If anyone knows about growth within Perficient, it is Tony Karre.
“Here at Perficient, I’ve always been surrounded by really smart people willing to share their knowledge,” shares Tony. “You’re going to stay at a company if you like what you do, things are interesting, and there is enough change to keep your mind working.”
Tony began his career at Perficient twenty years ago and has grown along with the company, proving his knowledge with many certifications confirming his hard work and dedication to success.
Meet Tony Karre, Director and Execution Lead for Perficient
Tony is a Certified Scrum Master, Scrum Product Owner, Offensive Security Professional, and Certified Ethical Hacker and makes sure he designs and tests his codes in ways that minimize risk to companies. As a director and execution lead with our St. Louis team, he specializes in custom application development using a variety of technologies and modern architectural patterns.
Finding Satisfaction Client Success
Throughout his two decades with Perficient, Tony said one of his greatest accomplishments that took place in his career was when he aided in a website redesign project for a major insurance and employee benefits provider. Tony and his team did “everything” when it came to the redesign of the website – including building the enrollment site, the self-service site, and the administrative site. “We owned the entire ecosystem,” Tony proudly said. This project stood out to Tony as a great accomplishment as it covered every possible facet of a large IT project. “We did everything ourselves and the customers were super happy.”
During his career, Tony has accrued many tips for how to stay at the top of your game. In the spirit of Growth for Everyone, a campaign celebrating career success at Perficient, Tony shares these tips to help serve consultants (and anyone) interested in growing their career.
Consultants are in Constant Evolution
Grow Your Skill Set
Tony said one of the most important things for maintaining value to a company is to constantly be evolving and growing your skill set.
“You have to be willing to reinvent yourself and that’s important. You can’t learn just one thing. You’ll be the king of that thing and then say, ‘well I’m done because I know all there is to know about this one platform or technology’ because you know what, in a year or two, that’s gone. And now you don’t know anything anymore.”
Don’t Limit Yourself or Your Team
He stressed the importance of never pigeonholing yourself into just one focus area. Boxing yourself into one role runs you the risk of becoming obsolete. While this advice is valuable for someone at any career stage, he thinks it is especially important for someone starting a new job at Perficient.
As a new hire, one of Tony’s keys to success is to jump at any new opportunity to learn, “Jump at every chance to get involved with something new because that’s how you grow and broaden the scope of what you can do.”
And don’t stop there. Share your knowledge. Tony actively blogs for Perficient to share what he is learning and what others should know.
But even if you have been at a company or in a role for a while, don’t be afraid to take new opportunities when they present themselves. You might learn a new skill or expose a new talent, something you never knew how much you enjoyed before exploring it at Perficient.
“Whenever you are doing something that you enjoy, time flies. That’s why I think people tend to stay at Perficient longer than they would elsewhere.”
Put Focus on Soft Skills
In additional to technical expertise, there’s more that goes into running a successful project.
“There are many things you have to overcome to make projects work,” Tony reveals. Tony said among challenges he has faced, many have to do with navigating client expectations as opposed to challenges with understanding new technology. Clear communication with both clients and leadership help set everyone up for success, a lesson Tony emphasizes.
Success in an Ever-Changing Environment
Tony also shares his tips for those who might be experiencing a change in their career path.
Come Prepared Each Day
His biggest key to success in change is to build preparedness into the daily routine.
“Make sure that you kind of know what’s going on around you all the time. So you know what’s coming down the road. That way, you know what’s coming down the road if you see a large change coming. Like maybe here comes a new project and maybe it’s structural. You got one foot in the door already, and at that point, you can focus in on that new thing.”
What Consultants Should Be Reading
The consulting world is constantly changing, and reading helps Tony and his team stay at the top of their game. Reading and learning can easily be integrated into anyone’s routine. He suggests good places to start include industry journals, company blogs, and internal communications. Tony said sometimes he will be reading internal communications and learn about a new technology or project that triggers him to dig deeper into the subject matter.
Whenever he finds a new topic that interests him, he tries to learn enough on the subject that he could teach the topic to someone else. “Not only do we have the opportunity, but the responsibility to keep up with changes in the industry, and new techniques of doing something,” explains Tony.
Remain Flexible and Curious
The biggest key to success Tony has seen on his team is to be flexible and try new things. He thinks when you are adventurous in learning, you can end up working on a wide array of projects, solutions, and platforms. Tony is proud of his team members’ “success-oriented mindset” that pushes them to stay curious and flexible.
Growing Your Career at Perficient
Tony said “it’s never just one thing” as the reason he has been able to grow within Perficient.
“Here at Perficient, I’ve always been surrounded by really smart people willing to share their knowledge,” he said. “You’re going to stay at a company if you like what you do, things are interesting, and there is enough change to keep your mind working.”
Variety is the Spice of Consulting Life
As we all know, technology changes, people change, and even businesses and clients change. It’s that fresh approach that keeps Tony engaged. “I know a lot of people do the same thing every day for years — that’s not what happens here. As a consulting company, we constantly deal with change.”
Tony sees growth as a professional in terms of continuing to gain experience.
Productivity Tips for Long-Term Career Success
While all of Tony’s tips are valuable, they aren’t useful if you can’t be productive! Tony’s mainstays for productivity lie in the different tools available.
Create a Leak-Free List
He suggests using a “leak-free” to-do list, his personal favorite is Google Tasks. An app with reminders can help keep your next actions and tasks scheduled so you don’t have to worry about forgetting anything. Tony says it helps cut down on processing back-ups because he can keep low-priority tasks at the back of his mind until they become more important.
Centralize Your Notes
He also suggests trying a centralized note-taking system; he uses Microsoft OneNote. Keeping all his notes together and organized can cut down on time spent finding any resources he might need for a project.
Blocking Time and Distractions
Tony’s favored technique for productivity is a time-blocking method. When he has a project he wants to dedicate a chunk of time to, he schedules a fake meeting on his Outlook calendar. The meeting is a predetermined block just to work on his project. “If people are nice enough to not schedule over the top of my meetings then that’ll be free time to work on that thing,” he explains. Setting aside blocks of time to work on certain tasks is an effective way to manage time and prevents procrastination.
After twenty years, Tony still possesses a willingness to grow his skill set and to also teach those around him, two attributes that truly define him as a Perficient leader. We can’t wait for the next twenty years, Tony!
We hope you find these tips helpful and share them with your team.
This article was co-authored by Aimee Hagnauer and Annabelle Knef.
At Perficient, we continually look for ways to champion and challenge our talented workforce with interesting projects for high-profile clients, encourage personal and professional growth through training and mentoring, and celebrate our people-oriented culture and the innovative ways they serve Perficient and the community.