Life as a Consultant
You graduate cum laude as an IT student. You are still in the flower of your life full of beer and enjoyment. But gradually reality comes knocking at your door and it's time to look for the job of a lifetime. Somewhere you still have doubts. Would you take a Sabbath year, or would you still take the chance to go abroad, or would you fly right in and earn your own money? Do you recognize this? That's how it went with me! I remember it as the day yesterday.
The big step
The unfamiliarity in which you would end up. The ignorance about what you want to do with your life. You do have an idea, but few know it down to the last detail. On top of that there is the problem that you have difficulty adapting to big changes.
I talked to several IT companies during my application period, but there was only one company that offered a job as 'Consultant'. The word sounded pretty fancy at the time. Now I also have to say that it actually IS fancy! Just think of the privileges of a consultant. There are a lot of interesting advantages to this job. Both in terms of knowledge expansion, freedom, remuneration, company car... (I leave the further details of this list to your imagination).
A fresh beer
Obviously I was talking about the material part. But what about the grey cells? Let me say that you become intellectually so much richer as a consultant.
You will learn how to work together with other people in a different team and in a different setting. Your communication skills will develop further at a fast pace. In some places you will have a typical business hierarchy, while in other places the boss will come and have a beer with you after working hours. You see and experience it all.
Since you also get in touch with other people, who each have their own way of working, who each have their own way of writing code, you learn every day. That sounds so cliché! You sometimes hear people say: "I learn every day". I didn't believe any of it!
As a consultant you learn something every day in different areas. If only a form of communication, or a new language, or a way of writing code,... After every consultancy period it turns out that I have suddenly gained a lot more knowledge than I originally thought. This manifests itself in the field of code writing, my communication skills, but also my languages. I now speak and understand French better than ever before!
One assignment is not the other!
Let's be honest too. One assignment is not the other. Not every client works in the same way. Maybe you're one of those people who can't deal with hierarchy. Maybe you are someone who wants to write code in your own way at all costs. Then realize that you are missing out on a lot of opportunities to work in challenging projects. Projects and situations you will never experience in your own office. So far I am working on a solution that is used by all police institutions, where my PHP, French, English and communication skills are greatly improving. In short, I can come home and say: "I'm sorry to be home. Today was another fun day!
And that's the most important thing, isn't it?