A few weeks ago, I received an offer of employment from Google. I’ll be working in the Google Waterloo office, currently located in the Tannery building in downtown Kitchener. It’s a pretty cool office, which I’ve visited several times now for various interviews and meetings.
I’ve worked for small and medium-sized companies before, but before this, the largest company I’ve worked for was Research in Motion (since renamed to BlackBerry), although they’re not as big as they were at their zenith. Google will easily surpass that, but it seems that the culture is in many ways, more like some of the smaller companies that I’ve worked for.
Yesterday was the last day at my current job. While it’s sad to see it go, new opportunities await. Automation control software can be quite challenging, but there isn’t as much emphasis on user interface and user experience as I would like. Still, in the end, it’s a big change.
As dire as news coming from Research in Motion is these days, Waterloo Region has a large number of technology companies actively hiring. We’re really fortunate to have such a variety of local companies here in the Region, and the support of Communitech.
Communitech also has a tech jobs website, http://www.waterlootechjobs.com. This past month, I attended the Waterloo TechVibe Recruitment Event, where a number of local companies were recruiting. How did that work out? After the event, I was in different stages of the interview process with six companies, before accepting a position at Desire2Learn.
I was really impressed by the variety and quality of companies we have in Waterloo Region. We are far more than just the headquarters of RIM. From radiology workflow solutions at Medicalis, to financial account management at Arius Software, to cross-platform mobile voice solutions such as Fongo, the market is definitely hopping.
While it’s true that when people think of Waterloo Region technology companies, RIM is often the first company that comes to mind, there are also local Google offices, as well as OpenText.
While many companies in the region are in the mobile space, such as Kik and enflick, we also have good representation in the medical and financial services fields.
So while the wind may be out of the sails at RIM, the economic outlook for Waterloo Region is still very good, as noted in a recent article in the Waterloo Region Record on a report by the Conference Board of Canada. Will job cuts at RIM hurt? Without a doubt. But the benefit is a more diverse region, where smaller companies are not struggling to find the talent that in the past several years has been going to RIM.
Waterloo Region also has great support for technology startups. Communitech has their Hyperdrive program, Waterloo has the Accelerator Centre, and the University of Waterloo has a Velocity incubator. All of these programs offer entrepreneurs with space and access to established mentors, to help build their businesses. While these don’t provide large employment numbers now, they do provide opportunities for those in the region.
So, this is it. My last day of employment at Research in Motion. After nearly five years at the company, I’m leaving a great team.
Handing in my resignation letter was a liberating experience. It’s definitely preferable to the alternative means of termination. I feel for the two thousand employees laid off earlier this year. I’ve been in their position before, and it’s not a fun place to be.
My time at RIM has seen some interesting transitions. When I started, the original BlackBerry Pearl was the latest device, marking the entry into the consumer market, from a pure enterprise position. Most recently, the Playbook has staked a tenuous position in the tablet market.
It’s been a fun ride, but it’s time to switch streams. As many resignation notices on the tech world state: So long, and thanks for all the fish. There were after all, some delicious fish along the way. As Douglas Soltys pointed out in his post yesterday, there are a number of colleagues that I leave behind. It’s been a blast working with them.
Next Monday I’ll start my next chapter of employment, with a quarter of the commute. I look forward to a fun challenge, one in which I’ll be able to directly see the results of my work in the company. That’s part of the challenge in working for a smaller company as well. There is more responsibility, but a greater stake in the rewards.