August 15, 2017 • Smart Resources
Getting Smarter with Jim Black
At Smart Resources, we aren’t just a big group of IT consultants or tech minds. We’re a family. Our team is not only one of the most skilled in the country, but also one of the most interesting. Each month, we feature a conversation with one of our great consultants so that you can get to know us better. This month, say hello to Senior Consultant Jim Black!
Position: Senior Consultant
Years with Smart Resources: Six
Professional Background in one sentence: Twenty five years in consulting as a software developer, systems analyst, and business analyst.
Describe your typical day. If the client is amenable, I like to arrive early to avoid traffic, have time to catch up on paperwork, and prepare for the day. Once other people arrive, I spend much of the day in meetings, gathering information from users, troubleshooting any issues that arise, helping out as needed, and documenting everything.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job? Providing value to the client. In the past I’ve occasionally run across consultants that hoarded knowledge to make themselves indispensable. I’ve always felt strongly that I’m there to do what is best for the client even if I work myself out of a job. I want to be indispensable too, but by helping the client learn for themselves and providing more value than they’re paying for or expecting.
Tell us about the most memorable moment of your career. I always remember the crazy stuff and near-disasters. Better to keep quiet here to protect the guilty.
What career advice do you have for someone just starting out in IT? Always remember that your employer is not paying you to write programs, they’re paying you to solve problems.
What will be the biggest tech trend of the next 5 years? Unfortunately, the next trend is going to have to be securing this interconnected world that we’ve created. The cloud seems to me to still be a bit of the wild west – reminds me of programming in general back in the late 80s!
Do you have a favorite software program? Whichever one is allowing me to make a living with it at the moment!
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Richmond area? I’ve been doing a lot of sea kayaking over the last couple years. There are hundreds, if not thousands of places to paddle within an hour or two of Richmond, and they offer tremendous variety.
Describe your favorite meal. I’m partial to Pad Thai. I’ve made it a mission to try all the variations in all the local Thai restaurants.
What’s your favorite song? I don’t really have a favorite song. Lately I find myself listening to a lot of blues and 1950s-era country and western. You can’t go wrong with Howlin’ Wolf, Taj Mahal, and Ernest Tubb!
Do you have a hidden talent? I have a third degree black belt in karate. I also had a (short) first career in woodworking, and still build furniture and boats in my spare time.
What’s your favorite thing to drink in the morning? A glass of milk at home, and then mid-morning a jug of iced coffee.
The best movie you’ve ever seen is: There are so many to choose from…
What’s your most prized possession? My wife and son. …and my workshop.
To learn how you can join the Smart Resources team of consultants, view our jobs here.