I've not written it here, but those who know me off-line know that I would like to pursue a PhD at some point in my life. I felt that moving to Coldlight would put me closer to that goal. Nothing against Vanguard, but I felt that I wasn't growing that much there. Writing web services are good and fun, but I was using versions of libraries that were written for Java 1.4. I wasn't using anything terribly interesting outside of Spring. Unfortunately, Spring isn't the answer to everything. There are bigger and much more interesting things than Spring in the Java world.
Coldlight does a lot of work with large data sets and machine learning, which happens to be a fairly hot research topic. I figured the move would give me a chance to explore a lot of new technologies and to gain some experience and insight into a possible PhD research topic. The move would also have me working with a PhD who could possibly help guide me into my next transition. After a few rounds of interviewing, I made the switch: I decided to move to Coldlight.
So far, I've been right. I've learned several new technologies, such as Amazon Web Services and Hadoop. I've started learning about different machine learning algorithms by poring through different implementations and papers. Sure, I occasionally get bogged down in busy-work and get overloaded. Overall, though, I feel like I've been growing.
As an added bonus, I've been able to usher in some practices and technologies of my own. I've introduced my team to proper SVN usage, Maven, some pretty cool Eclipse plugins, and a few other things. I'm directly responsible for some of our process improvement initiatives and for automating some of our development headaches.
Feels good, man.