Mark West

Mark West: I use computers to make peoples lives better

We continue our interviews with one of our speakers from the Future Tech Track - Mark West, Department Manager Data Science at Bouvet, who will bring a very nice talk about Building a Smart Security Camera with Raspberry Pi Zero, Java and AWS.

Let`s get to know Mark a little better from this interview that he gave especially for DevExperience!

DevExperience: What did you want to become when you were a child?

One of my earliest memories is of seeing Star Wars in ’78 or ’79. That triggered a lifelong fascination with robots and technology.

DevExperience: What is the story of your begining in this field? How did you start working in this industry?

I never set out to work in IT, but was lucky to fall into a programming job after completing a Masters in Cognitive Science (a combination of Psychology, AI and Philosophy). This was in ’94, when AI was still a predominately academic pursuit. What’s funny is that a lot of the stuff I learnt about Neural Networks in ’94 still applies today!

DevExperience: How do you think that the future in IT will look in 10 years?

I’m not convinced that we’ll stil be using a keyboard, mouse and monitor to build software.

DevExperience: What are the main lessons that you learned from traveling in different cultures with your work?

I’ve become a better listener and learnt that my own subjective experience isn’t necessarily the objective truth.

DevExperience: What do you know about Iași and Romania? Dont Google it! :)

I’m ashamed to say that my knowledge about Romania comes mainly from reading Bram Stoker’s “Dracula" as a teenager. I’m really looking forwards to seeing some of your country when I come to DevExperience!

DevExperience: What is your advice for a junior who wants to grow as a Software Architect?

1. Never underestimate the power of good communication and people skills.
2. Avoid sitting for too long. Your spine will thank you :)

DevExperience: What do you do for your both personal and professional development? How does a normal day looks like for you? What about a not so normal day?

My day job involves leading a team of Data Scientists at Bouvet, an IT Consultancy in Norway.
In the evenings I help arrange the JavaZone conference, also in Norway. A normal day involves me working at both “jobs" and also finding time for my wife and family, in addition to all my hobby projects.
Occasionally (on not so normal days) I speak at conferences and have in the past year spoken at GeeCON (Krakow and Prague), Joker (St.Petersberg), JavaZone, Riga Dev Days and the IoT Tech Day (Utrecht).

DevExperience: What is the greatest part of your job? What is the not so great part of it?

I love working with Data Science! The greatest part of my job is helping my team of Data Scientists to deliver value and succeed in their projects. I also learn something new every day!
The not so great part is turning down customers because we don’t have enough consultants available. Good Data Scientists are hard to find!

DevExperience: How would you explain to an old lady who knows nothing about technology what is it exactly that you do?

I use computers to make peoples lives better.

DevExperience: Tell us more about the main ideas of your talk and your workshop at DevExperience! Why should people register and attend the event?

I’ll be telling the story of a hobby project where I built a smart security camera, using a Raspberry Pi Zero, open source software and cloud based image analysis. This project was driven by necessity and had a strict project manager (my wife), requiring me to deliver a working solution under time and cost constraints.
My goals with this talk are

(a) to make attendees aware of the technologies that I used.
(b) show how easy it is to get started with these technologies.
(c) inspire attendees to start with their own smart projects.

If the demo gods are willing I will also show the camera in action

If you want to meet Mark in person and ask him more interesting questions for you, please register here and make sure that you will attend the absolutely normal international IT conference!