Q&A: Day in the Life of Two New Technology Consultants

This blog serves to give potential recruits the perspective of being staffed on a first project and working with the Microsoft SharePoint 2013 platform. Kyle Coronel and Will Watkins, two recent college graduates, have been with West Monroe Partners since early August 2014, and they recently finished phase one of implementation for their first project. Read on to find out what they have to say about their experience developing a collaborative portal with SharePoint.

Q: Could you describe your background as a developer?

Kyle: I have a strong background in object-oriented programming with languages like Java, C#, and C++. Also, I had done some client-side development in school with Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS and PHP.

Will: My development background consists mainly of object-oriented languages: C++, Java, Python, and C. I had experience with web development using HTML, CSS, PHP, JavaScript, and JQuery.  Additionally, my database experience consists of using PostgreSQL and MySQL.

Q: What were the main tools and resources that you used to help you as a SharePoint developer?

Kyle: My best resource and support system was my project team. They understood that I was fairly new to SharePoint and that I would have a lot of questions. It was especially helpful being able to work closely with Will because we could bounce ideas off each other and help the other when one of us had an issue.

In terms of programming tools, it was really helpful being able to use the Developer Tools in Internet Explorer to debug and view pages’ HTML scripts. We used the SharePoint Designer IDE to add JavaScript and to edit the HTML and CSS files. Just clicking around the SharePoint website helped me understand how the platform works, and looking up my issues online worked well too.

Will: Google was very important in helping me understand and learn many things about SharePoint. Various tech websites and forums played a hand in allowing me to troubleshoot and overcome problems that I encountered in the project. Also, more experienced members of my team helped me to an even greater magnitude. Their knowledge transfer and experience allowed me to overcome roadblocks and allowed me to actively learn.

Q: It sounds like both of you had positive experiences with your project team. Could you explain that dynamic a little more?

Kyle: My team has made my first project experience at West Monroe Partners a really positive one. The Architect and Experienced Consultant on the team had expertise with SharePoint and were really able to guide Will and me during this phase. They designed tasks for us that both challenged us and allowed us to learn how to use JavaScript to customize the SharePoint platform. If I ever had trouble with one of the tasks, they were always willing to help. Being able to communicate with my whole team without hesitation provided the best-case scenario environment for me.

Will: I had an awesome time working with my team.  I worked collaboratively alongside Kyle so we were able to support and help one another. We also had support from our Architect and Experienced Consultant. They provided much needed guidance and knowledge as the difficulty for each task began to increase.

Q: Lastly, what were your biggest takeaways from completing this phase? What did you learn?

Kyle: The technical skills with SharePoint, CSS3, HTML, JavaScript, and jQuery were major takeaways. Learning how to work with a consulting team and how to manage priorities and time were big learning experiences as well. I stayed informed on what the client’s requests were and what the relationship with the client was like, so I was able to learn and take in other aspects of consulting besides implementation and programming.

Will: Two of my biggest takeaways from this project were the importance of task management and teamwork.  Being able to effectively manage tasks allowed me to work much more diligently and finish items by their deadline. Teamwork was vital in this project. Being able to collaborate, ask questions, and receive feedback was imperative for understanding and completing the job. Overall I’ve learned a lot. I’ve improved many of my technical skills as well as my soft skills. It was definitely a great experience!

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Phone: 312-602-4000
Email: marketing@westmonroepartners.com
222 W. Adams
Chicago, IL 60606
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