Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are you willing to relocate?

I'd consider a remote position that required at most 2 weeks per year away from my family and at least 40% pair programming. Otherwise, the answer is no.

(Note: I don't necessarily mean a maximum of 2 weeks travel—maybe your company is somewhere we'd enjoy visiting?)

Now, if you have work I can do well from Portland, click here for my contact information. (You might want to keep reading this page first, though.)

2. Can I interest you in working at Amazon?


(Seriously, don't you people have a CRM or some sort of candidate-tracking database? I've lost count of the number of Amazon recruiters who've emailed me about positions there, after I've made it extremely clear that I will never work for Amazon.)

3. Can we set up a quick phone call to chat?

I'd prefer to avoid phone calls for a number of reasons:

  • I'm on a maker's schedule, which means interruptions are surprisingly disruptive to my flow.
  • I've already tried to answer some of the most basic questions on this site, and I've probably phrased them more clearly here than I will on the phone.
  • This question is asked frequently enough that my default answer has to be, if not "no," at least "read this first."
  • If and when a chat does seem warranted, I'd prefer to conduct it in person or on video. For me, audio-only calls are the least effective medium for conversation.

4. Are you available for hire as a full-time employee?

I'm always happy to hear about new opportunities, but I'm satisfied with my current situation, and I'm highly selective in general. Over the years, I've developed a good idea of the kind of environment where I thrive: small companies doing work I value, with considerate, capable teammates who pair program regularly and who consider "production code with no test coverage" to be an oxymoron.

If you really want to grab my attention, tell me how you collaborate, how you keep quality high, how you contribute back to the community, and how you help your team continue to learn and grow. (I'm especially interested in mentoring developers who are earlier in their careers; I believe that the best way to be a "10x developer" is to help five teammates get to 2x.) Last but definitely not least, tell me what you do to keep your team diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

For example, I have a tendency to refer people in my network when I find out they're looking for new opportunities. If I refer one of my trans friends, would your health insurance cover their treatment? This is a complex question with a different answer for every health plan, so you'll probably have to do some research.

Here are some other questions I might ask: what are the typical communication patterns on your team? Are meetings typically dominated by a few people with a tendency to interrupt, or do you explicitly seek out everyone's input and try to reach consensus? Do you practice "strong opinions, loosely held?" Do you consider your organization to be a meritocracy? What's the demographic breakdown of your management team? If you have remote team members, do your communication tools allow them to participate effectively? (It's surprisingly difficult to get good audio in a meeting room!)

5. Are you available for contract work?

No, and I probably don't know anybody who is.

6. Do you know anyone else who might be available?

Possibly. It depends on what you're looking for, and on who I've talked to recently. Sometimes I know people who are looking for something new... but the more senior folks I know tend not to be on the market for very long (or, in some cases, ever).