Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Take a look at this Tibco/C# Consultant Solicitation

This evening, I received the following message from a recruiter who must have me in his database:

Hi Marc,

C# Tibco contract, 40-60/hr, 12 months in NYC. Would you be interested in this?

Thanks and have a nice evening,

Managing Partner
(Contracting Company)

Even though I am not in the market, I paused to consider this solicitation, and I found this rate to be somewhat insulting and way below what the market would bear. As a hiring manager, I would be highly suspicious of any Tibco consultant who would be getting this rate.

One nice thing that my former employer did was to make sure that the rate that an approved vendor (ie: body shop) pays to a consultant is no less that a certain percentage of the billing rate. For example, if a body shop was billing me $1000 a day for a consultant on a 1099, then we insured that the consultant would get no less than 85% of that billing rate (usually higher).

This would be more than enough profit for the vendor, and we would know that our consultant was not getting taken to the cleaners. A happy consultant is a productive consultant.

By the way, I would consider $100 an hour to be a fair rate for a really good Tibco/C# consultant. Why the low rate for the job that this recruiter is offering? It's not the days of 2002-2004, where great developers were getting $35/hr. The consulting market is very strong right now, and the big companies (ie: the users of things like Tibco) are holding their consulting rates steady.

Update - The recruiter contacted me and mentioned that this position was for a JUNIOR Tibco/C# consultant, hence the lower rate. I feel that Tibco is tricky enough (especially for lower latency apps) where I would only be comfortable with a senior-level Tibco consultant. However, as always, this is my opinion. Your mileage may vary.

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Review of the Rock In Opposition Music Festival

For those wondering what I am doing on my gardening leave, I am putting some effort into my other blog. Just returned from 5 days in Europe. Now I have to concentrate on reworking the lighting in my house.

Thanks to all of the people who have written to me since I announced my resignation.

Over the next few days, I actually might write a little blog post here on some of the lessons that were learned in running the Complex Event Processing group at Citi. I have some pretty strong opinions about the state of commercial CEP technology, but would you expect anything else????

Meanwhile, I am so stoked to be joining my new company. I kept myself busy for a little while with the constant twiddling and refactoring of my Facebook Notifier. My son tells me that I can make a fortune by selling it, as it seems to be something that is badly needed by PC users. But, with my new job, I will not have any time to enhance it and support it. I ran a software company for 10 years, and I don't know if I will ever be releasing another piece of commercial software again. Just too much hassle right now.

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Facebook Notifier

OK, I've become hopelessly addicted to Facebook ... I admit it.

Last night, with the rain pouring outside and the US Open tennis matches postponed, I decided to write something that I've wanted for a long time. An application that sits in the Windows System Tray and notifies me when I get a new Facebook notification. By "notification", I am referring to the red balloon with the number '4':

By having this, I don't have to constantly surf over to the Facebook homepage in order to check my activity.

Luckily, there is a .NET Toolkit for Facebook here. Using this toolkit, it only took me about two hours from start to finish to complete my notifier. I spent another hour cleaning up the code and parameterizing some of the hard-coded things like my user ID, my application's secret codes, and the stuff around the playing of the notification sound.

I found that I had to resort to FQL (which is the SQL-like query facility that Facebook provides) to properly retrieve the state of my Facebook notifications. The function that the Facebook Toolkit gave me always told me that I had no notifications.

I also added the ability to pump in my own notifications for testing purposes.

This application is just for me, and I do not think that I will be releasing it. If I really wanted to do something serious, I would create a general-purpose notifier toolkit that is able to work over Facebook, GMail, Yahoo Mail, etc. Each of these services would have its own "input adapter" as part of the notification framework. And, I would probably integrate this with some sort of CEP engine so that alerts could be sent to a Facebook account.

Maybe one day in the future .....

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Update on the Job Market

(As I was in the middle of answering a question from someone during my hand-off, my Blackberry reset itself. When it came back on, I found my account terminated from the Citigroup Blackberry server. Oh well ... let them figure out the answers for themselves!)

Some people have asked me what I think of the job market right now in Capital Markets IT.

From my vantage point, the job market for good IT people is exploding right now. There are a few reasons for this:

1) Traders who were displaced from companies like Lehman, Bear, and Merrill are finding themselves in demand, and they are starting to land at various Investment Banks and Hedge Funds. As these people get settled in their new positions, they are asking for systems that are similar to what they had before and what they used to generate profits.

2) Good IT people are leaving the existing companies in droves and going to the non-TARP (ie: non-US) banks. For example, the entire CEP team from Merrill left to go to Deutsche Bank. In particular, Deutsche has been hiring like mad. Hedge Funds who had a bad year last year have recovered, and along with that recovery, they are starting to fill some of the positions that they had eliminated.

3) Upper-level IT management are changing firms, and bringing along their best people with them. This leaves a void at their old firms.

4) More demand for risk management, WPF-based GUIs, equity derivatives.

What is also interesting is that companies are starting to pay up. Even the companies who have been known as notoriously low payers realize that they need to compete, and they are paying above-market rates for new talent, much to the chagrin of the legacy people at the firms.

Is the market completely back to normal? I don't think so. But if you are a really good IT person with some Capital Markets experience, you should have problem landing a position right now.

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

Leaving Citi - Part 2

I have been overwhelmed by the amount of good wishes and calls that I have received since I announced my resignation.

I am in a period right now that is affectionately known as "Gardening Leave". In most companies, you give a two-week notice when you resign, and it is up to the management as to whether or not you serve out that full two weeks. In most companies on Wall Street (and especially in The City), the gardening leave time is more extensive. I have 50 calendar days in which I must sit in a kind of limbo before I join my new company. People at higher levels have longer periods to sit out. We all get paid, and theoretically, we have to be "on call". But, in reality, the old management would prefer if we don't speak to anyone from the old firm for the obvious reasons. And, I will certainly expect that from my firm.

So, tomorrow, I go to HR, hand in my Blackberry, my corporate credit card, and my ID card, and then I go out for leaving-drinks. And then I bid adieu to Citigroup.

I have been happy to give people a glimpse into what it is like working in Capital Markets IT. As Jeff Wooten from Coraleri says, my feedback on this blog has (hopefully) resulted in some better products out there. I hope that someone else will be able to create a "bully pulpit" on the blogosphere that will keep some of the vendors honest. Even the vendors that I ended up not using have become important allies for me, and who knows what may happen in the future ....

The blog has been going since the fall of 2005. I will try to find something innocuous to blog about from time to time. But, as I said in my previous posting, my professional blogging will undergo a temporary hiatus. When I joined Citigroup in 2006, the hiring manager was a reader of my blog, so I was sort of grandfathered in as far as the blogging goes. However, I enjoy no such luck in my new company, and I have to take my new role very seriously.

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Leaving Citigroup

You may have noticed that this blog has been very quiet lately. The reason is because I have resigned from Citigroup (this is most likely the first and only time that I will mention my employer by name on this blog). I will be joining one of the premier names in Capital Markets, helping them bootstrap new businesses, build technology infrastructure, and building great teams.

I am grateful for the opportunities that the people at Citigroup have afforded me over the past three years.

The new company that I am joining is not very permissive of blogging. As a result, my blogging here will be cut back dramatically. I don't want to give anyone any hints about the technologies that we are using or the technologies that we are considering. However, my pursuit of new and interesting technologies to solve business problems will continue.

©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009


©2009 Marc Adler - All Rights Reserved.
All opinions here are personal, and have no relation to my employer.