Thursday 24 July 2008

We're hiring

Are you looking for a new outlet for your talent? Is your current role not stretching you enough? Then read on: I might have just the thing for you. Paragon Simulation, the company I work for, is looking to recruit smart developers with the right blend of mathematical, analytical, and people skills to power our next round of business modelling work - and a new product development.

The official vacancies page has more details. The headlines are:

  • The job is based at our offices in Halesowen, near Birmingham (in the UK), just off M5 junction 3 - Google shows you where.
  • We're offering up to £31k, or up to £43k for the Senior role - both roles with additional bonuses and benefits.
  • We're looking for people with a strong maths or stats background. If you've previously been involved in some kind of computer modelling, especially business modelling, you'll be ideal.
  • You'll be working on a variety of modelling projects (possibly involving simulation tools like Witness or Flexsim or even building bespoke modelling tools in C#/.Net), with opportunities to get involved in the development of our new product (still under wraps at the moment).

If you're interested in applying please send your CV to me (after de-obfuscating the following address): sam [dot] jack [snail-shell symbol traditionally associated with email addresses] paragonsimulation [dot] com. Please include "Simulation Job" in the subject line.

But before you do that you might like to know a bit more about the company, and what we do.

Our Work

Paragon sells its services to companies in a number of sectors, ranging from the Nuclear, through the Environmental, to the Financial and Public Sectors. You should see the case studies if you want to get a feel for the breadth of work that we do. As you can imagine, hopping between sectors like this presents a very interesting challenge to the people that work here: clients have often commented on how quickly we learn the intricacies of their unique business - but that's what it takes to create the insightful models they need.

You can read more in an earlier post about my experience on a couple of modelling projects.

Working for Paragon

I find Paragon a great company to work for. There aren't many of us (currently fewer than 20), but as a Company we have an influence beyond our size. All the organisations we work for are very much larger than ours, and we engage them at the highest level. Everybody on a project has to make a strong contribution in many different roles: analyst, developer and tester. We love to find better ways of working: if you have great ideas, and want to be heard, this is the place to be.

We have a relaxed working environment: open plan, no dress-code, flexible working hours, table football in the kitchen - that kind of thing. There's a good personal development program in place with regular reviews and a clearly laid out career path. We try to ensure that everybody has some scheduled "Personal Development Time" every month to work on something not directly related to their current projects - reading, learning, working on projects of their own. As part of this, the company makes it very easy to get hold of any new books we need for the job. Here's the stack on my desk at the moment (we do also have bookshelves, by the way - I just feel cleverer when I have a pile of books to back me up):


In terms of the software development environment, we're very much a Microsoft shop. We're fortunate to have the kind of environment which means that we can take up new technologies where ever we think there's a case for them. So we can lay claim to all the latest buzzwords like Visual Studio 2008, .Net 3.5, C#3.0, LINQ, LINQ-to-SQL, WPF, WCF, SQL Server 2005, VSTO, etc., etc. It goes without saying that we have all the staples like Version Control and Bug tracking in place. We also have our Build Server that does Continuous Integration (using CruiseControl.Net) and some automated testing (we favour MbUnit). And you might like to know that we're all Resharper fans round here.

For Simulation work, I've already mentioned that we use Witness and Flexsim, both Discrete Event Simulation packages. Witness is one of the most mature Simulation engines, and is very good at building models that are configurable at run time. It can be programmed in a language that has similarities to Basic. Flexsim is a relative newcomer. Its speciality is 3d visualisation of processes, so we use it when we really want to engage a customer in how their process will look when it is in operation.

Then there's spreadsheet modelling. We have been using Excel with VBA for these kinds of projects, but with some of our recent models hitting 120Mb in size, I think we're pushing the limits of what this combination of technologies can achieve. If you have experience in using other technologies (perhaps VSTO) for serious spreadsheet modelling, or other ideas about how we can manage such large beasts, we'd love to hear from you.

So what are you waiting for? Get your CV up to date, and get it to me.


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