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StrategyOct 06, 2016

8 Questions to Determine if You Should be a Technology Consultant

Shelby Strodel

When I started my search for a full-time job, I had no idea what it meant to be a technology consultant. I was a senior at the University of Texas at Austin pursuing a degree in management information systems (MIS), and I found it impossible to get past the buzz words and slogans describing possible jobs. What would I actually be doing? Would I be put in a corner with no one to talk to? Would I be bored or would the pressure break me? Are the recruiters painting an accurate picture? I solemnly accepted that picking a job meant taking a leap of faith.

However, when I learned about Credera, that leap of faith I was prepared to settle for turned into a clear confidence about a role I knew I wanted to fill.

I remember my first Credera Company Night during the fall of my senior year. President and CEO Rob Borrego talked passionately about the Credera culture and its meritocracy. He got us excited about the leadership team’s commitment to hiring students from campus and training them to be technology consultants. He then handed the mic over to a recent University of Texas MIS graduate who did a 20-minute presentation on a project he had worked on shortly after joining Credera. Michael spoke eloquently but genuinely as he described his experience on the project. He then did a live demo showcasing a mobile application he helped develop. I remember thinking how talented he was to be able to switch back and forth from a business context to a technical context and somehow make college students understand him. I could hardly believe he was just a year older than me. He talked about how hard it was at first, feeling like he was starting over, like he had so much to learn. But the team took the time to get him up to speed.

“I want to do that,” I thought to myself. I wanted to be a sponge for new technologies and build something that people actually use. But I also wanted to be able to present and be known for my ability to articulate and solve complex business situations. Every day I tell people if I spent my entire career coding, I’d go crazy. But if I spent my entire career in conversations and whiteboards and never got my hands dirty, I’d go crazy. Technology consulting at Credera gives my brain the diversity of work it needs.

On any given day, a technology consultant at an entry-level position at Credera could be developing a custom application, validating business requirements, estimating a backlog of work items, preparing a presentation to showcase new functionality, participating in a design session for how to build a user interface, or querying various datasets to support a business need. The list goes on, and every item on it requires a quick mind and an inner drive.

Go through the questions below to get a sense for whether or not you would like the work at Credera:

  1. Are you willing to ask tough business questions about existing processes and track down complete answers from the right business users?

  2. Will you feel a sense of ownership for your work and put in the effort to deliver the solution that is right for the business, not just the easiest?

  3. Will you learn enough about what you’re working on to feel confident if you have to spontaneously present or discuss content with a client?

  4. Do you like structure, layers, organization, and consistency?

  5. Do you like seeing processes become more efficient through different approaches?

  6. Are you a fast learner and able to memorize definitions or foreign languages easily?

  7. Are you a hard worker and not easily frustrated when things don’t make sense right away?

  8. Most importantly, do you want to be a fundamental part of making designs come to life and changing the way people interact with technology?

After working at Credera for three years now, each project has taught me so much and has affirmed that I’m in the right career. Even when I’m in between projects, I get to challenge myself by getting certifications, writing blog posts, and attending conferences.

This fall, Credera is sponsoring a few of us to attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in Houston. Last year, there were 12,000 attendees from 63 countries and over 1,300 companies represented. To quote their website, “The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (GHC) is the world’s leading gathering of women technologists. Women come from all around the globe to learn, exchange ideas, and be inspired.” It is very important to me as a female technologist to invest in the GHC and other organizations like it. With over 200 sessions spread out over three days, Credera’s sponsorship will expose us to some of the brightest minds in the technology industry. It is conferences like the GHC that help women everywhere get clarity on their career and understand their potential. I’m so grateful for a company that values me enough to send me to the GHC. Click here for the 2015 GHC Impact Report.

Whenever I visit the University of Texas, I make sure to let the students know that working at any job is going to have its moments of late nights, difficult people, and lulls where you don’t feel challenged. But for me, those moments have been few and far between, and I feel like my fellow Credera teammates would say the same. We’re an imperfect company made up of imperfect people, but we work hard and love what we do. Get to know yourself and find your team.