I started at SAHSU in Imperial College London in March of last year. I finished there today. Well, yesterday: today was my last day of employment, but I had holiday entitlement to use up. It was a fixed-term contract for a year initially, and they were able to extend it by a month or so, but there was no more funding, and without funding, no job.
So I’m job-hunting again. I had an interview yesterday, and they’ve asked me back for another one next week. I have one with another company next week too, so there are jobs out there. I just need to find the right one.
So if you happen to know of anyone who’s looking for an experienced Java developer with a side-order of Python, and various other skills, point them my way.
Just over a month ago I posted a brief note about job news, saying that more details would be forthcoming. I was, as I said then, just waiting for some paperwork.
It took longer than I expected to get that paperwork sorted out, but I received and returned the contract yesterday afternoon. On Monday I start work at the Small Area Health Statistics Unit (SAHSU), part of the School of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College.
That’s quite a mouthful, but in short I’ll be working on programming something called the The Rapid Inquiry Facility (RIF), which is an open-source tool for studying health statistics.
I’m neither a medical researcher nor a statistician, but I am a programmer (or a software engineer, if you want to be fancy). Our job is to understand the needs of someone — usually referred to as “the business,” but I’m guessing that will be different in my new job — and translate those needs into actions in software. That basic definition doesn’t change according to the problem domain. Whether it’s sending payments from one bank to another, checking a person’s right to work on a government database, or doing something with statistical data about health issues, the programmer’s job is to understand what the user needs and make things happen on a screen.
The big difference for me, I think, will be that in this new role I’ll have the chance to contribute to doing something good in the world. As I said at my interview, I’ve mainly worked in financial software, and while, sure, people need banks, it wasn’t the most socially-usefully thing. The last half-year working at the Home Office had some value, but I was a tiny cog in a huge machine.
At Imperial I’ll be able to feel that I’m actually contributing something useful to society, as well as doing what should be really interesting work.
Oh, and: I’ll be back in Paddington, which I know from my Misys days, and it’s a much shorter commute than to Croydon.
As you may know, I’ve been between contracts lately. Had quite a lot of interest from my CV, but not been so lucky with the tests and interviews.
Yesterday at about 10am a recruiter called me. Today at just after 5pm I was offered the job. A new contract, six months initially, with the likelihood of extending. Sometimes things go fast.