My personal experience

“Jack of all trades, master of none is usually better than a master of one.”

So the original post in this thread is the official job posting this is my personal experience with my soon-to-be-former I’m the developer currently working for CRL and I’m leaving next month to go back to school. I’m trying to help my employers find a replacement for me here at DCC. If the job sounds interesting to you, feel free to find me in person, msg me on Twitter at @geoffhing or on the IRC channel at ghing.

Drupal.org calls Drupal “Community Plumbing” and this job feels like being a data plumber. The primary Drupal work with this job is maintaining and augmenting the infrastructure for the center’s new Drupal-based web site, http://www.crl.edu. However, while working at CRL, I’ve also had to write Python code with BeautifulSoup to prepare lots of legacy content for import, migrate MSSQL databases to MySQL, do custom theming for the CONTENTdm collections management system, and maintain ASP code written in VBSCRIPT. If you like learning new things, new platforms, and a whole new domain of knowledge (the library world), this job might be for you.

Future Drupal-related work that you would likely do might include:

  • Writing custom Drupal modules to present legacy databases into Drupal
  • Integrating the Drupal-based website with a constituent relations management (CRM) or association management system
  • Implementing LDAP-based centralized authentication (and maybe SSO) with Drupal, Confluence, and legacy system
  • Administer the Linux boxes running Drupal and legacy web systems

Adapting to a full time job has been difficult coming from the flexibility of part time work, but as far as full-time gigs go, the Center for Research Libraries is very generous with their vacation time and offers pretty good health and dental insurance benefits.

The Center is located in Hyde Park, so its a bit of a commute, but I’ve appreciated being able to see other parts of Chicago. CRL is a gender and culturally diverse workplace which I feel like I haven’t gotten to fully participate in because of my short tenure, but it’s been a welcome change from other places I’ve worked.

There are some parts of the job that I found difficult. First, you will be called in to do occasional content wrangling, formatting, and input. There also aren’t always clear, cohesive technological goals, so you have to be good at communicating with people and interpreting ideas. Second, CRL is not a big FLOSS shop and there is a lot invested in Microsoft infrastructure. The administration is open to FLOSS platforms, but you will have to justify using these platforms and take into account very limited developer resources in making platform decisions. Navigating this reality has been really helpful to me, and made me a more pragmatic developer, but it has been challenging. If you aren’t flexible and a good listener, you will struggle.