Expert in the Spotlight: Mark Van Reeth

Mark Van Reeth; explaining something during a meeting.
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Mark Van Reet
Introducing our consultant: Mark Van Reeth! A commercial engineer and policy informaticist by training, Mark has amassed a wealth of experience in both SAP and low-code environments, especially in the Integrated Development Environment (IDE) of Codux. When he’s not cycling or playing padel tennis, Mark is learning more about the low-code platform Appian and overseeing the development of software solutions for NIHDI, the Belgian National Institute for Health and Disability Insurance (RIZIV).

Hey Mark! You quickly transitioned from Consultant to Tech Lead at NIHDI. How did you pull off this career move?

Well, moving from coding everything myself to using low-code applications just felt like the next logical step for me. I guess it’s a mix of skills and talent. After a few months of working on applications for NIHDI, I found myself leading the team.

As a team lead, I’m not just making sure the application works on a technical level, but I’m also thinking about development guidelines and supporting my team. My background in commercial engineering and management information systems really comes into play here. It helps me see the connections between business processes and IT, which is super useful in my roles as both a consultant and a team leader.

I really enjoy being in the middle of the business and development sides of a project. It’s great to think about how the functionalities work, while also keeping an eye on the bigger picture. Right now, I’m working on an application for BSF, the Special Solidarity Fund, which is a part of NIHDI. This new case management application will be used to track cases and figure out who’s eligible for reimbursements.

You started off working with SAP software. What made you switch to low code?

I worked with SAP software for a good ten years, customizing and developing solutions in ABAP (Advanced Business Application Programming), which is specific to the platform. ABAP is a bit of an old-school programming language, and tweaking existing systems could be a real headache and time sink. Every pixel and functionality had to be specified.  

After a while, I was craving a more flexible and streamlined approach to software development. That’s when I found RoboRana Group and I got introduced to low-code development. It was like a breath of fresh air! Low code lets me focus on the logic and functionality of applications, instead of getting bogged down in pixel-perfect development.

And what do you think are the big wins of working with low code?

Low code really speeds up the development process. You can quickly build up to 90% of the required functionality. Unlike traditional development, where you have to build every feature from scratch, low code uses visual elements and pre-built components. This lets developers work faster and spend their time on designing the logic and desired functionality, instead of sweating the small stuff.  

Another plus of low code is the ability to model complex business logic using visual flow charts and process diagrams. This means developers can focus on understanding and improving business processes, instead of writing heaps of code. The only downside is that some clients still want new applications to match existing systems pixel-by-pixel and feature-by-feature. But that’s not what low-code is about. It’s about speed and efficiency in developing applications, without the need to exactly mimic everything.

What’s next on your journey, Mark?

Well, I’m all about leveling up. I want to keep growing, learn more, earn more certificates through the Appian update program, and become a true low-code expert. The switch from high-code to low-code has let me focus more on the business side of things, but I’ve got to say, I still get a kick out of handling the technical setup and steering my team.  

Down the line, I might find myself leading a slightly bigger team. They’ll be the ones diving into code reviews, which means I’ll be doing less hands-on developing and more coaching. And you know what? I’m looking forward to that.

Interested in Mark's story, and looking forward to writing your own? Check out our jobs page and help us reshape the future of work!

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