Hey Laurie - I enjoyed this! And frankly it made me want to try my hand at consulting because all the things you mention are things that I enjoy.
I was just thinking though - all these skills that you mention would all be things that I'd look for when I was hiring a good senior developer. So I have to ask: do you think there's a difference between your definition of a consultant and a senior dev, and if so - what?
Great observation :) I’d tend to agree. I’m not sure there is a difference skills and at any time a given engineer may be interested in either path.
That’d being said, senior engineers can have a depth of focus and in more cases consultants need breadth. And in terms of motivation/interest, working on a single problem versus working on multiple unrelated problems.
Fellow consultant here...one of the biggest things I have noticed is that technology is often not the problem that clients are facing. It is part of the equation, but probably 75% of the time, people are the biggest issue. Weak or absent management, egos holding companies hostage, individuals trying to silo knowledge, fun stuff like that.
I have found that being self-aware helps me see a lot of issues in other people and I am able to connect the dots faster. There is also a lot more value in being a generalist as a consultant: it guarantees you stay billable, and a lot of times clients need one person who knows a little bit about everything.
Fellow consultant here as well. I totally agree with you. Communication and people-things are what makes or breaks companies and projects. The technology is most of the time just an implementation detail - or easily fixed when you're able to communicate effectively.
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