Bryan Lester is a Senior Software Engineer in TargetX’s “Albany contingent.” We sat down with Bryan to learn more about his work experience before TargetX and what his role as a Software Engineer entails.
1. What’s your background before TargetX?
Prior to joining the TargetX team, I served a 5-year tour of duty in the Office of Admission at The Sage Colleges. Initially, I served as guru of (then Datatel) Colleague’s admission module, conducting enrollment reporting and managing data integrity via regular system audits. My curious nature led me to explore other facets of the system, and I quickly began to propose and implement unused features of the system to increase process efficiency, including learning how to develop custom/calculated fields. Once I really started to get the hang of this system, new leadership decided to throw me a curveball by commencing a search for a brand new system . . . something called a CRM. At least they asked me to participate in the review and selection process!
Along came TargetX with their newly launched SRM (student recruitment manager), still in beta, with more bells and whistles than we could have imagined. While still in beta, it was a calculated risk, but it ultimately paid dividends in many ways. I served as the project lead and worked in conjunction with IT to implement the CRM, which was fully and directly integrated with the Colleague system at go-live. My role now included serving as CRM Administrator and additionally, overseeing the admission processing center process and staff.
I spent 3 years working closely with the TargetX team and independently to evolve the product and build a fully automated, close to paper-free process for the entire admission lifecycle. This happened with the help of another X’er you may recognize, Vinu Vijayan, who I hired as my trusted assistant CRM admin! Through collaboration and via my role on the Client Advisory Board, I was inspired to take the next step in my career and join the TargetX team to continue to build the product and share my product knowledge with all TargetX customers.
2. What are your main responsibilities at TargetX?
I am currently a member of the Product & Technology team, working as a Software Engineer. It is my job to help translate the TargetX product vision into the living, breathing applications that you use day in and day out. While there is an obvious technical component to this job, my industry experience gives me a unique opportunity to provide input during the design and development process from a different perspective. Inevitably there are bugs from time-to-time, and I’ll assist in diagnosing and eradicating those. Notable products I have worked on: Student Success Center, Applicant Dashboard, Portal Builder, Prospect Scoring.
Previous roles held: Implementation Consultant, Solutions Architect
3. What’s your favorite TargetX Product?
My favorite product is the core piece of our CRM, better known as “Recruitment Manager”. Given that it is the hub by which most of our other products connect, it wields a great deal of power. It is also the product that taught me most of the declarative development skills I possess today and kickstarted my adventures into learning Apex and real-world programming. Whether implementing other TargetX products like Events, Email, Online Application, or building your own custom features, being an expert of the recruitment manager data model and functionality is a key to success.
4. Do you have a quick tip or trick we can share with the group?
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should and just because someone said you can’t doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try! This was often a motto of mine while working as an implementation consultant. Technology is great and can do a lot of powerful things, but it is always great to take a step back and fully assess the problem or opportunity at hand. Don’t forget to take into consideration the full scope of any proposed solution including design, development, implementation and ongoing maintenance. You may find that the time is better spent on other items. At the same time, don’t be afraid to use your TargetX product suite to tackle challenging or longstanding issues and pain points by breaking them down into smaller components. Seldom do I answer “no” to a question that starts with “Is it possible…”
Thanks Bryan for sharing your story!