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Meet Mark: Senior Microsoft Technologies Development Consultant

Meet Mark: Mark is a standout consultant who has been working with Oxford for 12 years. His expertise is primarily in Microsoft development technologies such as .Net and SQL Server DBA, and he also has experience with JavaScript web development and mobile app development. In 2005, Mark connected with his original Oxford recruiter, Amy, when Oxford’s Cleveland office was staffed by only a few individuals. Although he wasn’t interested in consulting at the time, Amy continued to check in every six months to keep in contact. Eventually, an opportunity arose with an Oxford client Mark had previously worked for as an employee. The client was attempting to reach him and in discussion with Amy, his name came up. Amy got in contact with Mark, and he took a week's vacation from his full-time position to assist the client. From then on, he continued to develop his career in consulting.

Meet Mark

“I found out that consulting companies have good people working for them who work hard to find the next job for you while you’re on an assignment, and take care of things you just don’t have time to do.” Having a partnership with a dedicated recruiter who works with you, and for you, is the reason that Mark decided to continue with a career in consulting.

Mark has worked for several consulting companies over the years, but the reason he chooses Oxford is that the “people, recruiters, and account representatives do a great job of balancing client and consultant needs. They review potential opportunities with me to evaluate if I am a good fit.” He has a very good relationship with his recruiters, which is evidenced by his long tenure at Oxford.

One of the reasons the demand for Mark is so high is due to his desire to continuously learn about new technologies and trends. “I have kept up with development and technology. I started working with mainframe computers in the 70s, with punch cards. I have always developed my skills over time, changing to PC development in the late 80s, web development in the 90s, and mobile app development around 2010. I learn about trends and stay engaged with user groups and development conferences. Technology interests me, so I would be doing this whether it was my job or not. It’s fun, and I’m always looking for new ways to do things. That’s why I never do a project the same way twice — there are always new ways to apply things and have fun while doing it.”

About his most recent project: Mark was contracted to solve application issues a client was experiencing around the development of a new medical device. Although several consultants were previously brought in to assist with the project, the client had been left with fragmented code that was unable to meet the testing requirements for FDA approval. The previous development team was frustrated that they could not complete the project to the client’s vision, which contributed to the client’s frustration as well. Mark’s role was to ensure the code was in good working order and ready for FDA testing. However, in order to achieve the project goals, it would require him to rewrite large portions of the application. His experience taught him that the best way to make an impact was to deliver results as soon as possible, and then re-evaluate and discover what additional steps may be taken.

The biggest challenge to this project was “balancing the client’s expectations. The client believed that software development was a minor portion of their product, but I emphasized the importance of a major re-architecture and rewrite to the current software.” Mark worked to help the client understand what portions of the code could be used, and what portions needed to be re-worked or revisited to ensure the correct requirements were taken into account. Mark has several years of experience reworking existing code. As a result, he was able to place himself in the previous developer’s shoes to better understand their position, and shift his focus to align with the goals of the client and current project needs.

Despite the various challenges Mark was facing, he was able to develop trust with the client and work with them to bring their vision of the project to life. The first step Mark took was to tackle the client’s task list and provide the necessary fixes, and then prepare the application for medical trials. From there, he implemented a redesign effort to make the software stable, testable, and ready to be submitted to the FDA.

Mark continues to partner with this client in order to achieve their ongoing goals.

When asked what his most significant moment on a project was, he shared a story of a previous experience which involved a 4 to 6 week timeline to implement a new feature. He was tasked to assist a developer who had gone on PTO. Due to his expertise, Mark was able to build enough trust with the client that they handed the project off to him entirely after just a couple of weeks. Mark was able to complete the project within the established time frame.

Mark’s advice to other consultants in his field is to “never think you have learned enough. The technology changes and you have to change with it. Otherwise, you are not giving clients your best work, and may not be able to help lead them to better solutions. Not to mention, your career will stagnate and the demand for your skills will diminish. Do not depend on someone learning for you. Buy a PC and development tools to learn how to use them off the job. Attend local user groups to network with others, and see how they are working. Attend development conferences and webinars to learn how to use the latest and newest technologies. It doesn’t have to be extreme technology like robotics or VR. Learn other languages and other tools. If you are a .Net developer, learn JavaScript tools like React or Angular, learn Java. Your next opportunity may need that skill set, even if they don’t know it yet.”

Mark has been a true partner to Oxford for years, and the value of his contributions to client projects cannot be overstated. His experience, willingness to learn, and innovative mind make him an instrumental part of any initiative. As technology continues to change, we know Mark will be leading the charge to implement new strategies, learn new skills and tools, and continue growing his career as a consultant.

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