The richness and diversity of experiences the IT consulting industry has to offer is unparalleled within corporate America today. While permanent employees do enjoy a level of stability and predictability in their jobs, IT consulting produces an unmatched depth and breadth of experiences. An IT consultant is typically brought in for a finite length of time and for a specific purpose, the constancy of individual projects help to bring a sense of stability and security to the profession. While permanent employment can certainly offer challenge and career development, consulting in the IT industry enhances careers in a variety of ways, on many different levels, and across a large span of skill.
Here are a few:
- Industry Experience. When consultants have highly sought after, relevant repertoire of technical skills, their demand will transcend industry verticals. Be it telecommunications, healthcare or manufacturing, the skilled IT professional can find their place amongst a diverse array of project goals and objectives. As such, gaining horizontal exposure positions consultants well for niche or hard to find expertise. Contact within a variety of industry sub-sectors adds another layer of skill, one that may be a major differentiator down the road.
- Role Diversity. While one project may require a project leader, the next may involve development and testing. Depending on the individual’s mix of skill, consulting creates the opportunity to showcase a wider variety of ability. If a consultant prefers to always take on one role, however, they will still get a good mix of responsibility within each new project team structure. While architects may be expected to do ABC at this client, they may be asked to do XYZ at another. Performing the exact same tasks for different customers can vary greatly and require a completely different approach. Consulting exposes IT professionals to a wide array of team dynamics and management expectations as well as the opportunity to continually cultivate their skills.
- Comfort With Ambiguity. IT consulting is bound to land an individual into a sink-or-swim type of environment at one point or another. The benefit is that the IT professional must become resourceful, motivated, and persistent in acquiring the resources and intelligence necessary to perform the required job. A situation like this could be scary and frustrating, but for a seasoned and well-rounded professional, it’s just another opportunity to learn, grow, and master a new set of skills.
- Develop Soft Skills. Communication, presentation, conflict management and political suaveness are key skills that can be gained by consulting. Submerging into a new environment comes with all the challenges that a new job presents, and this is something the consultant experiences at each new client site. As a result, the consultant becomes an expert at analyzing and adapting to his or her new community. Different team dynamics call for a refined approach at conflict resolution, communication, and policy adherence.
- Technology Diversity. It goes without saying that consulting exposes individuals to a vast array of technologies, architectures, and project management philosophies. That’s the nature and beauty of the IT consulting industry, and if there’s enough drive and ambition, a consultant can be positioned to continually pick up new skills.
- Network Focused. IT consulting has created a socialization amongst professionals that persists to cultivate future opportunity. A solid network can enhance an IT consultant’s ability to find new work, referrals, and to develop and discuss technology trends and challenges. An IT professional’s network is an invaluable culmination of thought leadership and knowledge that will continue to grow with each new assignment.
IT consulting enhances the careers of tech professionals in many ways, creating a unique benefit for those who chose it as their livelihood. It not only allows for the expansion of technical ability, it enables consultants to cultivate their soft skills, grow their networks, and strengthens their ability to adapt to new and challenging environments. If you are interested in a career in IT consulting, apply today.