Category Archives: Career

2015 Year In Review

It’s new year again, and obligatory new year resolution time. I think I’m already past that practice: will try to put down iPhone and Macbook more when I’m at home though (I was referring to this comment on 2014 review: Leave the iDevices/mac if I can). I’ve eaten my own words on this one. My younger daughter is at a fun age (17.5 months), being a toddler learning to talk, I’ll play with her more, and of course continue my weekend chauffeur job for my older daughter (skating, dancing/pre-ballet etc).

Job Change
I changed my job again this year. I was not expecting it at the beginning of the year or did any planning. But it worked out so far. Again I hope I can stay at my current place longer :-)

Personal finance
I stopped contributing to the Exxon mobile DRIP program; started put same money ($100 per month) into IBM DRIP program instead, still using ComputerShares. Was able to save some money in the emergency fund account. But still spent quite some on the following items.

Visited Disneyland;

Got a piano and ready to start piano lesson for Serenity in 2016;

Replaced AC and furnace, the new one (American Standard, same as the Trane brand) works like a charm, also bought two mattresses (one from Mattress Firm local store, another one from US-mattress online store). Long term it’s going to save some money on electricity as this one is more energy efficient.

Workout, exercise, swim
I have been doing swimming for a few years at JCC (both Chesterfield and Creve Coeur locations), as I live near the Creve Coeur location, and I worked near the Chesterfield location last few years. That has been changed as the new baby (July 2014), and new job requirement (June 2015). I have been using UP Band, Fitbit app on iPhone 5s, and in June this year I got Fitbit Charge the same time I changed job. Trying to get 10,000 steps per day per the recommendation. Still try to get some swimming as time permits.

I started walking in the trails at Laumeiers Sculpture park since last Winter: trying to breath some fresh air during lunch break at work. The new place does not have a nature trail like the Sculpture park, but it does have a one mile paved trail. It’s good enough for me. I usually walk at lunch break, when weather permits. Otherwise I would walk the stairs, as not good as outside, but it does the job. One thing I learned over the years is we need to take care of our own health while working, because at the end of the day, we need that to provide for our family, also to enjoy things (this hits home especially whenever I get sick). There is an excellent “Under the Radar” podcast on this ergonomics topic. I recall at my old work place, my coworker had surgery on the capal-tunnel (a common injury from using too much keyboard or mouse). Back pain is also common among office workers (sitting too long). The walk/stretch from time to time is a good way to prevent/reduce that.

Fitbit_badges_2015

Kids
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2012 Year in Review

I took this cue from Kurby Turner, the independent Mac/iOS developer, as I think it might be helpful to reflect a year’s work, life, effort, etc. As the old Chinese saying goes “Ji Wang Kai Lai” (learn from past, and look forward to the future).

New job: Software Development
Today is my one year anniversary at my new employer. Looking back, from the initial ramp up to more comfortable work on my own pace, and then deliver the first iOS (iPad) app to the field, back end work, report work and support. I feel good about my effort and the support I got from my coworkers. Sometimes my wife will ask me “why it took so long for you to complete a project”? Because it’s not trivial to do it.

I also wrote a few blog posts on iOS app development, and the back end (.Net) web service. I plan to do the same as times goes. Generally speaking, now I have more confidence doing customized app development, full life cycle, and from front to back end (all tiers).

Family
Our daughter goes to the Hope Montessori Infant Toddler Community at Creve Coeur (off Manson road, near Olive Blvd). We are truly blessed with the teachers and staffs at the Hope family (I consider them as family, both adults and children, because sometimes they are better than family :-) . Serenity (Yoyo) learned English and all kinds of things there, which laid a good foundation for her future. For us, we learned parenting lessons there. Sometimes I wonder how much quality time I spent there, from afternoon pickup, to field trip, to social (work-day, Fettuccine, Montessori and Vino, the FMV movie). We watched the FMV movie with great fun, my wife and my friends (couple) did not attend the FMV event, and really enjoyed the movie after I showed them.

Trips
We did one family vacation, and I had 2 business trips in year 2012. We went to Orange Beach, Alabama in the Memorial Day weekend, with Chinese friends. We drove there. It’s funny Yoyo would not go to bathroom on the road, she wants to use bathroom in the hotel or condo (destination). For the business trip, I visited 2 mines in West Virginia, the 2 hours I spent in underground mine is both interesting and a bit unsettling. That’s the first time I visited mines (both surface and underground). In November I visited Las Vegas, stayed in Palazzo (Venetian), which I stayed 3 years ago when I attended AU (Autodesk University, the developer/user conference) in 2009.

Personal Finance
As I wrote this post, I found I made both good moves and bad moves on this topic. I did well in 401k accounts (because I did nothing). But not in the Scottrade brokerage and IRA accounts (because I tried to do too much). Overall I still did ok, because majority of my assets are in 401k (both existing accounts and new account).

Today (01-03-2012) as I listened to Charlie Ellis on the Consuelo WealthTrack podcast, I can not agree more on one comment from Charlie: we all strive to be above average in school or at work. In investing being average is actually not too bad. I understand what meant: 80% of mutual funds perform below average (the index), hedge fund and individual investors are not doing better. So in other words, being average is actually in the top 20% :-)

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Felt blessed: looking back at 2010

It’s Christmas eve 2010. Baby already fell asleep. Wife is tweaking her new Toshiba R705 laptop, and I was reading some Navigation controller stuff while watching TV (PBS Christmas program, KMOV news).

This year is obviously one of the most significant years in my 13 years stay in this country. In early March, we got a baby girl. Before that I changed job after 15 months stint at a decent size software company. Things did not work out as good as I thought in Oct/Nov 2008 (the middle of financial crisis). The good thing is, after some hard work and luck, I got a new job at local software company, and got to do what like to do.

In July I signed up the Apple iOS developer program, paid the $99 annual fee and became more seriously on iOS app development. I have thought about it and bought Macbook and iPhone 3G back in Jan 2009, but between my old job, our expectation of baby, and my shear inaction, I did not get to finish the Beginning iPhone Development book in 2009. I started fresh again in 2010 (got the new iPhone 3 dev book, for one). Since the birth of baby, I felt more and more the importance of spending time with family. I think iOS app dev gave me a decent shot at this desire. In middle Oct. I went to the city of brotherly love Philadelphia (again, I went there in May with my in-laws), for the Voice that Matter iPhone dev conference. I think I learned quite a few things there, besides technology, there is design and the business of going indie, which both are important to me (being from developer background).

Looking forward, baby is growing much faster than I thought, especially since she started to crawl and stand. She likes my gadgets (iPhone, iPad, and macbook), much more than her own vtech laptop. I hope I can spend more time with her before she grows up.

How to find a job in this difficult market?

Particularly in the IT (software development) field. Obviously the No. 1 thing is “never give up”. I started looking about 9 months ago when I felt “the need to look”: both for defense (fear of lay off) and offense (opportunities better matching my interest and skill). I had to admit finding a job is not an easy thing in this environment. Why look for another job while one still has a job (besides the main reason behind the change)? The simple answer is, only when a person still has a job or other sources of income, he/she will have the space to look for something better.

job search logo
(Source: Brandies U.)

Strategy and Job search sites I used

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China Investment Co. is hiring

Here is their web site. Unfortunately the decriptions are in Chinese, and they require resume in Simplified Chinese. The positions are based in Beijing.

Thanks to my wife who found their Ads at WSJ yesterday. It says apply at their web site: www.china-inv.cn . The application deadline is June 28. As name implies, most are financial related postions, but they do have a few law, IT postions as well.

China Investment Co. pic

If you never heard of China Investment Co., they are China sovereign wealth fund who invested in Blackstone (pre-IPO; NY Times) and Morgan Stanley (2007/9; ChinaDaily).

How to find a job in the recession?

Compiled from various sources in last few months. I read those articles first from Yahoo Finance career-work section. A lot goodies there.

(AP) Even in a recession, some companies are hiring. Quote:

Help wanted: pharmacists, engineers and nurses. Believe it or not, even some banks are hiring, at least for their technology teams.

(CNN Money) They are hiring.

(Money magazine) Smart job strategies to avoid layoffs.

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EDS no longer an independent company

EDS logo

Who is EDS?
EDS (NYSE:EDS), Electronic Data System, the IT service company founded by legendary Texan Ross Perot with $1,000, at once time was No. 2 US IT service provider (second to IBM). Today HP (NYSE:HPQ) announced buying EDS for $13.9 billion.

Among many things, EDS was famous for its hiring of former Navy/Marine, their tough work ethic, and its college graduate “system engineer” training program. Its current vice chairman Jeff Heller (former COO) was a graduate of that program. Interestingly, EDS was also my former employer: the company I worked for was a subsidiary of EDS for a few years.

Business wise, EDS has many goverment contracts (started from Medicare), from US federal and state goverment, to UK and other European countries. Industry wise, EDS was once the IT subsidiray of General Motor (bought by GM in 1984), before its spinoff from GM on 1996.

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