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A Few of My Favorite Things (As a Systems Developer)

My job as a developer at Sparq goes beyond code on a computer screen. There are so many exciting and rewarding things about it, like:

Developing a solution that stands the test of time makes my job that much more worthwhile. Years back, I developed some reports for a client company, and then I found out they were still using them a few years later! This means the technology matched their business need and the solution was relevant for a decent amount of time.

I like helping the business user define requirements and how the solution might be implemented. A lot of times, I’m able to help users think of specific details, related situations, and/or other requirements that might have been left out. Depending on the requirements, different technical designs will be used. If all of the requirements aren’t known and all the “what-ifs” not accounted for, the wrong technical design might be selected. If that happens, there could be two results. Either the solution won’t match what the customer really needs or the project will have to be reorganized during development and probably end up costing a lot more. So, it’s best to form a partnership up-front while requirements are defined and the solution is designed.

I like creating prototypes for our clients. A prototype could be as simple as a PowerPoint presentation that shows how a screen might look. It could be a diagram that shows relationships between different screens. A more advanced prototype could use the technology that will be used to implement the solution to show the basic solution including screen layout and navigation. Sometimes a prototype will demonstrate that the technology works for the business need. Sometimes, it will show technical challenges where “work-arounds” are needed. It could even show that the technology originally selected is not the best one to work with! That’s not necessarily bad news… It’s best to know that all kind of stuff up-front as much as possible.

Many times, upon seeing a prototype, users will come up with more ideas for their application. It’s good to get those ideas up-front also.

When I participate in helping to define the requirements as part of designing the solution, then I learn more about the users’ real needs. It gives me more depth that I can draw upon when making those countless small technical decisions that need to be made when doing actual development. Sometimes I get to work with more people; in that case it helps me know who to ask when questions come up in the future.

I also like to automate routine tasks. I like to provide the user with immediate access to more combinations of information. Providing computer software to do this helps people and it helps the business.

Good software frees up users to exercise their brain power in creative ways. It helps them use time more effectively. It empowers users to respond to the needs of internal and external customers better.

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