"How I Went from" is an ongoing blog series that highlights our employees' different journeys to InterWorks. The results are pretty diverse, but each story is special in its own right.
I never imagined I would one day become an analytics consultant. With the benefit of hindsight, I know it was a great career choice for me but one made more through luck and opportunity than design. So, I’m writing this blog as a piece of advice to my younger self and anybody else interested to know if this is the life for you.
Could Consulting Be the Life for You?
I have always loved to solve problems with technology. Using basic coding, I once wrote a simple computer game where you could try your hand at landing a lunar module before your fuel ran out. Spending my life behind a computer screen never appealed to me, however, and I made an early career jump to a commercial role where I could really focus on problem-solving through technology.
Above: A pre-flight photo taken by a teammate who shares my interest in aviation
Through my early work in sales support, I experienced firsthand the challenges that users faced when confronted with radically new technology. I was right at the leading edge when digital electronics started to replace familiar knobs and switches with new-fangled keypads and digital displays.
Suddenly, manufacturers could offer everything ever dreamed of at no extra cost! Pity the poor users who found themselves confronted overnight with an avalanche of options they neither understood nor needed. During that time, I discovered the importance of keeping things simple – a passion as relevant today as it ever was.
Great Strides for the Remote Employee
My career began in 1980. This was a time when telephones had dials and were strictly confined to the desktop. The slide-rules that had powered the moon landings were still in widespread use, and data analysis was done on paper with a pencil and ruler.
Today, I’m working with fantastically powerful software that can chew its way through mind-boggling amounts of data in the blink of an eye. My mobile phone is vastly more powerful than the university computer I first played on, and it lets me connect to colleagues anywhere in the world. It’s been a wonderful journey that was made possible through a life-long love of learning—not through necessity but driven by curiosity to learn for its own sake.
Above: Presenting with the team at our company winter conference in Essaouira, Morocco
The final, and perhaps most important factor that steered me to being an analytics consultant has nothing to do with technology at all. Being able to communicate what you’re passionate about in a way that inspires others is vital. After all, clients make a positive choice when opting to work with a consultant. Of course, they need to believe you are competent in what you do, but ultimately that’s not enough: they must want to work with you!
Searching for New Consultants
Today, my role calls on me to evaluate candidates that aspire to join our consulting team. My own experience guides me to look for passion in using technology to solve problems, excitement for learning and a spark that causes me to say, “Hell yes!”.