Finding skilled pythonistas for micro-jobs?

John Machin sjmachin at
Sun Nov 19 12:39:25 CET 2006

darran wrote:
> I'm a partner in a design and technology studio that creates
> large-scale interactive exhibits for museums.  We are agile - by
> choice.   For big 6-12 month projects, we try and secure exceptional
> python talent on contract.  The python job board addresses this need.
> Every few weeks though I run up against a bite-sized programming
> problem begging to be farmed out by our small company.  The tasks
> themselves span the gamut from data wrangling (format conversions) to
> SWIG wrappers to Twisted to pyOpenGL.  Often the task is 1 or 2 days of
> work.  Not really big enough to warrant a job search, a contract, or
> even someone's full-time attention.  The type of problem that is
> perfectly suited to a CS student or daytime programmer looking to make
> some extra money.  Presently, when one of these jobs pops up, I just
> add 8-16 hours to my work week - much to the dismay of my 3-year old
> daughter who'd rather I pay someone and go to the park.  The nice thing
> though about our bite-sized jobs is that the goals are perfectly clear
> because we are religious in our use of unit testing and test-driven
> development.
> Any suggestions then for locating skilled Python/C++ programmers for
> these small (micro) jobs?

A few entries from my own cynic's dictionary:

Agile: the accounts dept displays fancy footwork when the bill is

Religious: Religions in IT come and go; the only tenets universally
held by customer management have always been the Divine Right of Kings
and Papal Infallibility, both applied of course only to themselves

Clear goals, unit testing as applied to "data wrangling" -- a nonsense.
Specs are prepared that are only tangentially relevant to the task and
have obviously not been derived from any inspection of the data.

Example (had allegedly been peer reviewed and mgt reviewed):
"Placenames [in Australia] shall be validated to contain only letters
and spaces" [or words to that effect] -- never mind no mention of case.
Never mind that a moment's armchair reflection would have indicated
that apostrophe and hyphen might be reasonable candidates. Australia is
not heavily populated. Then (and now) the full list of placenames and
postcodes needed for the application was printed at the back of
larger-city phone directories, as found on the desks of  "business
analysts". It was available on floppy disk and in paper booklets from
the Post Office. I believe that it was even available in Braille, so
that the proverbial Blind Freddie would have been able to tell them
that the *first* entry was [then] "A1 MINE SETTLEMENT".


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