Mark Z Filter
Mobile Application Developer. UX Enthusiast. INTJ. Futurist at Heart.
Personal Mission Statement & Values
I live to do what is Authentic, Impactful, Loving, Meaningful, And Valuable. I build mobile apps to optimize and simplify life so that people can have more meaningful lives, have time to impact others with their creativity, and be more authentic to themselves and the people around them.
- 2018 – now | iOS Developer (TEKSystems) at Bank of America
- 2018-2018 | Lead Mobile App Developer (Family Dollar) – 5 months*
- 2016-2018 | Full-time Student (Full Sail University)
- 2014-2016 | Freelance WordPress Developer
- 2001-2014 | United States Navy, Cryptologic Technician Interpretive
(*) Dollar Tree, the parent company of Family Dollar announced the decision to relocate Family Dollar to Chesapeake, VA. I was given an offer to relocate, but I decided it was in my best interests to accept an offer with TEKSystems.
Why I Chose Mobile Development
In November 2015, I took my oldest daughter to the emergency room where she was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. It’s a devastating diagnosis, and a difficult disease to manage, but my first inclination was to see if there was an app for that. There was. That well-designed iPhone app enabled me, my wife, and my daughter to stay synced on multiple devices and maintain accountability for her condition. It was that app that made managing her condition a bit of a breeze. That experience showed me how powerful a mobile app developer could be in crafting quality experiences that make life better.
What I Did Before App Development
I wasn’t always a developer, at least not in the technical sense, but I always had a thing for technology. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an inventor and I loved Star Trek. I used to build tricorders out of cardboard, eventually progressing to to styrene plastic and etching my own circuit boards. By the time I graduated high school, I was taught that creativity didn’t pay the bills, so I decided to grow up and join the Navy. Secretly, I joined the Navy to learn Russian so that I could be a more attractive candidate for entry into NASA’s Astronaut Program, but I digress.
The Military Life
In the Navy, I learned Russian, was stationed in Hawaii, worked at the National Security Agency, had the opportunity to work as a Diplomatic Russian Military Interpreter in D.C., and conducted nuclear weapons inspections all over Russia and the United States, and I even got to sit in the cockpit of a B-2 Bomber! But after 13 years of no creative expression in my work, the cubicle life and traveling literally all over the world, the stress caught up with me and I was miserable, and I knew I needed a change. So I left the Navy.
How I Found Balance
During my most stressful times, I found myself relaxing by learning as much as I could about website development, personal branding, graphic design, filmography, animation, and eventually mobile app development by using sites like Treehouse and Lynda.com. I could literally sit for 18 hours a day learning this stuff and still have energy – thanks to coffee! Now, how could I just make this my day job?!
How I learned to Develop
Back in 2008, I earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from New York Institute of Technology. I had concentrations in Math/Physics, Computer Science, and Behavioral Science. It was in that degree where I was initially exposed to the wonderful world of software development and Object-Oriented Programming. The first language I was exposed to was C++ and I initially found it very confusing (primarily due to the way it was presented in the textbook). That experience sparked my interest in all things software development and I began my full-fledged journey by learning on Treehouse and Lynda.com.
Transitioning to Professional Software Development
When I separated from the Navy, I had to make a decision: do I stay in my original career field, continuing to work in politics, international diplomacy, and technical interpretation or do I make my career the one thing I found myself immersed in during my stressful moments in life? Let’s just say, it wasn’t a difficult decision to make.
Realizing that there were gaps in my knowledge base for software development, I decided to further my education. In March 2016, I enrolled at Full Sail University to learn how to develop the right way. Full Sail is unique in that the first half of the degree program is dedicated to learning the disciplines of Computer Science, Data Structures, Information Architecture, Interaction Design (IxD), and User Experience Design (UX) before entering into the second half of the degree program: iOS and Android app development.
Bachelor of Science in Mobile Development (Full Sail University)
C# Programming / .NET Framework
C#, the successor to C and C++ and the primary development language for the Windows .NET Framework and the Unity Game Engine, is a powerful strict type Object-Oriented Programming language. It is useful for creating Windows applications, universal mobile applications, and VR/AR development.
Swift Programming / iOS Development
Swift is the programming language for everything Apple, to include the iPhone, Apple Watch, and Apple TV. Equipped with the power of Xcode, powerful applications can be developed. Conducting Unit Tests keeps code reliable. Integrating code libraries keeps applications modular and manageable.
Java & Kotlin Programming / Android Development
Java was the primary programming language for Android app development…now, its Kotlin! Thank God, too. I enjoy coding in Kotlin because…it IS the 21st century, after all. I learned how to use Android Studio to build robust Android applications by testing code, implementing Android specific design patterns, and targeting multiple Android and 3rd Party libraries to streamline the development cycle.
User Interface (UI) Design
By adhering to the Human Interface Guidelines (HIG) for Apple and Android, applications follow the best practices. By designing interfaces which incorporate contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity, interfaces become intuitive and appealing.
Interaction Design (IxD)
Color theory, reducing cognitive load, embracing Persuasive Design, adding affordances, calls-to-action, implementing navigational patterns, conducting User Tests, interviews, and implementing Agile Development practices, application become an enjoyable experience that is begging to be used over and over again.
Mobile apps have power to influence decisions, give context to our daily lives, and even alter our experience in a positive and meaningful way. I saw it in managing my daughter’s medical condition and I see it in the apps I create.
Bachelor of Science in Mobile Development, Full Sail University
2016 – 2018 | Concentrations: Native iOS & Android Application Development (summa cum laude, GPA: 3.71)
Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, New York Institute of Technology
2008 – 2012 | Concentrations: Math/Physics, Computer Science, Behavioral Science (summa cum laude, GPA: 3.86)