TippingPoint – 2008

Subject: I need a Python/Perl/Automated tools specialist for my client in Austin. Please read!

At the time, I did not know perl very well, nor python at all. I did have tcl, for what that was worth, and shell scripting. The body of the message continued:

Please review the job description below and let me know if you feel you would be a good fit. This position is more focused on the Python, Perl and automated skill sets.


Tipping Point


6 month Contract to Hire (Will go perm)


TippingPoint is looking for a toolsmith to round out the team developing our next-gen deep packet inspection engine. The successful candidate will be someone who enjoys rapidly developing tools to improve day-to-day effectiveness of the people around them. This includes not only developing tools as asked, but identifying opportunities to improve the overall development process.

Contract to hire scared me; I needed a steady paycheck.

Looked at the requirements. The big one that stuck out at me (and they had it bolded):

Expert in either Python or Perl, but must be proficient in both.

So, somebody would rather not hire somebody to learn these on the job.

They also wanted experience with Lua, which I don’t and never have had.

I wrote back:

My expertise is in tcl, so there would be a learning curve with the perl and python pieces. I don’t even know what Lua is. Otherwise, my technical skills are a decent fit.

My goal, however, is to be a manager. This is probably not a great fit at this point.
The recruiter did not give up. He then sent me a job listing for Lead QA Engineer. Standard template, but something bothered me about it, and I included it in my response:
– 10+ years of testing multi-tier Web-based systems would require people who worked on the original multi-tier Web-based system, since the current J2EE or .net infrastructures are only 10 years old. I only have a couple of years exposure, and not an individual contributor level. I have also not done a lot of individual contribution using browser automation tools.
I gave him my resume and salary requirements, but mentioned that I was much more interested in management. He came back with feedback from the client:

1)  We don’t need an existing QA manager, unless they are really willing to do hands-on work.

2)  We need someone with scripting skills:  Unix bash, Perl, Python, etc.

3)  We need someone that knows Linux pretty well.

4)  Ideally, we need someone that is a lead QA that could become a manager as we grow.

So much for my 5 years+ as a manager.

I did not hear from them again.


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