Our Team & How We Got Here

Frank Norris

Since graduating college with the family sticker already on my chest, I was ready to dive into the world of programming. I wanted to get out of the world of customer service and start making the big bucks (I was still a bit misguided when I actually thought that was my purpose). You would not believe how difficult it can be to get your first professional job without prior experience. I was ready to stop working at this damn hotel and move onto my next chapter but the page wouldn't turn. 

It still baffles me how in every application these companies would ask for years of professional experience in a ridiculous amount of languages, yet only want to give the pay of a junior level. I still personally wonder what is going through someone's mind that they could ask for 5 years professional experience in anything yet demand that the position's pay is equal to no experience. Granted - companies want the cheapest labor with enough experience to cover the job's descriptions but still - It is retarded. 

After repeated months of phone interviews led me no where. I kept trying to convince the person on the other end of the call to simply go to my online portfolio. Every time I would get the beloved generic response along the lines of 'oh, you're just out of college? hmm yes, I see. Let me forward your info to our recruiter they will call you once they can'. I had the knowledge, proof, and years of unprofessional experience but it didn't matter to a single one of them. So I used this large amount of time trying to up my skills to get ready for that eventual interview. Weird part though: of my two professional jobs - neither wanted to see my portfolio.

I suppose the next recognizable piece of my professional career would be working at the local health care facility's IT team. Fairly large company with a great message and plan. I hopped into the position as the data wrangler of hospital data for doctors, nurses, and certain IT members. This job expanded to include pieces of the health insurance portion of the company and eventually billing as well. I was and still am very grateful for the opportunity in the company and I will never denounce the life they've allowed me to live... 

But eventually the job felt like it lost purpose. Originally I enjoyed going into work every day because I truly believed I made a difference and helped the company with particular patient logistics and diagnosis patterns. At one point I erased the entire backlog of requests and was ready to jump into anything else. That's when I learned of the politics. All large company have them. Anyone that came up with new ideas or ridiculous money-savers were shut down because the battle wasn't worth the savings. This eventually became so infuriating that I would try to sneak projects out to customers or tell any them that if they want something done - they need to keep it as small as possible for as long as possible. It's very easy to hide projects as 'standard daily work' if its in pieces. This is not how an IT shop should be run.

At one point after enough venting, two of my coworkers were feeling the same annoyance from day to day. We weren't making enough of a difference. Our potential was being trampled and our will to fight for the company's betterment repeatedly diminished. After trying to take in the realization of the situation - we discovered a way to combat this wasted potential. Many companies need specialized products for their own specific needs. If we could become this vendor for companies then we could create new, fun, and interesting programs and data solutions.

So far it's been an absolute blast. I look forward to every day to learn new skills and produce robust applications. This change has given me hope again and I am sometimes losing myself in the code - for example - accidently forgetting to sleep and/or eat for an entire day multiple times in a week. I no longer wake up dreading how far away the weekend stands. I now truly feel I am building and producing difference-making programs and I never want to go back.