Rapid Developer Profile: Savan Vyas, LV= Insurance
Our community of developers blur the lines between business and IT. And we like it that way. To help show off the new breed of developers that are pioneering a new era of enterprise app delivery, we recently launched our maker profile series.
1. What’s your education and professional experience? Do you have a programming background?
I studied computer science at Loughborough University outside London. After some additional training, I started working at LV=. It was my first full-time job after university. I’ve been here for more than a year and a half, developing with Mendix and also serving as Scrum Master on our agile development projects.
2. What was your initial reaction to Mendix?
I always liked application development, particularly the creative side of it, but coding was something that I didn’t necessarily enjoy. When I first came across Mendix, it seemed perfect for me. The application modeling environment was quite intuitive. You didn’t have to learn 5-10 languages or worry about missing a comma somewhere. You could just focus on building apps that solve business problems.
I also have a customer service background and really enjoy working with people. I saw that Mendix would allow me to interact closely with the business to deliver exactly what they needed.
3. What was most helpful learning Mendix?
For me, the best thing was learning from other Mendix developers. I was fortunate to spend some time getting up to speed with the Mendix UK team, and the Mendix Forum was also very helpful. I think the Mendix Online Academy is a great addition to the Mendix training resources, and I recommend it to all new Mendix users.
4. What have you built in Mendix? Is there a project you are particularly proud of?
The project I am most proud of is an app that allows distributors/brokers to use our platform to sell insurance policies. It was my first big project and I worked as Agile Business Analyst, Scrum Master and Mendix developer to deliver the project on time and under budget. Seeing that the app helped LV= to more than double sales for the product, it was a huge success.
Another project was a broker workflow app, which combined three processes on three systems into one application with an automated tracking capability and reporting feature. What’s amazing is that we were able to deliver something significant—a live application—in just one week.
In total, I’ve completed six projects in Mendix. I have a bunch of developer friends and they are lucky to have finished one project in the same time. That’s pretty remarkable. And with each project, we’re learning things and discovering new ways to get even faster with Mendix.
5. How has Mendix made your life easier/better?
Mendix enables me to do things that I couldn’t do before. It helps me to interact with people, to understand requirements and to deliver the best possible solution. Because it’s a rapid application development tool, I can quickly build working prototypes and share them with users, versus just handing them a document. That goes a long way.
The project management and end-user feedback features are also quite good, especially for our agile development team. And the community app store and private enterprise app store are invaluable. Because we can easily leverage reusable components, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel each project. This saves me and the rest of the team a ton of time.
6. What advice would you give to new Mendix developers?
The biggest recommendation I have for new Mendix developers is to come to the process with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Mendix is different from traditional application development—in a good way. You’re able to take on more ownership, interact more with the business and actually do more of the work because you’re able to have smaller teams. There’s more responsibility and it’s yours for the taking, if you’re willing.
7. What are your favorite news sites, blogs and communities?
Besides the Mendix blog, I read tech sites like The Verge and TechCrunch as well as a bunch of Tumblr blogs. UICloud is a favorite for user interface design and UX inspiration. And for professional advice, I’m a member of several LinkedIn groups.
8. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I’m really into badminton, swimming and chess, as well as reading fiction and self-development books. Some of my favorite writers are Dale Carnegie, Napoleon Hill, Jules Verne and Mark Twain. I also love listening to music and watching movies and documentaries that help me to understand different cultures around the world.
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