Life as a Software Developer at SVG with Tim Unger

We recently snuck up to the IT Department to speak with Tim Unger about his first seven months as a Software Developer at SVG. Learn how his experience thus far has been a great learning experience and why trust is vital for a growing IT department.

What were you up to prior to joining our team? 

I was attending the University of Washington when an opportunity came about to work in the film industry. I ended up spending multiple years doing post-production for movies and TV shows before deciding to go back to school for software development. I attended Eastern Washington University for that and then began evaluating companies to work for — which led me to finding Spring Venture Group.

So, why did you end up choosing SVG?

I wanted a place where I could make an impact.

I knew that I wouldn’t be happy in a corporate environment where you are given a task with well-defined requirements, simply going down the list without thinking. That didn’t appeal to me at all. Knowing that this was my first, true software development job, I wanted to make sure I’d have the opportunity to learn and create solutions that help move the business forward.           

You’ve been here for seven months. Is SVG what you thought it’d be so far?

As developers, we’re asked to solve problems – so when I see a creative solution, it’s actually part of my job to speak up and contribute my ideas. It doesn’t matter that I’m on the junior-end of the developer spectrum. When a new idea comes about, everyone wants to hear it. Our leaders want you to ask questions because they want you to make better decisions as you become more experienced.

What does software development mean at SVG?

As you might imagine, the day-to-day really depends on the day. My work involves a great level of collaboration with other IT team members as well as people throughout the business – marketing, analytics, and more. My overarching goal is to develop tools and services that help support the efforts of other teams. We create the underlying technologies that allow them to execute at a high level.

How do you inject professional development into your busy days and months?

The IT team does Tech Days every other Friday. This is an opportunity to focus on learning a new technology or skill that the team can leverage on a bigger scale. You are then called upon to deliver insights to the team on your learnings. Recently, the senior developers have been presenting the why’s behind what we do and the steps we take. This helps me (and other new members of our team) get context about the business to help us be more efficient in development.

Why should other developers be attracted to work for SVG? 

The best thing about SVG, really, is the people. Everyone I’ve met is friendly and willing to help when you have a question. It makes your job easier when you’re able to ask the “stupid” questions. This is a place where you have an opportunity to make an impact since you are trusted with a lot of responsibility right away.

Want to join the IT team and work with great people like Tim? View current job openings.

My SVG Sales Story: Alexandra Mannarino

We caught up with one of our advisors, Alexandra Mannarino, to learn more about her career here at SVG.

I came to SVG straight out of undergrad with no sales or business experience, so I was pretty nervous to get started—especially since Medicare can be intimidating. But the training here is amazing and helped me feel really comfortable and informed by the time I actually started talking to clients.

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My sales coach was and continues to be extremely helpful. He’s on my team so we work pretty closely together a lot of the time. The whole leadership team is great about being available and approachable if I need help. I’m applying to be a sales coach myself right now since that was so important for me getting started. Training and teaching was a huge part of my college career—I taught Kindergarten Spanish, ran an after-school program for at-risk kids—so I’m excited for the chance to keep doing that kind of thing here too.

What makes SVG different?

The people here really keep me excited about coming in every day. It sounds cliché, but we really feel like a family and I know my team values me on a personal level, not just as a co-worker. We’re all working toward the same end and support and encourage each other to hit our goals every month.

The compensation is the same no matter what policy we sell to our client, so our job is truly a matter of finding the best solution for every client’s individual needs. Once a client really understands what we do, the value they’re getting is a no-brainer. That makes the earning potential pretty big, which is a pretty great motivator, too. Our business model is genuinely a win-win.

What kind of progress have you made since you’ve been here?

Making small incremental changes every day or every week, versus trying to know everything all at once, has helped me progress a lot. We have regular meetings with our managers and I always try and implement one thing I learned into my day-to-day. So far that strategy has been working out great. I’ve met or exceeded my sales goals every month and I’m still learning all the time. It’s my goal to hit Senior Advisor by the end of the year.

On a personal level, I never considered myself a very patient person before I started this job. But being on the phones with clients and helping them through the insurance decision has taught me how important it is to slow down and listen. I treat every client like my own family, and it’s easy to do since I know I’m giving every client real value every day. This job rarely feels like sales—it just feels like we’re helping people.

Curious what opportunities SVG has for you? Whether you’re brand new to the workforce or a seasoned sales professional, we can help you grow. Check out our available positions here.

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing (CORS) Demystified

In a recent presentation at the Kansas City Developer Conference, Spring Venture Group’s own Bill Parrott simplified the topic of sharing resources across domains. Bill shared his thoughts on CORS, how it works, and why it is a crucial part of the modern web.

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Watch the full presentation.

SVG: How was giving this talk valuable for the people who attended KCDC?

Bill: As the web becomes increasingly complex and interconnected, CORS (Cross-Origin Resource Sharing) is playing a larger role in the web development process. However, even though CORS is used almost everywhere, its use is largely unclear, even to developers. As a result, when issues come up, there is a surprising lack of true understanding of how CORS works. My goal with the talk was to help shed light on something that is frequently misunderstood.

SVG: What do you enjoy about speaking/being involved in the developer community?

Bill: This was my first presentation at a large conference, but I have given smaller talks to developer groups at previous jobs. As someone who loves learning new things and figuring out how things work, I have always enjoyed attending developer conferences and networking with the community. Teaching is something that I have enjoyed for most of my life – I originally majored in Music Education in college before switching to Computer Science – and I have wanted for several years to try my hand at a conference speaking. Now, having done it once, I can say with certainty that I plan to do it again and again.

Congratulations to Bill for an intriguing presentation. We love seeing our team members in the wild, helping others in their given field.

Behind the New UnitedMedicareAdvisors.com

United Medicare Advisors, a member of the SVG family of companies, recently launched a completely redesigned website. This redesign, the first since 2014, provided our team an opportunity to better align the website with current editorial strategies and technologies.

As the No. 1 distributor of Medicare Supplement insurance in the country and a leader in Medicare content, United Medicare Advisors needed a website that was intuitive and packed with high-value articles and resources. The redesign process began in early 2017 with concept meetings and user testing of the previous site.

User testing and comments from a variety of key stakeholders established three main goals for the redesign and the resulting site:

1) Convey credibility and a general tone of authority on the subject matter

2) Bucket content into intuitive segments and prevent content rot

3) Provide an open canvas for personalization and experimentation

Credibility & Tone

Establishing credibility is a key marker of success for UMA’s licensed agents during sales calls. Since this is true, the UMA site should do the same. All site assets, whether a hero image headline, a blog post introduction, or a video, must align with the brand's tone of authority while maintaining an approachable voice.

Our team accomplished this task through tightly-organized content in the Medicare Resource Center. We’ve taken the most high-traffic pieces from the previous website and re-organized them to fit frequently researched Medicare topics. Each of the main topics (Medicare Basics, Plan Options, Enrollment, Retirement, and Latest News) allow the site visitor the find answers in a more efficient manner.

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Content Buckets & Personas

Through user testing, it became evident that our clients generally come to us from one of three buckets:

1) Medicare first-timer: the most basic, foundational information for those people beginning Medicare for the first time

2) Medicare Supplement veteran: content for those whose knowledge level is a little higher – these people have had Medicare for multiple years and currently have a Medicare Supplement plan

3) Medicare Advantage switcher: information for people who currently have a Medicare Advantage plan – who wish to compare them to other options – and information regarding all relevant enrollment periods

Here you see the new UMA home page. Visitors are immediately invited to choose one of the three buckets to begin their journey within our site. They also have the option to navigate directly to the Medicare Resource Center or, if they are ready, head to "Comparison Shop" to compare Medigap quotes from insurance carriers in their area.

Personalization treatments

Moving forward, our team will run personalization treatments throughout the site to better align site organization to specific user needs. Through personalization we are able to provide users different content based on what they’ve already done on our website and many other strategic segments. This means our site is a living, breathing tool that will constantly evolve for our clients. We aim to provide the best possible experience for our clients every time they reach the website.

We encourage you to visit the new UnitedMedicareAdvisors.com and share our content with anyone you know who may need help understanding Medicare.

New Video Series: SVG Perspectives

We do things a little differently here at SVG.

This new video series highlights our leadership’s unique perspectives and how they shape our approach to core business concepts. Our ability to diverge from the status quo has rewarded us with tremendous growth. We're proud to present our first SVG Perspectives video with CMO, Alex Allen. In this pilot episode, he discusses how we view and use marketing automation technologies.