August 29, 2018 • Smart Resources
Getting Smarter with Bob Briggs
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 Consultant, Bob Briggs
Name: Bob Briggs
Years with Smart Resources: 7
Professional Background in one sentence:
I have experience in most roles of software development, but with an emphasis in data modeling and business intelligence.
Describe your typical day.
I come in the client site, sift through emails, and field questions on reports. In the afternoon, I typically spend some heads down time working on whatever new development is in my queue.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I would have to say that the best thing in any analyst role is the moment when the entire universe of a problem “clicks,” and you fully understand it. Once you fully comprehend the issue, there is a moment of clarity, when your solutions are obvious.
Tell us about the most memorable moment of your career.
It is not so much a moment as it is a project than spanned a couple of years, but I still think fondly of working on the integrated armed forces data model, which helped the various services design computer systems that could talk to each other more easily. It was very informative seeing how different people had deeply ingrained and completely different language around the same concepts, and how their different language subtly shaped their thinking about those concepts.
What career advice do you have for someone just starting out in IT?
Learn to do all things, at least at a basic level, but lean in towards projects that interest you. You will be more productive, learn more, and be a more valuable contributor.
What will be the biggest tech trend of the next 5 years?
Expert systems. I know we have been saying that artificial intelligence is right around the corner for decades now, but expert systems are starting to provide black box decisionmaking on a slew of subjects that improves on human efficiency. There are risks associated with that, but those risks will be the challenges of the near term.
Do you have a favorite software program?
Not really. I use whatever tools I have available, and though I have much more familiarity with certain toolsets (such as IBM COGNOS), I think it is a risk to tie yourself too firmly to any product.
What’s your favorite thing to do in the Richmond area?
The festivals. There is always some festival or other going on in our fair city, exposing you to new food and experiences.
Describe your favorite meal.
It would be difficult to do so, as I am a bit on the food adventurous side. I always appreciate some charred meat, though that is a vice I try to indulge in moderation.
What’s your favorite song?
Favorites are hard to pin down. I enjoy a broad range of music. I suppose if I were pressed, I would say something brilliant and powerful, like Prokofiev’s Battle on the Ice from Alexander Nevsky. Ask me tomorrow and I could answer something by Squirrel Nut Zippers or Weird Al.
Do you have a hidden talent?
Not really. My only real talent is in deciphering novel complex systems, and that is my main value at work, so I wouldn’t consider that hidden.
What’s your favorite thing to drink in the morning?
Tea, Earl Grey, Hot.
The best movie you’ve ever seen is:
Casablanca. It may sound trite, because that is a movie that people are supposed to say they like (and most have never seen), but I fell in love with it while writing an essay about it in college. It has a good blend of humor, suspense, and action, while capturing the desperation and simultaneous hopefulness of refugees fleeing war.
What’s your most prized possession?
My wedding ring.