Thursday, August 4, 2011

Infragistics, XAML, jQuery and a job offer

Finished reading Eloquent Javascript and I also read CLR via C#, which I recommend highly to all C# developers.  A lot of job interviews and recruiter calls come and go.  But, I want to memorialize one in particular.

Todd Snyder from Infragistics e-mailed me and invited me to apply for a consultant position over there.  Infragistics is a .NET UI custom control vendor and they have a consulting group which travels all over the place helping customers to implement great front-ends with the Infragistics toolset.  I was nervous about the 50% travel part, but it was a unique opportunity to possibly work with bleeding edge developers and meet fascinating people in my travels.  I was excited about the opportunity.  They asked me up front about my salary requirements which I communicated to them.  After that, I had 3 phone interviews and an onsite interview, followed by a job offer -- more than 25% below my salary requirement,  because, they said, I don't know XAML.  So, I was talking to my nephew who works at Microsoft and I said to him, "How long would it take me to learn XAML?"  And he said that when he was a teaching assistant at Brown University, he covered it in about 3 hours.  Anyway, I went back to Infragistics and tried to work out an agreement that once I learned XAML, could I get an earlier review and a bump in salary at that point?  They refused to consider this.  So, on Wednesday, I declined the offer.

I was very sad for the past two days, constantly second guessing myself, questioning the opportunities I might have passed up.  It was a big decision and there was a lot in balance.  On the positive side, it was an opportunity for great growth professionally and personally, working with smart individuals who are passionate about their code.  I really enjoyed the tech interview with Todd and I would have loved to have worked with him.  On the negative side, I would be away from my family much longer than ever before and they tried to low-ball me on the salary.  And the reason?  That I didn't know XAML?  That cannot be the true reason.

So, I said to my nephew, "Benjamin, do you think its worth learning XAML?"  And he said to me exactly what I was thinking, "Nah, I think you'd do better investing in MVC."  Hmmm, yeah....  Infragistics is heavily invested in Silverlight and XAML.  They made a bet on that technology alongside Microsoft and, if Infragistics is wrong, Infragistics is going to have to do a lot of catch up, because their MVC and jQuery toolset is very limited at this point.  These are reasons I tell myself that I made the right decision.

A job description came into my inbox yesterday.  The job was in NYC, but the description captured my eye.  It said "searching for a senior-level front end web developer with extensive experience coding in Javascript, with a focus on using data-driven plugins from the jQuery library."  It called for "mastery of front-end web development in HTML and CSS, with a strong knowledge of Javascript coding and use of the jQuery library to interface with web services and implement large data retrieval and display capabilities."  Ahh, yes. A front-end that consumes web services via JSON using jQuery.  The future is here.  I said I was interested, if only they would consider a 50/50 onsite / work from home scenario.  Never heard back.

In honor of that job description, I am announcing that I have rewritten the part of my www.Mild.net homepage that displays the 5 latest blog summaries.  I threw out the server-side ListView that was populating my blog posts and I replaced it with a jQuery.ajax call to blogger via JSON populating the webpage via Microsoft's templating contribution to jQuery.  So, I am now consuming this blog on my homepage completely on the client-side.  I have made lemonade out of lemons.  Three cheers for jQuery and AJAX.  Hip, Hip, Horray!

And, on the job front, there are still four irons in the fire.  Hopefully, one of them will pan out and I will announce when I have some news to share.  Until then, back to the membership provider project.  Or maybe, I will take a side trip, and rewrite www.Mild.Net using MVC.

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