Dream employer past and present

With the demise of Sun following the Oracle's acquisition of it (or resurection depending on your view), I remembered that Sun Microsystem was once a "dream" employer of mine.

With Sun always seemingly on the forefront of technology, inventing(or acquiring) and leading the development of tools I liked; mainly Java but also within Unix, OpenOffice, VirtualBox, MySQL, etc.. And being fond of Open Source they were my "dream" company in the 90ies and early years of 2000.

But that faded over the last decade, so I began pondering what my current dream employers would be.

Current employer

And is it wise to speak/blog about other companies than my current? Would my current employer be offended or even future employers if not mentioned?

As Ive never been known to care too much about political correctness nor company politics I plow on regardless... Anyway would I still be at a company if I did not appreciate it? Maybe when I was a developer padawan I may have had less options, but today I can pick and choose so I don't think my current employer nor future ones will be that offended. :)

Dark past

Actually when I think about it, even Microsoft was a highly thought of employer in my early years. But grew out of that! Even IBM seemed attractive to the naïve student.

Today's dream companies

  1. SpringSource

    Avid user of their framework(s).
    Met a few of their employers whom seem great advocates for the company.
    But wary of VMWare influence, too corporate?
    (Offices in Southampton and now Frimley are close to family and potential future home in Alton, Hampshire.)

  2. Atlassian

    Great tools (Jira,Confluence,etc).
    Great supporters of Open Source projects.
    Influenced by their sponsering of JavaPosse.

  3. Canonical

    The company behind Ubuntu.
    Nice ethos, even the Ubuntu name.
    But perhaps not a Java company?
    And Im defintely not a C man.

  4. Twitter

    Great tool.
    Still a small company.
    But any relevant Java?

  5. Spotify

    Great tool.
    Great solution for future music.
    Interesting future.

  6. Amazon AWS

    Amazon web service, mostly ec2.
    Use it myself for my private servers,
    written documentation on how to use ec2 for others.
    Would be interesting to work with their cloud.

  7. Remember the milk

    Maybe too small?
    But supports distributed work force.

  8. Google

    Now too large. Nice ethos.
    Great innovators.
    Too algorithmic/academic culture.
    Bad reputation for coder burn.

Dream role/position out of scope

Dream/fantasy company/employer does not make working for them an ideal job. The actual position I would work as is obviously the crucial part. Perhaps you can have a dream position in an awfull company and the other way round. I am sure there always some disgruntled workers working for even in general fantastic companies.

Other factors such as job stability, salary and other compensations, location, coworkers, potential personal growth etc are all important but all out of scope for this list.


If I review my list they tend to be smaller companies that have one or more great applications that I use myself. Perhaps they are not great companies, they just make great tools? Quite a few are also Open Source supporters.

And they may be cool companies, but are they working with what I do? Any Java? As I move away from a fulltime developer role and more and more into a system architect role, technology should be not so relevant, but I still mostly prefer Java based solutions (Or similar, Scala, Groovy etc). Due to less need to reinvent the wheel, more mature libraries, easier employment/training of developers, and personal indepth knowledge. And I do not know if these companies use Java, or even if they do if it is a marginalised technology choice.


What is important in the end is job satisfaction and that it supports my life outside work: Family etc. A great Norwegian motto is that "you work to have spare time". Ie the reason you work is to afford having quality spare time. In addition I think it is important that you enjoy what you work with. I do, basically I get paid to do my hobby.

If I am happy in a role the company should not matter. So this list will probably stay as a "dream" list". If I ever did work for one of them, I might actually see sides of the company that might tarnish the "dream" label!

In a perfect world, my dream company would be a charity. But I would feel guilty about demanding a significant salary from such a company. So my requirement of quality of life for me and my family may lower my ethical requirement of a company. But Microsoft is no longer on my list so I have some standards.

Actually anything based in a nice spot (Caribean, Barcelona, Meditereanian, New York) would have a great chance of making my list!
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