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Is Consulting Right for You?


Sign #4: Desire for Single Product Focus

Some people, perhaps by instinct, perhaps by disposition, have a desire to work on a single product flowing through their veins. If you are one of these people, there are very good reasons why the consulting business really isn't for you. If this description fits you, there simply are much better career alternatives you probably should pursue. The role of consulting in your career, if any, is simply to provide a means of acquiring cash so you have some "runway" (also known as "living expenses") that you need to launch a product on your own. If you can manage to find a place in a software company that shares your mission, has management you like, and has a product you believe in, you will almost certainly be happier working in a software product company.

Unlike some of the other signs, if this is really the situation you are in, you should keep in mind that in the rare event, as a consultant, you are working on packaged software. It is very infrequent that a consultant will be named a product designer, architect, or even lead developer of a software product. It might happen occasionally, but to plan on it would be really hoping to get very lucky on each and every engagement.

Even if you score such an engagement, chances are, the subsequent one is going to be writing software for an IT department somewhere with an internal corporate audience. The nature of consulting is that you are writing software for consumers who work within large companies, for audiences that are typically fairly small. Consulting, simply put, is not the place to go if your career goal is to have every project on which you work be something that will be used by thousands or millions of users. Even if it does happen occasionally, such cases are the exception, not the rule.


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