At Deloitte Digital, engineers, architects and project managers operate a bit like a sports team — although their roles differ, they come together to learn new skills, overcome obstacles and work toward one common goal.
Senior Mobile Architect Nathan Hale has been with the company since 2012. During that time, he has worked on a number of high-profile projects across a plethora of industries.
Though he’s been at the company for six years, he’s never once stopped learning, and he credits his hardworking teammates for the constant lessons in different platforms and servers. We spoke to Hale about how teamwork plays into everything he does.
Your team has worked on a number of consumer-facing projects. Can you tell us a little bit about one of them?
Working with Chipotle was a quintessential studio project. We drove the sales process from the very beginning, which gave us a big opportunity to develop a customer- and design-centric approach to the project. Our solution strongly resonated with the client and with users. Chipotle has also been a great partner to work with because they’ve been interested in collaborating with us, and have been decisive when it was most helpful. Sticking to the processes we’ve developed and keeping our eyes on the vision we set out at the start has also been helpful.
The design team for this project threw a number of things into the application design that were a big challenge to implement, but that add delightful moments for the user that were gratifying to see come to life. And, of course, winning a Webby Award for best user interface design was incredibly gratifying for the whole team.
At Deloitte Digital, you’re able to work on a variety of different projects. Why do you think it’s especially helpful for engineers?
Working on a variety of projects is critical for growth and development in a well-rounded engineer. It ensures that you’re exposed to new challenges, which forces you to develop new skills to overcome them. Sometimes, this can mean working with an unfamiliar technology, and sometimes it can mean pushing the limits of an older technology in unexpected ways.
Working on a variety of projects also gives an engineer technical exposure to clients in different industries, which can end up being very valuable when you’re able to take a solution from one industry and see how it can be applied to another.
We’re able to take a solution from one industry and see how it can be applied to another.”
Which tech stacks do you work with, and how do you tackle the ones you’re less familiar with?
Given the customer-facing nature of Deloitte Digital Studios, nearly all of our tech stacks start with a mobile platform. Usually that means native iOS, native Android, or responsive web design, but it could be a more hybrid platform like Xamarin, Ionic or React. As an architect, I tend to also get involved in the server side, which can mean working in Salesforce, Node.js, AWS or any number of other platforms.
Deloitte Digital has been great about providing relevant learning opportunities through conferences. Around the office, there are also plenty of experts who are skilled in these platforms who can provide help and mentorship where needed.
How does collaborating with different clients help develop your skill set?
It’s very valuable seeing the problems in different industries. There are some components of the job that are pretty easy in one industry but much harder in another. HIPAA compliance, for example, makes profile storage quite complex in healthcare, but that tends to be quite easy in retail. Being exposed to different industries allows us to use some of the things that work in one area to approach something else from a new perspective.
How is your experience at Deloitte Digital different from your experience on other engineering teams?
My favorite part of working with Deloitte Digital’s engineering team is that we collaborate so closely with other disciplines. Lots of engineering teams have strong collaboration among themselves, but, too many times, developers will see designers, project managers and QA folks as outsiders rather than collaborators.
We get to sit next to very talented people in all of these fields and work directly with them for a mutually beneficial solution. I think that earnestly sharing those differing perspectives has been critical to the delivery of the projects I’ve worked on.