While I am an inveterate techie, I’m also strongly rooted in the humanities and have a broad range of “soft skills” which, while harder to measure and commoditize, are to my eyes, vastly more valuable than any fungible tech stack that expires faster than a carton of milk.
I really like teaching. My highest ambition is to take complicated things and make them seem obvious. Communication skills are much like a sense of humour – you can only convince people you’ve got them by demonstrating them. I speak well, even to crowds.
Most importantly, I’m a skilled listener – I am focused and present when someone is speaking to me in a way that I’ve been told is rare. This, more than anything, is crucial to good software development – making sure the client, be that my boss or customer, has been understood and feels like they’ve been understood.
Design, to me, is a more expansive discipline than simply type and layout. I’ve had a passion for solid design with a focus on usability throughout my career. I think the best evidence of this is when I train clients on applications I’ve built – I usually do little more than watch as they navigate through the system. I’ve run usability testing and handled UX for a variety of projects – often simultaneously handling the business analysis.
I want to build things that provide real value to their users. Either through solving a vexing problem or providing genuine joy and fun. Because I’ve worked with so many different organizations in a variety of contexts, I’ve learned a great deal about what IT can and cannot do for an organization. I’ve also learned about how to strategize about IT within the context of business operations.
I’ve found many IT professionals simply turn over what the client wants without regard to whether it will actually serve their needs – or worse, they become dismissive of the need in the first place. Equally problematic is to prefigure the solution based on the technology skills of the professional rather than the needs of the client.
I’ve worked with many organizations to not simply build the tool they desire – but to make sure we build the best tool to solve the problem. Moreover, I’ve identified business opportunities enabled by IT solutions which enhance the operations of my clients.