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Contractor Spotlight – Mary, QA/QC Specialist

July 2017

“We struck gold when we brought Mary onto our team. There was hesitation initially because Mary didn’t have a banking background, but she was able to pick up the terminology and technology and was up and running more quickly than I have seen in the past. She is incredibly detail-oriented and has yet to allow a defect to be introduced into production from any of the projects she has been assigned. We have a very seasoned team of BSA’s and Programmers with little room for deficits in abilities or character. With Mary’s attitude, understanding of the system, and incredible attention to detail, she has flourished and has been able to fit right in. She has uncanny insights and ability to ask the right questions in order to understand how the new functionality works within the system. Mary is dependable, capable and a pleasure to work with!”

When Apex Systems received this feedback from our client, we knew we had to talk to Mary immediately to better understand what’s led her to become such a valuable asset in her arena. As a partner to both our technical professionals and our clients, Apex focuses on supporting both throughout the assignment and contract. Mary has been an excellent contractor for both our client and our company. We’re excited to feature her in our latest ‘Contractor Spotlight!’

Mary’s IT career started off differently than most. After graduating with a degree in Range Science, Mary found herself pursuing Quality Analyst roles instead of agricultural ones. She believes she was “in the right place at the right time” when she was contacted by a company about a QA role centered on monitoring and process improvement in a laboratory environment. She later transitioned to doing QA/QC work on systems after she saw a classified ad in a newspaper that appealed to her.

We asked Mary what she credits most with her career success. Here was her response:

  1. Strong work ethic. No matter the situation, never allowing her work ethic and dedication and commitment to suffer has been a focus. She prides herself on always being reliable, consistent, and does everything she needs to ensure she never misses a deadline – a must for a QA professional!
  2. Good relationships with management. Building a positive relationship with your manager, where trust, communication and respect go both ways, is vital to being successful.
  3. Keep building your knowledge. IT is an ever-changing field. As your role evolves, or new technologies or tools are introduced, recognize what’s important to invest time in learning. Identify the skills commonly needed and tools starting to be used for “your trade,” and take the initiative to learn them!

We were also interested in hearing about Mary’s challenges and the challenges of those around her throughout her career. We posed the question: “From what you’ve seen throughout your career, what has prevented people from reaching their full potential?” Her response mirrors what we’ve heard from many of our clients and internal hiring managers:

  1. Poor attitude. Coming to work each day with the wrong mentality will severely affect your ability to advance in your career. Good work is only part of what helps employees get where they want to be. The other part is tied to your attitude and whether you contribute positively or negatively to the culture.
  2. A sense of arrogance. Career advancement takes equal components of confidence and humility. Admit when you are ill-equipped to complete a project, and problem-solve on how you can gain those skills instead of letting your arrogance ruin potentially good work.
  3. Lack of focus on skills development. To move ahead, you have to keep learning! Maintaining your skills and developing new ones are the key to what make you a valuable employee. Work hard to ensure your skills are advancing with the times.

When asked for any final advice, Mary stressed the importance of “rolling with the punches!” She insightfully stated that individuals can plan, but events will come up no matter what, and the best employees need to be flexible and stay focused on getting the job done.

Huge congratulations and kudos to Mary on her contributions and recognition! Thanks for sharing some career advice with us!

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