Today we hear from Michael Beesley—VP, Engineering—to learn about his unique path to a career in software development, what he loves best about working in the tech field, and his role in supporting SMG’s software with a service (SwaS) approach.
How has your career at SMG evolved over the last 14 years?
In 2007, I started SMG as an entry-level Project Coordinator on what was then our Client Services (now Client Insights) team. I was only in that role briefly before the company restructured and created specialized process teams, so I moved over to the reporting team. A big part of my job was to manually test and QC client reports—which could be a rather tedious process involving spot-checking hundreds of reports. I started thinking about how much more efficient the process would be if it were automated.
So I picked up a few books on coding and taught myself everything I could. Eventually I learned enough to write an application to automate the report testing. This jumpstarted my development career—after implementing the application, I was given the opportunity to move into software engineering full-time.
SMG has always been great about recognizing my skillset and supporting me to find the right fit within the company. Since my move to the Engineering team, I've gone from a Software Engineer—writing code and helping build out the software platform—to an architecture role, focused on thinking about the next generation of SMG software (which we know today as smg360®) and creating a cohesive infrastructure within all our systems. From there, I moved through different levels of management to my current position.
How do you support/influence technology innovation at SMG?
My job is to have a deep understanding of the software we're building and ensure it's in-line with our company vision. Are we building software that supports the goals of our business and our clients' business? I make sure we're on the right path—sort of the bridge between our Business team and the Engineering team, making sure both are working in sync with each other.
What are the biggest changes you've seen in SMG over the last decade?
When I first started 14 years ago, some of our processes were very decentralized and segmented per project. Over the years, we've built a robust, efficient platform that can handle the complexity of client demands. It was a big transition but had the greatest reward. During my time here, we’ve moved from fully decentralization, to a platform built around location experience, and finally—with smg360®—we've turned the corner and built a platform to comprehensively measure the modern customer experience. Pair that with the best professional services in the industry—it’s a hard combination to beat.
What's one of your biggest/proudest career accomplishments so far?
I'm amazed at the amount of growth everyone on this team has gone through this last year. It was an extremely challenging time with everyone working from home. We're a collaborative group and we're used to working side by side, so the isolated environment was tough. But we continued on without missing a beat. We were able to build some complex enhancements to the platform and continue progressing our systems. It's incredible to see what we were able to accomplish in such challenging circumstances.
Do you have any advice for someone starting out their career in the tech/engineering field?
Anyone pursuing a career in tech needs to fully embrace its ever-changing nature. You can't get complacent. This is a field where new things are happening every day. To be successful, you have to constantly be learning more and doing better.
It's also important to make sure you're with a company that shares that innovative mentality and promotes employee growth. My career trajectory has changed a lot within SMG, and I’m grateful for the support I've been given to pursue new challenges and continue progressing.
SMG is currently hiring Software Engineers to help develop new product features, maintain year-over-year product functionality and enhancements, and contribute to the planning and implementation of a strategic direction for products. Check out all our open opportunities.