Interested in starting your career in tech consulting? But not sure whether it’s right for you? We spoke to Bright Network member Josh – a graduate at a world leading tech consultancy – to discover his insights a year into his graduate role. After studying Geography at university, he tells us about working in the industry without a technical background.
There are so many opportunities for graduates in a large tech consulting firm, whether you’re into technology or not. Even if you’re not working directly on building the IT infrastructure for a client, you’ll still need to build up a basic understanding of the IT systems, but this doesn’t mean you need a background in tech. You’re likely to be given some structured training, but most of the knowledge is picked up while you’re on the job. In my experience, there are always more experienced colleagues on hand to give you a crash course in areas when needed and they understand that graduates may not have the expertise straight away.
In the first three to six months you may feel lost with all the acronyms and terms people around you are using. This doesn’t last long, and now 12 months in, I’m using these terms freely, which I didn’t have a clue about when I started.
In terms of graduate roles, big consultancies have roles in finance, HR and business management. It’s the client facing roles in business management where there are lots of opportunities for students without the conventional tech background, utilising communication, customer service and problem-solving skills. Two of the main roles that non-technical grads tend to go into are:
Project managers liaise with the clients during the development and implementation stage of a new product or service. They’ll work out the requirements of the client and take responsibility for the delivery. For example, if we are implementing a new online banking system, for a client in the financial sector, the project management team will run this project from start to finish, all the way from planning, through to developing and then delivery. They will liaise with the technical teams to ensure that the project delivers on time and on budget to requirements specified by the client. Once the project is implemented successfully, it will it be handed on to another function and the project manager will be assigned to a new project.
When the project managers have successfully delivered and implemented, the service has ‘gone live’ and it will be passed to a service manager to take it on and have the ownership of the service going forward. Their job is to respond to client requests and ensure the systems are working as well as they possibly can, as well as being the customer contact when things go wrong or a system goes down. As you’re acting as the connection between the client and the internal tech teams, communication and people skills are vitally important.
Working in the less technical, management side of consulting means you have a lot of customer interaction – the part of the job I enjoy most. Some roles will be exclusively in the client office, but most are split between our head office and the client’s. This is the best mix, as you have a good social life in your own company, but you also get to know the client teams you’re servicing really well, understanding their requirements and business goals.
Overall, the transferable skills you pick up in the role, combined with the technological knowledge, give you a great starting point in your career.
A big thanks to Josh. Looking for more advice? Check out our Tech Consulting hub.