Home > Blog Posts > Dev > Bringing Value

Bringing Value


Published: Mar 27 2018

Estimated Read Time:

The Problem

Employers want to know why they should hire me over other candidates. Maybe the question is: Why should we hire you? Why is your experience better than the rest of the applicants?

This is a perfect opportunity to sell myself as the best. The perfect fit. I am not good at sales though. There is a reason I like working with computers and one of those is because I know how to make a computer work. I don't have the social temperament to sell ideas and goods to humans reliably though.

My Solution

As I said I am a terrible salesperson. I am too modest to try to brag. It just feels against my personality and dishonest. I practically actively hurt my chances when asked that question. In my mind all the work I do is CRUD. Create, Read, Update, Delete. These are simple operations, at least to me. This isn't exciting or cutting edge or something that makes me stand out at all!

The goal of this post is to highlight that even though it isn't flashy to me maybe I can show some of the higher level stuff that comes from this. I am sure that a developer or someone with basic understanding can figure all this out but maybe someone not directly related didn't realize this info.

What is CRUD?

Not every action needs to be used. You could work on just the entering of data (create) and then maybe a subsequent report (read) but never have any interface to update/delete. Really most of the time a client might not realize they could use more. A simple request might be a client wants user to fill in an application form. If they don't bring it up I will. Do you also want a report of who applied? Do you need a way to remove/update that application, maybe an admin page that can comment on that applicant or mark it as complete? This also extends to the user side, maybe you want them to be able to save/update their information on your site.

Most of the work I do can be boiled down to just this. Something that can be as simple or complex as needed. Even if the form changes the ideas don't. Just a way to get data and display it.

The value isn't in just being able to manipulate the data though. There is value in the experience to also offer suggestions or realize issues before they can arise. For instance, in the application example, you wouldn't want the user to be able to enter anything into every field. You would want the user to put a phone number in a set pattern, a valid email, or properly formatted dates. The list goes on to practically every field. That is just to get the data in. Maybe on the report you want an admin to be able to mark notes but non-admins to not see those notes or have a print only version of the data.

Some tasks that might not seem like it are still CRUD. Maybe you need to migrate this data from an old system to a new database. That too can be simplified to: read old data, create new data. The steps in between are still important. You might need to format dates, phone numbers, or change field types entirely before you can put it into a new database.

When I am selling myself as being able and capable of doing a task it is hard to envision all the ways that might be useful when I describe it as boringly as CRUD.

The example used in this was a simple application but most forms or methods of inputting data don't have to be so simple. An example of something that is still a form but not quite as simple can be something like an e-commerce basket. Now you have to deal with specific formatting (addresses), maybe you have to add an algorithm (a formula) for adding tax to an order, and the list could go on. All that behind the scenes stuff (meaning invisible to the user) is the business logic. Being able to translate that logic into a workable solution to a task is valuable. Most of the time I don't know the task until a client asks though. How can I reasonably say what value I will bring when I don't know the problem to solve? Maybe that is the value I bring. I will translate your problem into something the computer can CRUD.