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Thread: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

  1. #1

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    Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    Hi all,

    It has been some time i have been working for an MNC (approx 1 yr including training and production), i am working in Java. Truely speaking, technically i am not that strong. But since its an MNC, nobody cares how good you are technically and somehow, i can manage to do my work and deliver the EOD.

    If you ask me why i am technically not that strong, then the reason is my daily work. I am working in a team of 8 members, have to do the support/enhancement activity of approx 30 applications(these applications are maintained by only our team). These applications are built in different technologies(all related to java only). Some day, i get some issue fix work on Swing or some other day i get some minor enhancement work in JSF, but none of the work is a long one, i.e, it will take a max of 1 week to deliver the work. As a result, i can rely on a particular technology and hence can't learn any of them properly(though i am really trying heard to master at least any one of the technologies) In this kind of situation (where every week the technology of work changes) what should i do to master at least a couple of them? At times i feel really very hard to switch from one technology to other, also i feel like forgetting the entire technology on which i worked last week

    Presently what i am thinking of is to try and become a business consultant/technology consultant in my upcoming career. I have heard that the consultants also start their career from some technology related work as well and later in their career they shift to some consulting related work. But i cant understand how is this possible

    Is it compulsary to have a MBA degree? Is it possible for a technology related guy to become a consultant by showing experience in some minor bug fix/minor enhancement related work in java(Without a MBA degree)?

    I have some more questions to ask on this but first i want to get some reply.

    Thanks,
    HowTo

  2. #2
    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    You sound like you are being WAY too dismissive of your skills. While I can understand that you feel like you are learning a bunch of things at a superficial level, without ever learning any one of them in depth, you are getting an exposure that many people lack. It also sounds like you are reasonably adept at picking up a concept in mid-stream, adding some value, then moving on. It certainly is different to take a concept from inception all the way through to production and support, but that doesn't mean that the skills you have are not of equal value. You are learning more than you seem to realize, and those skills will serve you well.

    As for an MBA....I'd be willing to bet that no more than 10% (and probably less than 5%) of the experienced folks on this forum have such a degree. I'd guess that the actual percentage is under 1%, but I'd not bet on it. Of course, I'm pretty thoroughly biased on that point, which I ought to say right up front. When I was in college, people went into business if they couldn't handle science. The MBA route was for the backup plan, or the easy way out. That is probably different in different schools, but I have heard the same from others. Therefore, I'm not sold on an MBA as being anything more than initials to follow your name showing that you put in a bit of extra effort (post-grad degree), but nothing special.
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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    First I think you need to decide what it is you REALLY want to do... be a business consultant or a technical consultant. Since you're asking about an MBA, I can only assume you already have a BS/BA of some kind, but you don't mention what it is. I wouldn't say it's compulsory... But it can't hurt. Especially if you're going on to be business consultant. If you're going to be a technical consultant, then I'm not sure an MBA would be all that beneficial. The field of "business" consulting is quite vast... there are few that are jack of all trades in that realm. Most are actually niche market players... even if some of those niches are large (like data for instance, or accounting)... Some are large, Robert Half comes to mind, some are small, one or two people.

    If you want to go the technical consulting way... there are two ways of going about doing it: 1) yourself... but that means YOU are the one out there chasing down leads, making the appointments, meeting with HR to find out what's out there, in short you become your own marketer. I happen to suck at that. So when I needed to, I worked with 2) consulting firms. Through working with them, I was able to land a 36-month contract with a client, which then converted me over to full-time at the end.

    Consulting has it's pros and cons... personally the cons are less than the pros, but I love the stability of my permanent position. One of the biggest cons in consulting, is if you don't have something lined up by the time your current contract ends, you could find yourself sitting on the bench with nothing to do.

    "I have heard that the consultants also start their career from some technology related work as well and later in their career they shift to some consulting related work. But i cant understand how is this possible." -- It took a moment to read the hidden question here. There reason it's possible is because after you have some experience, you sometimes achieve a point where you would rather work for yourself rather than someone else... so you leave (hopefully under good terms, you never know) hang out your shingle and 1) start pimping yourself or 2) go with a consulting firm (or two)... depending on what you can do, you can be easily shopped or it can be quite difficult.

    If you want to expand your skill set... then you need to pick something and learn it... outside of work if you have to. That's how I picked up .NET back in the early days. I was in a VB6 shop, I knew it was going to be a while before .NET would be adopted, but I still read up on it, I got a copy of Visual Studio (lot easier to do these days with Express Editions) and started trying tutorials... initially I had to learn C#, because there were no VB.NET examples... it was all in C#. Now I can go either way if I need to. I'm slower in C# than VB, but if I had to, I can read and write C#. Over the years I also honed my SQL skills. I don't know what they are teaching people these days, but sometimes it seems like writing SQL is something that fewer and fewer developers are able to do effectively.

    If you feel like you're not getting what it is that you want out of your job, maybe it's time to consider new a new direction. Please note - I am in no way advocating quitting... but rather a re-evaluation... perhaps talking to your manager/supervisor about stabilizing the technology you work with. It could be that everyone goes through this to gain exposure to a number of different systems before settling into a more stable pattern... I got thrown a bunch of different things until it was discovered I have a knack for knowing how to deal with General Ledger information (I am not an accountant nor have I ever played one). It's just one of those things... now it seems like it's all I do... it's both good and bad.

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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    Quote Originally Posted by Shaggy Hiker View Post
    You sound like you are being WAY too dismissive of your skills. While I can understand that you feel like you are learning a bunch of things at a superficial level, without ever learning any one of them in depth, you are getting an exposure that many people lack. It also sounds like you are reasonably adept at picking up a concept in mid-stream, adding some value, then moving on. It certainly is different to take a concept from inception all the way through to production and support, but that doesn't mean that the skills you have are not of equal value. You are learning more than you seem to realize, and those skills will serve you well.

    As for an MBA....I'd be willing to bet that no more than 10% (and probably less than 5%) of the experienced folks on this forum have such a degree. I'd guess that the actual percentage is under 1%, but I'd not bet on it. Of course, I'm pretty thoroughly biased on that point, which I ought to say right up front. When I was in college, people went into business if they couldn't handle science. The MBA route was for the backup plan, or the easy way out. That is probably different in different schools, but I have heard the same from others. Therefore, I'm not sold on an MBA as being anything more than initials to follow your name showing that you put in a bit of extra effort (post-grad degree), but nothing special.
    that makes me curious.... how many of us in the 30+ range even have a degree... I realize that I'm probably in the minority that doesn't have a degree (except for the Assoc Applied Sci from the Air Force - most of which came from on the job experience) ... so sometimes it's hard for me to advocate for a degree, but I don't advocate NOT having one. Based on my experience, I have yet to see any correlation between a degree, especially advanced degrees (MAster's, MBA, PHD, etc), and ability in this industry. Maybe I've been lucky.... I KNOW I've been lucky. And I'm pretty sure that my lack of degree has hurt me a couple of times... but after nearly 30 years of doing this, almost 20 of which professionally, the degree seems less and less important. That said, I think I found my degree calling last week... something called Discovery Informatics ... computer related, but not necessarily programming related... looks like something that I could get a lot out of. In short data mining and extracting patterns while processing high volumes of data at high-speeds.

    -tg
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  5. #5
    MS SQL Powerposter szlamany's Avatar
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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    I missed 60 days of my senior year of HS in 1980 traveling to sites installing custom software - they didn't have computer related degree programs back in that time as they do now.

    It was all learning through experience.

    I've been self employeed for the past 27 years.

    Being a technology consultant means being a business consultant in my book - I can walk into the types of business I specialize in and be both an expert on their business model and also show how to apply technology to that business properly.

    I add a new business "area" every 5 or so years - and learn a new technology probably every three years. Gotta remain "bleeding edge" at all times.

    I always have a years worth of work or more lined up.

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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    I guess it depends on what you mean by business consultant... it's possible to be one w/o being the other... it's also possible to be both... I consider myself to be a Tech Consultant first, Business Consultant second... some are the other way around... some are just one, and couldn't survive w/o someone being the other.

    -tg
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    Loquacious User Shaggy Hiker's Avatar
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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    that makes me curious.... how many of us in the 30+ range even have a degree... I realize that I'm probably in the minority that doesn't have a degree (except for the Assoc Applied Sci from the Air Force - most of which came from on the job experience) ... so sometimes it's hard for me to advocate for a degree, but I don't advocate NOT having one. Based on my experience, I have yet to see any correlation between a degree, especially advanced degrees (MAster's, MBA, PHD, etc), and ability in this industry. Maybe I've been lucky.... I KNOW I've been lucky. And I'm pretty sure that my lack of degree has hurt me a couple of times... but after nearly 30 years of doing this, almost 20 of which professionally, the degree seems less and less important. That said, I think I found my degree calling last week... something called Discovery Informatics ... computer related, but not necessarily programming related... looks like something that I could get a lot out of. In short data mining and extracting patterns while processing high volumes of data at high-speeds.

    -tg
    Surely we've had a poll on this at one point or another. My feel for it is that a large number of the people 30+ on here have no computer related degree, but I also feel that a good portion have SOME degree. I also feel that in the <30 crowd, the number of people with a computer related degree is FAR higher. I would expect this to be the case because computer related degrees are much more common these days. When I was in college, I don't think there were more than a handful of computer courses, let alone an actual degree in the field offered at my school. I certainly never took a course in computers, though I took courses in pretty nearly every science field offered....no, I guess I took courses in EVERY science field offered at the school. Pretty nearly got minors in Geology and Chemistry, though neither were my field of primary interest.

    In my case, I wouldn't have the job I have without a Masters, even though the degree was in Biology. Of course, it has been a somewhat strange path between there and here. I think those of us who ended up in coding without an explicit degree in coding, probably gravitated here via a process that was nearly inevitable.
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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    First I think you need to decide what it is you REALLY want to do... be a business consultant or a technical consultant.
    Can you please explain on a high level what a business consultant does and what a technical consultant does? I am only aware of the term consultant but i don't know the difference between the two.

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    Since you're asking about an MBA, I can only assume you already have a BS/BA of some kind, but you don't mention what it is.
    I completed my engineering in Computer Science last year.

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    If you want to expand your skill set... then you need to pick something and learn it... outside of work if you have to.
    Yes i agree with this point. But when i tried this i faced two major problems:

    1) Don't have much left in myself once i return back from my work, hence most of the days i wont even sit with those things once i get back to my home.

    2) Creating a hello world application or playing with some small things is really very easy but i have seen a lot of difference used to come when we start working with the millions of production data. Also, I can't get all the setup done in my home PC which i used to get in office. (Like, i have oracle Express Edition installed but in office, db2 is mostly used. db2 is an open-source, I tried a few setups of db2 in my machine but still unable to install it properly in my machine )

    These are the two main concerns due to which i am not able to learn something in depth. But i have overcome the first problem these days and try to do the most during the weekends.

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    I am in no way advocating quitting... but rather a re-evaluation...
    Whenever i feel very upset, i used to think about those guys who are even in poor condition than myself. There are many guys who are on bench for more than 2 months, i am better than them. Again, there are many who used to do only documentation related work, they have not even done any coding related work for more than 8 months or more, i am much much better than them as well. I can't even think of quitting, its not like i am NOT AT ALL satisfied but its like i am not able to learn much things and hence thinking of shifting to some consulting work in upcoming part of my career.


    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    perhaps talking to your manager/supervisor about stabilizing the technology you work with.
    For this moment its not possible, since the market is also not in a stable condition. At least i don't want to go to bench. Anyways, learning will be much more in a Development project rather than a support or minor enhancement project.

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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    Quote Originally Posted by techgnome View Post
    And I'm pretty sure that my lack of degree has hurt me a couple of times... but after nearly 30 years of doing this, almost 20 of which professionally, the degree seems less and less important.
    According to what i see at present, if you have a degree then you will get a higher salary package. The bsc guys in computer science used to get less package than the engineering guys(irrespective of their knowledge), its only because of their degree. Even there are some MNC which don't even call a fresher bsc guys for interviews, they prefer only engineers.

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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    Quote Originally Posted by szlamany View Post
    Being a technology consultant means being a business consultant in my book - I can walk into the types of business I specialize in and be both an expert on their business model and also show how to apply technology to that business properly.
    As i said in my 1st post, there are as many as 30 applications that we take care of and then most surprising thing is that all the applications are inter-related to each other. If one batch program is not working properly then it will affect a lot to the other applications as well. Hence understanding the business in my case with a very limited knowledge/experience is becoming more difficult. But still i am trying my best to understand the domain knowledge and how we use the technology to fulfill the it.

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    Re: Business Consultant/Technology consultant related queries

    wel mba degree is not too much required because if you know the
    most technologies then you can do the consultancy

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