This year marks the eighth year I’ve been on my on as an indie developer so I wanted to write about the benefits of being a software consultant. During my time on my own I’ve worked independently as a freelancer then co-founder/partner in a small consulting company to being the principal engineer of my own software consulting company, msoftware, where I am now. Being a software consultant has a lot of benefits for people who decide to pursue this career path. Whether you’re working as a freelancer or as part of a consulting firm, the skills and experience you gain as a consultant can be applied to a wide range of industries and projects. Many of these skills don’t necessarily come from being a consultant, specifically, but from running any type of business. I actually attribute a lot of these skills to running my own t-shirt company.
- Flexibility: One of the biggest benefits of being a consultant is the flexibility – both in terms of your time and projects you work on. You have the ability to choose which projects you take on and when, giving you a nice freedom to balance work and life. Additionally, you can work from anywhere with an internet connection, allowing you to travel, work from home, at a client or from a local co-working space as desired.
- You wear many hats: As a consultant, you have the opportunity to work on a variety of projects and with different clients who all can different technology stacks. Clients look to you as the person who can solve it all. Front end, back end, database, marketing, email, SEO, hosting and pour over coffee. Some of the projects I’ve worked on in the last six months have been integrating with the Shopify e-commerce API, a data visualization React app of organ transplant centers around the country, a C# WebAPI interfacing with FinTech APIs and an Angular client dashboard. This diversified experience can help you build a well-rounded skill set and expand your knowledge base in a way that might not be possible if you were working in a single company or industry.
- Career Growth: Consulting offers numerous opportunities for career growth and advancement. You are continuously build your skill set, take on new challenges, and expand your network by working with different clients and other consultants. It takes work to grow in the consulting world, however. I’m constantly learning new technologies and skills as well as networking. Like any technology position, you need to stay up to date in order to continue to grow.
- High Demand: The demand for consultants is pretty high, both freelance and contractors, and some say is expected to increase as technology continues to advance. As a consultant, you’re likely to have a steady stream of work if you stay up to date and can command higher rates for your services in areas where there is a greater need.
- Independence: I was never one for authority, so being a software consultant offers a level of independence that I’ve never had as a regular W-2 employee. As a consultant, you are your own boss and have control over your own workload and schedule – to an extent. Even though there is a lot of independence you’re still at the mercy of your clients. That means deadlines, office visits and budgets are still very much a reality. However, the independence of consultant allows you to focus on the work that you enjoy and feel most fulfilled by. Not to mention the ability to work from a Mexican beach in February.
In the end, being a software consultant is pretty great if you thrive working independently and don’t mind the sales aspect of the job. With its flexibility, variety of technologies, career growth opportunities, high demand, and independence, it is a great choice for those looking to step out on their own.