Listen to the interview (approx. 1 hr, 1 min.) or download it.
Graduated in 2012 with a major in Contemporary Writing & Production (CWP). Principal instrument: Bass Guitar.
Position: Software Engineer at Ensono, which provides computer services to mid-and-large size companies. Mark is on a 6-person team builds & maintains the front-end interfaces for customers to interact with the company’s services.
Overview: Mark always liked computers, taking some classes while in high school. He considered studying computer science in college, but chose Berklee instead. Shortly after graduating Berklee he parted ways with the studio her worked at, and had a tough time finding a music industry job. Waiting tables for money, he figured he might go back to school, then discovered MIT’s Open Courseware, where courses are available online for free. He took the introductory computer science class, and found it challenging but enjoyable and sensed a possible career path. Mark resolved to teach himself web development, reading books in the Missing Manual series. In part as a teaching tool, he rebuilt the websites of his father’s business’s website, as well as that of another family member, which lead to a bit of money and a lot of knowledge. In the summer of 2013 he and his now-wife moved to Illinois for a fresh start. He got a part-time job working for his uncle, a computer consultant, doing more computer-related things though not web.
By the spring of 2014 work with his uncle was tapering off and Mark wanted to get back into web development. He went on craigslist and started applying for jobs. A recruiter brought him in to do a large number of tests and skill assessments so that appropriate jobs could be sent his way. Soon he was offered a temporary contracting job at The Pampered Chef as a front-end web developer, which quickly led to a full-time job offer. In late 2014 they did a re-org, which led to less work to do, so Mark took the quiet hours at work (plus some at home) to figure out more systems and he was transferred onto the e-commerce tech team, where he learned more. But by late 2015 the culture of the company was changing and he wanted to leave. A colleague and friend mentioned that his former company, Ensono, was looking for software developers, so Mark applied and got the job in early 2016.
You can see Mark’s LinkedIn profile here.
Choice quotes: “Developing software is an art form–it’s creative problem-solving with very tangible results. We solve real-life problems creatively using code. I get to develop cool things–I get to create!”
“Anyone thinking about going into tech, be the “T” person–where your knowedge and skills have both depth in one area and breadth. Tech is a very experience-driven industry. It’s very competitive the higher you go, and it’s a lot of work, but get out there and do it. Build stuff. Make a hub account and code and show folks your code. It’s a much easier sell in an interview to be able to show stuff you’ve done than just claiming without evidence that you can do it.”
“There are a lot of sacrifices that you have to do in order to make it in your profession. That’s even tougher in music when a lot of people don’t really make it. I’m lucky to have found an equal if not larger passion in a field which is much bigger and in which nearly everyone who has the skills finds a good job. I’m not saying just to follow the money, but you have to think about what you love and also allows you to do the other things that you love. There’s a balance.”
Mark (center) as a Berklee student, playing bass. “”I majored in CWP because it has a creative, compositional aspect to it, but still involved technology….Berklee was a great experience! I was able top play in a funk ensemble. I was able to take a lab of playing bass and singing at the same time….so many awesome courses honed my passion for creativity, a passion that drives me in my current career.”
Mark with his wife. “My foray into technology is something I’m passionate about. I didn’t know if I was going to be that into it at the outset, but the more I do the more I like it. It’s brought me a lot of happiness.”