Jul 06

Shibboleth Resumé

HeadshotResumés are funny things because the one thing they don’t tell you is the one thing you want to know. As an employer, what I suspect I really want is a way to separate wheat from chaff. I want a way to say “Yes, fine, you have all the necessary checkboxes in place, but are you one of the good ones?” Even if you allow yourself the confidence necessary to believe that you are indeed one of the good ones, a resume is a terrible medium since, stylistically, it tends to force people down the path of enumeration-sans-substance. What is needed is a shibboleth. Don’t tell me which certifications you have, tell me that you are part of the culture. Don’t tell me what programming languages you know, tell me that you can kick ass and take names. Everyone who isn’t a bozo (seriously, go read that if you’re ever hiring someone) should be trying to hire the brightest lights in the building, so show them how you roll, or find another job to apply for.

That is how I would like things to go down, but even very hip HR folk would have trouble with a shibboleth resumé, I’m guessing. If I were applying for a job tomorrow, it would probably be something involving usability, security, and overall technology development. The resumé I’d send to a shibboleth-friendly company might read like this (standard disclaimers about the fact that any decent resumé almost automatically sounds boastful and egocentric; my apologies): Continue reading →

Mar 06

On the delicate art of not sucking


For those who don’t know me, some introduction. I am an IBM usability specialist. I am also a bit of a computer security hobbyist. I am lots of other things besides, but for the purposes of this article, these two are the relevant bits. As a usability specialist, I work on WebSphere Integration Developer, possibly one of IBM’s most usable software products to date, certainly one of the biggest usability challenges since it involves taking Nth-generation IT concepts like services-oriented architecture and loosely-bound component based application design in a J2EE application environment, and making it accessible to business people without programming skills. As a security hobbyist, I have worked (informally and unpaid) with companies like Cisco and FedEx to fix security issues in their apps before some nastier person got ahold of them. I really don’t want this to sound like strutting because it isn’t, there are lots of people in each domain with much more impressive resumes. It’s just an attempt to establish bona fides so that the next thing I say won’t sound totally stupid.

Security and Usability are basically the exact same kind of problem, and you’re probably doing them wrong.
Continue reading →