A small step as developer, a great leap as consultant13th January 2022
Have you ever asked yourself: Am I a developer or a consultant? Or even what the difference is between one and the other?
There are different definitions for each, and even those might be different for each area, even different for each project. So I’ll try to simplify what it means at least for this blog post.
The developer is the one that receives instructions to develop a product or service. Usually, the only questions that you ask are the ones required to complete the task.
The consultant is the one that provides consulting services to a client. They listen to the clients, study their business, and bring ideas and solutions.
So let me tell you a story about a developer, let’s call her Jazz.
Jazz started as a developer, she received tickets and requests, and developed new features. She was happy just doing this.
Time passed and she kept doing the same, but then started to notice things: even though she kept doing what was requested in the best way she could, for some reason, the project was not doing so well.
At first we might not have the questions, but we do feel like something is wrong, and this feeling has its consequences.
Then, she did what most developers do when they realize this, she started to question things: Why is it like that? Is my code wrong? Can I do better? Should I do more than what was requested? Does the client care for this project? Do they know what they are doing? Do I know what they are doing? Is this what I want to do? Do I want to keep doing this?
Some might not realize it at first, but this is a big event. This is when the developer, truly, starts to decide if this is what they want to do and what the next step in their career might be.
Sometimes it is when they decide to change projects or jobs, sometimes they decide this is not for them, sometimes they are fine the way they are and keep developing what is requested.
In the case of Jazz she decided that she wanted answers. If what she was doing was correct but not enough, then the problem should be somewhere else. She then started to ask questions about the business, the main objective of the changes, and in general she started to ask questions outside of what was requested, and started to take a look at the bigger picture.
This not only answered her questions of what she was doing, but also allowed her to ask better and more important questions. At some point her questions became opinions, and then opinions became ideas and solutions.
At this point Jazz might not be a consultant, but she did take a leap towards a new goal.
Growing up in your career is not simply learning new technologies or tools. You might not be aware, but growing up is the accumulation of good and bad experiences; having doubts and questioning what you are doing doesn’t always mean you lack the knowledge, it might also mean that you have grown up enough to know when something can be done differently or better. Once you are able to transform doubts into ideas, it will become a powerful resource and a leap forward for your career.