I start a new job today! I have joined a small software company as their Director of Quality Assurance. I won’t name the company – it’s not top secret or anything, but a lot of what I do is confidential research and development. I will say that this is a very small company getting off the ground, and they want me to build their testing organization. (Programmers write the code, and testers make sure the code works.) It’s a great opportunity for me!
I’ve gotten ahead in my career by moving from company to company, which is typical in the software industry. So over the years I’ve had a lot of different business cards. I still have some from most of the places I’ve worked. Since I don’t write about my work very much here, I thought you might enjoy hearing about my work history as told through my business cards.
My first job after college was for a software company in Terre Haute called Applied Computing Devices. My business cards from ACD are long gone, but they were the only ones to use my full name: James W. Grey, III. Our customers were mostly telephone companies, and we made software (and some hardware) that managed their networks. I wrote user manuals for them. I have never worked with a more brilliant group of people. Too bad brilliance alone isn’t enough to keep a company afloat.
So I moved to Indianapolis to edit …For Dummies books for IDG Books Worldwide.
I soon learned that publishing-company politics weren’t for me, and so I escaped back to software. Marketing Resources Plus has been around for at least 20 years now, which is a mighty long time in this business. They are now owned by Arbitron, the radio ratings company, and they still make software that media buyers use to place ads on TV, on radio, and in print. My radio background really helped me in this job. I wrote online user documentation.
I’m bummed out that I can’t find a card from my time at Made2Manage Systems, Inc., because it was a great time in my career. M2M software helped midsize manufacturers run their busineses. This was my first management job; I led their technical writers. After a few years they gave me the chance to return to my technical roots and lead a team of software testers, which is how I broke into that line of work.
Unfortunately, the tech bubble burst while I worked at M2M, and soon the company couldn’t afford to pay me. I spent three months unemployed before AdminaStar Federal, which was owned by WellPoint, the nation’s largest health insurance company, hired me to test a call-center application they were building for the government.
After a year, I was promoted to manager over the testers.
I built on skills I learned at AdminaStar Federal when I took a position with Baker Hill Corporation, leading their test automation team. In test automation, believe it or not you make software that tests other software! Community banks use Baker Hill software to manage their portfolios.
Someone who worked for me at Made2Manage had moved on to a company called Aprimo, and she helped me land a quality assurance management job there. Aprimo software helps marketers manage their campaigns and measure return on investment. At Aprimo I’ve led all kinds of testing – manual, automated, performance (how fast will it run?), and security. I even briefly managed technical writers again.
And now I’ll have another business card to add to my collection.
I sometimes say jokingly that I’ve worked
23 years in the software salt mines.