IT consultancy professionals help individuals and businesses resolve technology challenges and make technology-related purchases or strategy decisions. More than ever, IT consultants are needed to assist and advise innovative and ambitious companies. However, when talking to recruiters and IT consultants, there are always a few misconceptions surrounding this field. This article takes four common IT consultancy myths and debunks them through the experience of Xebia consultants.Poor Work/Life Balance
MYTH #1: IT consultants do not have the time or possibility to juggle work life and social life successfully.
IT consultants have a work schedule that varies depending on the client and the project they are assigned to. Factors such as working with international clients, or very demanding projects may often require the consultants to work outside of their normal schedule or routine, which may impact one’s social life.
Although there are special circumstances where consultants may have to work outside of their normal schedule, IT consultants generally sign 40-hour-per-week contracts just like in any other field. Those are the fixed hours that you work and bill, no more no less. Xebia’s flexible attitude and the possibility of working remotely allow the consultants to tailor their schedules based on their availability and social commitments.
Slobodan Bogdanovic, a Xebia Cloud consultant elaborated on the benefits of this arrangement: “It depends on the client, but I still pick up my kids from school. It is nice when I work from home, as I can have breakfast and lunch with my kids and wife. So I can still spend quality time with my family whilst still delivering value to our customer.”
Limited Social Interaction
MYTH #2: IT consultancy does not require any social interaction or social skills. It is a predominantly lonely and screen-based profession.
IT consultancy is a job that requires incredible technical skills but does not come with a lot of human interaction.
Xebia highly values social interaction within the company. It evangelizes sharing knowledge and collaboration. Consultants are encouraged (and expected) to write and present content on their projects, as well as facilitate training sessions and host events. In addition, Xebia relies heavily on a genuine relationship with its clients. Generating and maintaining such relations requires good social skills and frequent interaction.
“Believe it or not, the clients that we work for are people, so you have to interact with them. To have good cooperation within the client’s team, you need good social skills and a willingness to get to know each other, as this is the only way to establish a strong work relationship,” explained Joris Conijn, a Xebia consultant.
Lack of Creativity
MYTH #3: IT consultancy does not require creativity or thinking outside the box.
IT consultancy is an extremely broad profession that encompasses several fields. Often enough, a consultant specializes in one certain domain, which could be security for instance. Therefore, if you are a security expert you mainly work on security-related projects, which after a while may be repetitive and may require the same solutions.
Although consultancy projects may look similar to one another on paper, there is always something different required. Xebia invests in consultants that are the authority in their fields. We expect our consultants to provide solutions, even when the right (or best) one is not immediately clear. Sometimes, the only way to solve a challenge is by using different approaches. Xebia also stimulates personal development, by offering a training budget, encouraging people to speak at conferences, and adding new tricks to their belts.
Bruno Schaatsbergen, the team leader of the Xebia Cloud Booster program elaborated, “Consultancy definitely requires creativity, as it is all about problem-solving. Even though a problem looks very similar to something you’ve faced before, a provided solution doesn’t always work. As we’re working with various clients, looking for an alternative solution pushes us to think outside of the box.”
Restricted Freedom Onsite
MYTH #4: IT consultants do not have decisional/professional freedom when working onsite for a client
As a consultant, your employer is the client, meaning that you have to comply with the client’s needs and wants. This may mean not always having power when it comes to making decisions and tackling a project.
Clients that collaborate with Xebia expect our consultants to know what to do and how to do it. It goes back to our mission of authority. Xebia’s outstanding reputation and focus on authority require a level of professionality and successful projects in IT consultancy. Of course, rules, regulations, and guidelines are in place and will fluctuate, depending on the client. But generally, our consultants are professional experts and therefore not to be extensively monitored.
“This is definitely a myth," remarked Niek Khasuntsev, a cloud consultant at Xebia. "Our clients want to work with us because we are authorities in our fields. Of course, we have to adapt to the client's way of working, but our expert opinion is greatly appreciated. In my experience, I have always had the freedom to tackle a project as I saw fit,” he concluded.
Take the Next Step
With these four myths debunked, and the Xebia reality revealed, maybe it's time for you to reconsider this rewarding career path. IT consultants are in high demand, and the outlook for the future is growing even brighter. If you're interested in learning more about becoming an IT consultant, check out our vacancies or get in touch with our recruitment team. Sounds great, but not sure your skills are quite there yet? We've also got a variety of IT courses and learning journeys that can get you up to speed, as well as the Cloud Booster program.