Why consulting and tech skills are the perfect combination for the future world of work
Nick Patterson co-founded Movemeon.com – the leading platform in Europe for consultants and alumni. The platform connects 36k+ consultants to over 3,000 start-ups, tech businesses, leading corporates and PE firms. Nick was previously a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
Consultancy – a career to open doors
Most people enter consulting as it opens doors. Or, to put another way, it puts off having to make a decision. This is definitely not a bad thing when you’re a graduate; your knowledge of the potential careers out there is understandably limited.
In the UK, where I studied, the careers department at University highlighted three options: consultancy, banking or law. Consultancy offered an opportunity to better understand what opportunities were out there, whilst not limiting my choices.
The adaptability of consultants
Consultancy opens doors for very good reasons.
Firstly, it tends to attract “all-rounders”. The assessment process for consultants is focused on both logical/ structured thinking, and your potential to be strong at building client relationships.
Secondly, consultants are then trained, normally for at least 24 months, in the consulting toolkit. The hard skills are regularly referred to as problem-solving, corporate presentation/ communications, analytics. However, in my opinion, the softer skills are just as important: attention to detail, a continual focus on personal development, ability to build client relationships/ stakeholder management.
The result is that ex-consultants can go into a wide variety of commercial, analytical and senior management roles.
The rise in prestige of tech businesses
In 2007, when I graduated, there weren’t many of my peers who went into tech firms and none of my friends even mentioned start-ups.
The MBA ranking of most prestigious companies still had the consultancies and investment banks at the top of the tree. However, that changed in the following 3 years. Google and other large tech businesses rose to become the most prestigious post-MBA career options. And in the wake of their growth, came a new world of VC-backed start-ups.
We noticed this shift when we analysed which careers consultants and ex-consultants on movemeon were most interested in. Historically, banking, retail/ consumer and boutique consultancies had been in greatest demand. This has now been turned on its head.
Start-ups, tech and e-commerce businesses now account for 34% of people’s dream next job. This dwarfs the more traditional industries and even outranks Private Equity (another industry that has seen dramatic growth).
The future of work
It’s not just the prestige of tech companies that are increasing; a whole new world of work has opened up.
With the growth of technology, new jobs have been created. In particular, we’ve seen a huge growth in product management, data science, AI and analytics roles. The challenge in the market is one of supply and demand: there are far more opportunities than there are people with relevant experience.
This has resulted in two things:
- An increase in the salary paid
- More flexibility in the backgrounds of candidates
Setting yourself apart
Despite the supply-demand imbalance, product management roles, in particular, are extremely competitive.
Product management roles are the second most popular roles on the site – over a third more sought after than traditional “strategy” roles that consultants look for. As such, in order to be successful in applying for these roles, consultants are increasingly looking to further develop their tech skills.
Combining a background in consultancy with a technological understanding can really set you apart. The grounding from consulting in structured thinking, commercial acumen and senior stakeholder management combined with knowledge of tech, will put you in a unique position to help drive tech products and platforms forward.
A passport for the tech industry
As the tech industry matures, it’s becoming increasingly hard to be a great product manager or head of an analytics team, without being able to write a line of code.
When people are applying for these roles, we’re often seeing people not progressing to interview based on the hiring manager’s being unable to find evidence of a strong interest/ skills in web development and data analytics. This is driven by tech businesses finding it increasingly hard for non-technical manager’s to lead technical discussions as they progress in companies.
Combining a background in consultancy with a technological understanding can really set you apart. The grounding from consulting in structured thinking, commercial acumen and senior stakeholder management combined with knowledge of tech, will put you in a unique position to help drive tech products and platforms forward. This will help you to really differentiate yourself as a future leader in a tech business.
Ironhack and Movemeon’s Partnership
We know the tech know-how is not easy to come by and can require time and dedication. This is one of the reasons we are delighted to partner with Ironhack to help members of the movemeon community to acquire hard tech skills.
Ironhack is a Tech School with campuses in Europe and Latin America, running short and in intensive courses to acquire the most widely used tech skills, and help candidates transition into the tech industry.
Ironhack and Movemeon have partnered to offer scholarships to Movemeon members for boot camps in web development or data analytics. You can read more about the content of each Bootcamp on their website.
We believe that by helping former consultants to acquire tech skills we are enabling our community to kick-start a career change, as well as improve their potential to become future leaders in tech companies.