Systems Group, or as a co-worker calls it “The Developer’s Paradise.” DSG is run by a Senior VP who is also a software developer. He can discuss with familiarity the ideas of Fredrick Brooks and Tom Demarco. In fact, he told me that everyone has an office with a door because of Tom Demarco’s book Peopleware.
That’s right kids. I have an office with a door! I also work uninterrupted. Other than our weekly team meeting, if I want anyone to know about my progress, I have to find them, and let them know.
This doesn’t mean we are immune to the realities of software development. Last fall I had to meet a deadline, and I assembled my project in a decidedly slap dash manner in order to fulfill the requirements of the contract. What is unique is that after we met the deadline, I had time to refactor my work into a more maintainable form before release.
Besides the creature comforts, my coworkers are smart, talented and professional. This may sound like hyperbole, but I assure you that I work with some of the best people in the industry. Last summer I went to TechEd and got a feel for the best and the brightest. I’ve met the best of the best, and I work with some of them on a daily basis.
It used to be that the three companies I most wanted to work for were (in order of preference): FogCreek, Microsoft & Wintellect, but not anymore. I’m home, and I don’t have any intention of leaving. If you’d like to join me, then keep your eyes open. We hire regularly.