If you follow me on twitter you might already have understood something: last week I gave my two months notice to my employer, Avanade Italy. I've been working with them since the end of 2007, and during the almost 2 years and half I learned a lot. Especially I added to my skills-set some competencies I never had the chance to practice working for a web agency and for a product company: the so called consulting skills. I also had the great opportunity to coach on the job some junior developer that just come out from university (or with little experience): some were more receptive, other less, but at the end I hope they learnt some of the principles of good coding and software design.
And also worked with many great colleagues, some which I’m really going to miss.
So, why am I leaving?
Avanade is a great company, so why am I leaving?
- Web Development - In Avanade one thing was really lacking: some real web development. I'm a web developer at heart, and in Italy all of the "real" web development (where with real I mean big B2C websites or big online magazine/newspaper) is developed by web agencies like the one I worked before going to NZ.
- Product expert vs software developer - It seems like all the big consulting companies are trying to sell solutions based on products that require very little to almost no development work: like SharePoint, CRM, BizTalk, Commerce Server and so on. I’m not interested in becoming an expert on customizing a specific product: I’m more interested in “custom development” and in the way people work together.
- Italy is getting worse and worse every day - Italy is a mess: it might have great natural and historical places but if you are not a tourist Italy is not a good place to live.
- No “my office” - And the last reason is that the working condition of the consulting industry are really bad: 90% of your time is spent at the customer site, working a small 15” laptops, sitting in temporary places, with just enough space to fit your laptop and move the mouse. And I really miss a place I can call “my office”.
And where am I going?
I think you might have heard of my new employer: it’s called the European Union, and specifically I’ll be working in at the Council of the European Union.
I applied to the open competition for becoming an EU official in the field of IT when I was still in New Zealand, in summer 2007. It took one year and half to pass all the stages of the competition, and then one year for someone to pick me up from the pool of possible employees. Starting from the the 1st of April, I’ll join the IT department as Team Lead and Architect of the team that is building all the public facing web sites of the Council… and as you have probably seen yourself, there is lot of work to do.
So, after more then 3 years I’ll work on public websites again. And my first task will be moving the team away from the VSS Hell and trying to steer it to a more Agile way of developing software.
Moving away from Italy
But I’m not only changing job, I’m also changing country: I’m going to live in Brussels, Belgium.
Unlike 3 years ago, I’m not going abroad because I want to live in that specific country, but because I want to go away from Italy: I already know I’ll miss the Alps, the lakes, but, as I said before, living here is becoming very difficult. So I’ll consider myself in self-exile and I’ll come back to Italy if/when things get better.
And, if you were wondering, I’m moving with my wife Daniela, which resigned as well, and will look for a job as UX in Belgium after she learn some French.
What changes in my development community involvement?
A nice thing about Belgium is that there is a vibrant development community, both in the .NET space and in the opensource space. I already know some developers from Belgium, like Ivan which I met in New Zealand, and some other MVPs I know through blogs and twitter. And I’ll try to know more of them at the upcoming MVP Summit in two week.
And also being in the middle of Europe, it means it will be easier to go to all the conferences held in London, Amsterdam and in Scandinavia.
But I’ll also keep on working together with Emanuele and Claudio to organize the future editions of the Italian ALT.NET Conference.
PS: Since many people are asking: “So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish” is the title of a book from the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series written by Douglas Adams. But also a geeky way to say goodbye with an hidden meaning.
PPS: If you know Italian, there is also a similar announcement on my Italian blog: Self-Exile.