The Perks and Pros of Entry Level Software Consulting
If you find the title at all oxymoronic, you’re not alone. “Entry level” and “consulting” seem like oil and water to me; they just don’t mix. At least that’s how I used to see it. I was undoubtedly curious when I first spotted a posting for an entry/junior level consulting position at Intertech. At the time, I was halfway through my final semester of college and casually looking for my first job as a college grad and merely happened upon Intertech and software consulting in general. Outside of that single job posting, I had never considered software consulting as a possible line of work for a fresh-faced computer science degree holder like myself. I mostly credit that to the very nature of the word “consultant”. It’s hard to think of that word without pairing it with thoughts of “experience” and “expertise”.
At the time I submitted my application, I had about two years of part-time .NET development experience at a medium-sized manufacturing company but had my sights set on working in a more technology-focused environment. Very shortly after submission, I had lined up a series of interviews with Intertech. Maybe I’m just easily convinced, but I knew consulting was what I wanted to do after my first interview where some of the key differences between working as a software developer for one company and working as a software development consultant were highlighted. I’ll touch on some of the major aspects that separate consulting from a typical in-house software development position. I hesitate to classify many of these as “pros” or “cons” since they tend to be subjective to personal preference.
Variety of work
By the very nature of consulting, you are exposed to many different jobs, all of which will present you with new experiences, challenges, and opportunities to learn. The chances of falling into a rut that can come with working on the same platform/piece of software for years become slim to none. With a variety of work comes a variety of tech stacks you will get to employ throughout your career allowing you to become a well-rounded developer.
I believe this to be the single most beneficial part of working at a consulting firm as a junior/entry level consultant. Since starting at Intertech, I have been surrounded by seasoned experts that sport extensive resumes, some spanning decades, and a great variety of programming disciplines and tech stacks. Over my time here, I have made sure to attend as many lunch & learns and technical exhibits/demos developed by my colleagues as possible in order to soak up as much of their own experiences as I am able. This has helped me stay on my game, know where I should look to improve, and feel good about the areas in which I have progressed.
Opportunity for Leadership Experience
While some consultants might expect to be told exactly what they’re making and how to make it, the truth is quality consultants are not hired to be told what to do. You wouldn’t hire an interior decorator simply to put up decorations you already bought. You would hire them to get their input and help them guide you to a well-decorated room, otherwise, you have squandered your money on hiring expertise when you could have bought a few tools and hired movers. The same concept applies to software consulting, and, as a consultant, you will have many opportunities to take the lead on projects.
Avoid Company Politics
Perhaps an underappreciated aspect of consulting, this one falls in the category of benefits you might not be aware of unless you’ve dealt with the consequences. Most of your professional time as a consultant will be spent working with your client and their team. Because they hired you at an agreed-upon rate, and you don’t have a long-term stake in their company, you will never feel the pressure of having to navigate their management team and seeking recognition for your work in order to move up in the company.
Quality of Your Work Directly Influences Pay
By providing quality service to your clients, it will become easier for your firm to find gigs for you as your resume, experience, and confidence grows. As that resume fills out, especially if it reflects little to no downtime between jobs, your time becomes more and more valuable as the demand for your service increases. With the increase in demand for your time comes an increase in the rate that can be charged, and Intertech reflects that with raises and bonuses. Your time spent and skills learned do not go unnoticed as a consultant and regular pay increases, even without request, are commonplace.
Software Consulting — The Answer You Are Looking For?
You and I both realize that I only provide my own perspective and opinion on this topic and that this line of work simply is not for everybody. But if you are like me and don’t know exactly what kind of programming you want to do right away or what kind of company you want to work for, working for a consulting firm like Intertech can be just the answer you’re looking for. It provides invaluable experience, crucial training, exposure to expert-level colleagues, and a variety of challenges.
If any of you out there are in a similar situation I found myself in nearing graduation time or are just on the fence about this career path, feel free to leave a comment and I’d be happy to provide input based on my experiences! Or, if you or someone you know is interested in learning more about a consulting career at Intertech, check out Intertech’s career guide. A consulting career with Intertech means great assignments and opportunities for professional growth, solid compensation and a work culture routinely recognized as a best place to work.