Tuesday, October 2, 2012

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Who is the the Key Consultant?

Just over six months ago I left the ranks of a very large health care provider where I had made a large contribution to their mobile applications. I enjoyed the work I did there and I met a lot of really amazing people. Unfortunately the corporate culture and pace did not fit my needs on a personal level so I started looking for other opportunities.

When I started looking for a new job I was not really sure what I wanted to do. I knew my technical skills were my greatest asset and I genuinely enjoy software development. I had several friends who were "consultants" so naturally I looked at the consulting firms in the area. I soon found that Charlotte, NC is a city  full of companies the love to employ software consultants (or temp programmers) but offers little in the way of true software companies. 



A few weeks after I began my job search I had accepted a position as a consultant at a medium sized consulting firm that was in desperate need of mobile developers. At this point I thought I had a pretty good idea as to what would be involved. I looked at myself as a hired gun. A rent-a-programmer. I had a very particular set of skills and It was easier for a consulting company to rent me out for the duration of the project than for the companies needing the work to pay for the talent in full. 

Fast forward six months. Here I sit now knowing that while in many cases my original notions about consulting were correct, there is so much more that can be done in the realm of consulting than your would find in a normal developer job. I spend my day grinding out code for the client and my evening fine tuning my knowledge of consulting lingo. In the past few weeks I have churned through books about proposal writing, career coaching, design patterns, agile development processes and more. Many of these things were relevant to me before I became a consultant (e.g. agile and design patterns) but I never would have thought I would be interested in finding ways to contribute to client acquisition or employee development. 

So now on to the purpose of this blog. I currently split my blogging time between my companies public facing  blogs and this one. Company blogs are restricted in that if I wanted to write a blog every day or several times a week it would be frowned up and maybe even refused. With nearly 400 consultants on staff everyone deserves a turn and the company blogs are generally longer and more involved than some of the things I have in mind for this particular publication. 

Secondly, I want some place that transcends my current employer. If my company blog were my sole place of publication then any change of employment would result in a sudden loss of an outlet of expression. Any readers that I had may be unaware as to how to find any new publications that I write. 

Lastly, I needed a testing ground for the expression of my ideas. Over the past few weeks I have made a list of over a hundred things I want to write about. Consulting is broad. Technology is complex and far reaching. I straddle the fence as a software developer and a consultant. It is very important that I excel at both of these areas. Anything that I wish to write about I must first learn about and digest into a concise and well formed post. 

Why "key consultant"? It is something I desire to be. The go-to consultant. The one people count on. It is a lofty goal and something I have not obtained yet. This blog is one of the first in a series of steps that I hope will lead me to that goal. 
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