Thursday, July 20, 2006

California, Redundant, MacBook(?)

Well, well, well. It's been over two months since my last post on this blog and boy has life been interesting!

As you may remember, I spent six months in California's Bay Area to support one of the products I had been working on. What a fantastic experience (if you're interested in reading about some of the sights I saw in Northern California you'll find some stories and pictures on my personal blog.)

Supporting software, compared to developing, requires a whole different slew of skills and I encourage every software developer to exercise those skills if given the opportunity. It'll make you a better developer. And teach you patience. And - sometimes - make you want to inflict mortal injuries on your users. ;)

When I got back I began regular development work again, slipping back into the role pretty easily because I was motivated (getting in close contact with your customers will do that) and still well practiced (I undertook a lot of mini software projects "on the side" even overseas - if you're a 'true' software dev you'll understand!). But a few weeks later bad news rippled through the office; our sales had continued to underwhelm, restructuring was going to occur and some jobs would be cut.

Long story short; mine was one of them.

Now, I'd been considering leaving the company for quite some time, in fact had I not been given the overseas stint it's unlikely I would have stayed much longer. I'd been at the company for over five years and, while it's a great environment, there are many things I found insanely frustrating. I'm not going to discuss them here suffice to say that I thought many things should be done differently and change was very hard to instigate.

Anyway, for whatever reason, my job evaporated and I'm now on the market. After the initial shock wore off I actually felt somewhat relieved; now I was free to decide what I want to do and go after it.

Which is where I am now. I'm trying to figure out if I join another large company, or a start-up. Or perhaps work for myself (I have many ideas of applications to write!). Or maybe returning to uni to pursue post-graduate studies would be good for me. Not yet sure. But I do know I will be involved in software development in some form or another which leads me to the question that prompted this post.

Can I get a MacBook and effectively develop software using Visual Studio?

You see I really like the new MacBooks. I've used a few and am impressed with their UI and the build quality of the machines themselves. The Unix core also strongly appeals. However I need to work with Visual Studio because it's likely my next job will require it and, simply, it's a productive and effective environment. I'm hoping that VS2005 runs well under Parallels - does anyone know? Have any other developers headed down this path? Or will I be forced to run Boot Camp? Is BC really ready for prime time?

Any information you guys might have would be very much appreciated!