I was Team Lead of a Software Engineering group at Aptima. Been there for about 3½ years. It’s a very cool company in a lot of ways, because there was a lot of scientific researchy stuff going on there. Mostly human factors, performance assessment, training, organizational and team design, modeling, and predictions. My group was the Presentation, Web, and Language Engineering group, so many of my projects required natural language processing, metadata analysis, extraction, and transformation, and web/web service interfaces.
It was mostly project work, so there was always something new coming up. The majority of their business is SBIR contracts for the military(ARI, AFRL,ONR, etc), NASA, DOT, and the medical industry. They also have a great bunch of people there. Very few that I would rather not work with. Great benefits (and great parties), too. As much as I loved all these things about Aptima, some aspects of working there were affecting me in a negative way. I wouldn’t call them bad things about working at Aptima, since most people who work there love doing so, but things that affected me more than others, and affected me more over time.
The first company I interviewed with was kind of a joke. I knew it was a non-starter, and I half did the interview for entertainment value. It’s a two person company that wanted to put together a very complicated website for the real estate industry (bad timing, if you ask me), they had no technological assets (the lucky Employee #3 would have to hire the rest of the team), hadn’t thought through the business model, and wanted it all working in about 3 months.
The second company I interviewed at was Metatomix, and that’s where I start working on 12/01/08. A recruiter contacted me about this position who found my account on LinkedIn (which I’m very active on). From their website:
Metatomix solutions intelligently link data from existing disparate systems to create a common semantic understanding of your information across the enterprise, providing you a 360° view of your business information. As a result, business applications can leverage information that comes not just from a single product system or data store, but from across all data sources. The combined data – including relationships and correlations that were previously undiscovered – can actually create new, insightful information. This information can be added to or modified as needed, without extensive software coding…providing an extremely flexible information foundation for your business applications.
In short, they have an underlying set of technologies for managing, merging, correlating, and visualizing metadata. They have industry-specific products that sit on top of that technology for the financial industry, law enforcement, life sciences, Fascinating stuff. To me, anyway 😉
Most of this technology works with structured data; data that’s already been broken down in to metadata, records and fields, rows and columns. However, they recently purchased a set of technologies and software assets that takes unstructured data (free form text, documents, etc) and extracts metadata from it. It also came with some wonderful data visualization, drill-down, and correlation tools. And that’s where I come in. After spending some time learning the existing products and technologies, I’ll be heading up a new group in charge of these new technologies, expanding them and integrating them into the existing product line. I think this is going to be a great opportunity for me to play with some pretty cool toys in an environment that meets my needs better.
Leaving Aptima was very hard for me I left a lot of friends there, and some pretty big perks. As the stress of all the transitioning and documenting fades, I’m slowly becoming more confident in my decision. I’m still going to do some consulting for them. Oh, and if there are any excellent Software Engineers in the Boston area looking for work, let me know. Both companies are hiring.