If you are a software consultant planning your next career move, past experience — whether personal or insights gained from from peers — shouldn’t be your only consideration. Job opportunities abound. So, how do you find the one that is perfect for you?
Consider this list of must-have qualities for a potential employer. It can help you narrow your search and find a company that values its consultants, provides them with a supportive culture, and offers challenging, high-value work.
1. A flat reporting structure vs. top-down control: Leadership structure has a big impact on culture. In a traditional hierarchical leadership structure, decision-making and direction flow from the top down. In a flat organization, individuals are empowered to make decisions, as well as plan and execute tactical strategies.
It’s fun and exciting to work in a culture of shared responsibility because there is more autonomy in the organization and a community of mentorship or learning side-by-side with team members every day. Also, flat organizations welcome input, collaboration and new ideas. Everyone is encouraged and expected to contribute.
2. A focus on clients’ business strategy vs. systems maintenance: When an enterprise focuses on business strategy, it hires consultants to work on unique challenges using the latest technology solutions and best practices. Their projects have meaningful outcomes, such as enabling growth through new technologies, products and services, or expansion into new markets. By contrast, maintenance work is just that — maintenance. Not much is changing or evolving.
Prospective employers that have value propositions around strategic contribution rather than just “keeping the lights on” will naturally provide more rewarding work to technophiles. As a software consultant, you’d likely be working with a variety of software languages, data tools and systems designs across many different settings, and have the opportunity for continued growth.
3. Relationships with major cloud service providers: Strong relationships with all major players in cloud services offer consultants the opportunity to work with a variety of the latest tools, products, services, languages, and technology concepts. They also signal that a company is cloud agnostic — allowing the client’s technology needs to come first, and drive the choice of cloud vendor. Having this flexibility allows consultants to deliver the highest quality work to clients, obtain a diverse education in the capabilities of each cloud service provider, and a wide array of projects to contribute to.
4. A proven reputation in the technology industry: Companies who are experts at aligning business, technology and strategy are in demand just about everywhere today. These skills enable customer organizations to break down internal silos, and bridge strategic goals across departments. This is a fast growing need across industries.
This means software consultants should choose an employer with a proven reputation. When demand for services is high, consultants can end up working with both good and bad clients, depending on how their firm selects and prioritizes customers. Investigating the history of a company, the partners they work with and the clients they serve can provide valuable insight into a company’s reputation and long-term stability.
To be successful and thrive as a software consultant, a fervent interest in evolving technology — always being on the lookout for the next big thing — is a must. Other relevant skills include the ability to have clear, collaborative conversations about technology with non-technical professionals, to lead people through change inclusively and respectfully, and be excited about educating and mentoring both team members and clients.
The “perfect” job should help you progress in your career through training opportunities, access to leadership and a strong ability to make an impact on an organization. These factors mean you will have endless opportunities to grow your skills.
At Nortal, we offer our consultants training programs and certification opportunities — and provide regular continuing education through sponsored activities like lunch-and-learns. Our consultants are craftsman in the level of specialization and sophistication they provide, so we offer ongoing opportunities for them to keep their skills current and sharp.
If you’re interested in finding out more about software consulting opportunities at Nortal, we would love to hear from you. Contact our recruiting team here to learn more about our open roles.