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Career Story: Vice-President Of Small Software Company

Vice-President Of Small Software Company

Job Title: Vice President Of Small Software Company

Type of Company: My company makes a piece of database software to handle subscription fulfillment for publishers.

Education: BA, History, Brandeis University

Previous Experience: None. After college I was a store manager for a bookstore chain that has since gone out of business.

Job Tasks: My primary responsibility is coding and development of a web-based extension for our primary product. In addition I am responsible for the hardware and software maintenance and the upkeep of the server on which our web product is installed. I also oversee the work of 2 other programmers.

My day-to-day activities include reviewing bug reports and feature requests, providing support for our customers (though usually not directly, instead through other members of our staff), and writing code.

We are a small company striving to be self-sufficient and to that end I also provide in-house support for our business systems and network. Troubleshooting an issue that I am not intimately familiar with is, if not frequent, a regular occurrence. The ability to set aside what I am working on in order to keep other aspects of the business in motion are key to what I do.

Other things that I may occasionally do include working on promotional materials, providing training for our customers and representing our company at trade shows.

In a small business it is often necessary to be willing to wear many hats.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best parts of my job are the opportunities to discover an elegant way to code a scenario. Problem solving and the ability to puzzle out someone else's thought process when tracking down a bug are very rewarding. The worst part of the job is dealing with customers when something doesn't meet their expectations, regardless of how inappropriate their expectations may have been.

Job Tips: Don't only learn the newest technology. Potential customers who are established in their own right may not be as up-to-date as an educational environment. It is hard to work against inertia and a company that has been going strong with an established technology for 5-10 years will be slow to change. You need to be able to speak in terms of what will work for them within a framework they are familiar with.

Additional Thoughts: Be willing to step outside your job description and learn at least a little bit about what your co-workers do. The smaller a company you work for, the less well defined your job will be and the more important it is that you are able to help others when needed. Your work experience will be more rewarding if you can feel like you are part of what you do rather than just another drone.

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