This guide is designed to help people learn how they can take the skills and experience they’ve gained in strategy and management consulting and turn them into a rewarding, highly-paid career in tech.
- The Path from management consulting to tech
- 1. Choosing your future tech role
- 2. Preparing yourself for your new career
- 3. Finding the right tech job
- 4. Ensuring success from day one
- Tech 101
- All about you
- Assess your current situation
- Record your motivations for career change
- Define your career change goals
- Your future role
- Salary, Stock Options and RSUs
- Work/Life Balance
- Work Location
- Timeline to transition
- Next steps
The Path from management consulting to tech
How exactly does one make the move from consulting to tech? I like to break the process out into four stages:
1. Choosing your future tech role
The career change process is a journey, and like any journey, you’ll reach your destination faster if you can follow a path. If you only know that “I want to work in tech” then you’ll have many questions – what do you need to learn? What kind of companies will hire you? Will you make more or less than in consulting? The lack of direction will make it tough to find answers.
Compare this to someone who says “I’m going to work in a corporate strategy team at a mid-sized SaaS company”. Not only can they answer the questions above, they can plot out a series of clear steps that will take them from their current consulting role, right through to day one in a CorpStrat team. This is why it’s so important to decide on your future tech role early in the career change process.
To decide effectively you’ll need to learn about the best roles in tech for consultants, and where these roles fit within early-stage startups and more established tech companies. Once you’ve acquired this base-level of knowledge you can confidently choose a role that matches your unique combination of skills, experience, and career goals.
2. Preparing yourself for your new career
After deciding on your future role it’s time to start preparing for your new career. You probably won’t be aiming to work in a technical function like software development, but I still recommend that you build a solid foundation of tech knowledge if you’re planning to work in the industry.
You’ll want to understand topics like how tech companies are funded and grow, how tech products are bought to market, how software is made, and so on. You’ll also want to get up-to-speed on tech industry buzzwords and jargon so you feel confident contributing in your future role.
This preparation stage is also the perfect time to start improving your odds of getting hired when the time comes. You can start to build your network in the tech industry, working on side-projects to show to future employers – there are plenty of options that can help you stand out from the crowd.
3. Finding the right tech job
The goal of the third stage is to find a great job. You’ll need to seek out the best positions available in the market, go through the interview process and negotiate the terms of employment.
If you’re going to do the work required to change careers then you want make sure you end up in a better situation than you are in now, otherwise what’s the point of it all? So don’t simply look for the first job you can get. You want to find a position that matches the life and career goals that you’ve set for yourself. This goes beyond the job description, to include factors like work/life balance, the type of company, and whether a role is in-person or remote.
4. Ensuring success from day one
Signing your first tech employment contract is an exciting step, but it’s not the end of the process. You want to thrive in your new role from day one, so you’ll need to make sure that you are prepared for the realities of the job. This includes how your new team operates, the frameworks and systems they follow, the software applications they use and so on. Thankfully, you can learn most of this information before you start in your new position.
This introductory guide focuses on the first stage of the career change process, where you choose your future tech career. The topics we’re going to look at include:
- Your motivations for career change
- How to assess your current situation
- How to set goals for your future tech career
- Your future tech job: what will it look like?
I think it’s about time to get started. But before we dive too deep, we’ll kick things off with a brief bit of “Tech101”. I’m going to take a few moments to define some key terms that you’ll be hearing frequently throughout this path.
What do we mean by “working in tech”?
Let’s start at the beginning to make sure we’re all on the same page. I keep talking about “working in tech”, but what exactly do I mean?
Working in tech is shorthand for “working for a technology company”. Every successful company you’ve ever worked with will be using some form of technology within their business but that doesn’t automatically make them a “tech company”, nor does it mean their employees work in the “tech industry”. So what do we mean by “tech company”?
Wikipedia’s definition is quite helpful:
“A technology company (or tech company) is an electronics-based technology company, including, for example, business relating to digital electronics, software, and internet-related services, such as e-commerce services”.
This definition is broad enough to include the likes of Instagram (smartphone software), Microsoft(enterprise software, consumer software, hardware etc), Amazon (ecommerce, logistics, cloud data), or Zalando (ecommerce), while not being so broad that it would include a local law firm because they happen to use Microsoft Word.
We can break tech companies down further into subcategories and sectors like B2B, SaaS, mobile, social, cloud, crypto, fintech and so on. I won’t bore you by defining each of these now but hopefully you get the idea.
Finally, we have the growth goals of the companies, which ultimately influences their products, sources of funding, go-to-market strategies and so on. It’s common to hear tech companies referred to as startups, but it’s not a requirement for a tech company to be a startup, and not all tech companies are startups.
A common industry definition of a startup is a recently founded tech company that is focused on growing large, quickly. The emphasis here is on growing large, quickly. While some tech companies choose to self-fund their operations and growth (known in the industry as “bootstrapping”), most high growth-focused startups will try to raise outside investment, usually in the form of venture capital. They will then use this cash to try and grow as fast as they can on the journey to an eventual “exit” (company sale or liquidity event).
The day-to-day experience of working at a bootstrapped company is quite different to an early-stage venture-backed startup, which will itself be different to working in a post-IPO tech juggernaut. It’s not inherently better or worse to work in a startup or a more established tech company – they are simply different experiences, and each has their own set of benefits and tradeoffs. I cover these in detail in my guide: “Where should you work: a startup or a larger tech company?”.
Bits over Atoms
Most tech companies create software products. Yes, Apple, Tesla and SpaceX exist but if anything they are the exceptions that prove the rule. Hardware, or “atoms” based products, are much more capital intensive to build than “bits”, or software-based products – compare building a reusable rocket to creating an iPhone app. Many software companies also benefit from being able to add new users at near-zero marginal cost, something hardware companies can only dream of. As the saying goes: “Hardware is hard.”
The software products themselves are hugely varied, differing in their platforms (mobile, web, desktop, smartwatch, in-car etc), target users (eg. consumer social vs enterprise), their monetization strategies (Freemium vs annual contracts) and so on. Again, this is a more complex topic than I can do justice to now but I have a guide that goes into this in much more detail.
The key point to remember is that most tech companies that you’ll encounter will be building software products, so if you want to work in tech it’s important to get to grips with the software side of the industry. You should have an understanding of how software products are made, how software companies are organized, the various teams and roles within them, and so on.
Okay, that’s our tech basics covered. Let’s dive in and start exploring the process of moving from consulting to tech.
All about you
It’s time to talk about the most important topic in career change – you. Let’s start with a question: What is motivating you to change careers?
If you’ve made it this far then I’m going to assume that you’re not entirely happy with the current state of your consulting career. There are many potential reasons for this: you may find consulting work boring. You could be tired of parachuting into temporary projects for clients. You may feel unfulfilled. The constant travel could be taking you away from your family. You might feel like there is no room to grow in your current role, or you’ve decided the long climb up the ladder to partner simply isn’t worth it.
Every person has their own reasons. When speaking with consultants I frequently hear the following motivations for career change:
- A desire for more fulfillment in your work.
- The opportunity to work as a team towards a shared goal
- Spending less time in meetings or creating Powerpoint decks
- The ability to work on projects that have meaning
- A desire to help bring products to market, rather than servicing external clients
- An improved work/life balance
- Less time away traveling
- A shot at the “startup lottery” – the chance to earn large amounts of money relatively quickly through equity and options.
- The social status you can get from working at a “cool” or well-known tech company
Will moving to tech provide all of these outcomes? The honest answer is: it depends. Some are relatively straight forward – it’s quite easy to find tech roles that offer a decent work/life balance and no travel. But in general, it depends on the choices you make – the role you choose, the companies you work for, and of course, some luck.
Why your motivations matter
If you’re going to go to the effort of changing careers then you want to make sure you end up with an outcome that you’re truly happy with. You have valid reasons for wanting to leave the world of consulting, and exploring these motivations will help you narrow down the tech job role search and find something that is a great fit for you.
Just think – if you’re unhappy now, the last thing you want is to spend the next six months working towards changing careers only to find you’re still unhappy once you get there.
The aim is to find a tech career that matches your motivations, skills, experience and goals. Before you start looking into the various roles that are available, I highly recommend taking some time to access your life and career goals. You can then use this information to as a guide as you seek out the perfect role in tech for you.
Assess your current situation
The first step is to take note of your current situation – your skills, experience, education and so on. Basically, the information you’d present publicly to the world on a LinkedIn profile. This is just a starting point to help get you in the right frame of mind for the next steps.
- Skills (with particular focus on skills that could transfer well to your new career)
- Eg: strategy, financial modeling, data analysis
- eg: 3 years as a Business Analyst at McKinsey
- MBA, MIT Sloan 2017
- New York City, NY, USA
- Married, 1 child
Record your motivations for career change
After accessing your current situation it’s time to start thinking about your motivations for change. Basically – why are you choosing to read this right now?
Look through the list below and take note of any motivations that resonate with you. You’ll want to refer back to these later when you’re choosing your tech role (note – this list is not exhaustive, so feel free to add any other motivations for career change that apply to you).
Motivations for change
Do any of the following motivations resonate with you?
- You’re bored of working in consulting
- You want to feel more fulfillment in your work
- You want to work as a team towards a shared goal
- You’re sick of all the time spent in meetings or creating Powerpoint decks
- You want to feel like you’re working on projects with meaning
- You want to experience what it’s like to bring new products to market, rather than providing services to external clients
- You’re unhappy with your work/life balance
- You’re don’t want to spend as much time traveling for work
- You’re genuinely interested in technology and are keen to be part of the industry
- You want a shot at the “startup lottery”, and the chance to earn large amounts of money relatively quickly through equity and options
- You want to work in a more relaxed environment
- You’re tired of having to wear a suit or similar “formal uniform”
- You want to work for a “cool” or well-known company
Define your career change goals
Finally, it’s time to start thinking about your goals and what you hope to achieve from your career change.
Career change goals
- Do you have a set amount you want to earn? Are you prepared to take a lower salary to get in the door at a hyper-growth startup? Are you keen to maximize your income now, or take the gamble of a lower salary with more equity/options?
- Work/Life balance
- Are you happy putting in long hours to try and jump up the career ladder? Is it important for you to be home every evening to have dinner with your family?
- Size/stage: Would you rather work in a small early-stage startup or a large, established company?
- Resources: Are you willing to work at a startup with less financial resources if they offer more career flexibility/freedom, or would you prefer an established company with well-defined career paths and market-level salaries?
- Growth: Are you looking to hop onboard a high-growth rocket-ship (with all the ups and downs that brings), or would you prefer to work somewhere more stable?
- Work environment
- Do you thrive in high speed, high stress environments? Would you prefer a career where the day-to-day work is more social or solitary?
- Generalist or specialist role
- Do you like working in well-defined, specialized roles or do you want to be a generalist who gets to “do a bit of everything”?
- Career progression
- Do you need a well defined path of career progression? Have you set goals to reach a management/Director/VP/Executive level position within a certain timeframe? Are you more interested in moving and potentially changing roles as you go, even if it slows your climb up the ladder?
- Prestige / status
- Do you want to work for a “brand” – a company that people have heard of? Do you want to work in a “trendy” role?
Again, this isn’t an exhaustive list. If you have other goals in mind then feel free to add them. And don’t worry if you are not able to answer some of these questions right now. We’ll be covering these topics in more detail as we continue through this guide.
Let’s get real: possible outcomes from moving to tech
You’ve taken some time to think about the motivations leading you to tech, and the goals you hope to acheive with your career change. But what kind of outcome can you realistically expect to achieve when you transition from consulting to tech?
I hate to keep qualifying my answers, but it depends on you – your new role, your work experience, your goals, network, the amount of effort you are willing to put in and so on. But while it may not be possible to provide you with a personalized outcome within the confines of this course, what I can do is walk you through the range of likely outcomes across a few key areas.
Let’s take a look at what you can expect from your future tech career across the following categories:
- Work/life balance
- Company environment
- Career transition time
Your future role
Imagine we could jump one year forward into a future where everything has gone to plan. What role would you be working in? There are many possibilities, and each comes with its own set of potential pros and cons. But if you want to achieve the goals you set for yourself earlier in this path, then I highly recommend finding a tech role that is similar to your current line of work.
Sideways, not down
The idea is to use your hard-earned career capital – your skills, experience and education – to get into a role that pays well, is intellectually stimulating, and fulfills your needs across any other important criteria, like social status. How do I know that these criteria are part of your goals? I don’t, but after speaking with many consultants I’ve found that these areas are generally considered to be important.
It may be helpful to visualize your career change as a kind of “horizontal” or sideways step. The idea is to leave consulting for a tech role that uses similar skills, rather than stepping back down the ladder and starting again. As an example, if criteria like a high salary, social status and seniority are important to you then you’ll have greater odds of achieving your goals if you turn your strategy and data analysis skills into a position in the corporate strategy team, rather than starting over as a UX designer. Now if you want to transition to becoming a UX designer then of course that’s fine, but the path will be longer and you’ll have to lower your expectations when it comes to your starting salary, seniority and so on.
So what would this sideways-move role look like? We’ll be covering the best tech roles for consultants in much more detail later in this course, but for now I can say that many of them are focused around using your strategy and data analysis skills to solve solve a wide range of problems within the business. In other words, they are kind of similar to being an internal management consultant.
But I hate consulting work!
Now I know some of you will be shouting: “I hate my current job, that’s why I’m desperate to leave!”. And don’t worry, I do understand! But I still think the horizontal move is an option you need to consider. Let me explain.
When I say that you should try and find a role that’s similar to what you’re currently doing, that doesn’t mean the work will be exactly the same. For example, working in a corporate strategy role may be similar to your current work as a consultant, but the day-to-day still differs in ways that matter – you’re won’t be working for external clients, you’re part of the team. You won’t spend all day making Powerpoint presentations. You probably won’t need to travel frequently. You should have a pretty good work/life balance, etc.
Another benefit of moving to a “consulting-style” role is you can stay close to your current level of seniority, and this gives you greater leverage than you’ll have if you change roles and drop down to a lower-level position. As an example, if a better work/life balance is important to you, you’ll be in a strong position to push for it during your job negotiation if you’re moving to a specialized role that you are already highly qualified for.
Finally, and perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind if you want to get out of consulting – you don’t have to stay in your first tech role forever, but it still can be a great way to quickly enter the industry. And if you really want to work in another area of tech then it will be easier to make that move when you’re already involved in the scene. You’ll have built up some valuable industry experience and be able to leverage the professional network you’ve built.
Hopefully my reasoning makes sense. For the purposes of simplicity, as I continue going through the next few categories I’m going to be assuming that you’ll be making a horizontal career transition towards a role that uses your existing skill set.
Salary, Stock Options and RSUs
The multi-million dollar question that’s on every prospective career changer’s mind – how much money will I make? I’m sorry to say that this is another one of those “it depends” answers.
Tech compensation packages are generally a mix of things like your salary, stock options, restricted stock units (RSU), bonuses and benefits. The combination and total value of your package depends greatly on factors like your role, seniority, the size of the company and so on. An entry-level tech role may pay $75k per year while someone in a director level position at a leading FAANG company can earn millions.
It’s common for startups and private tech companies to carve out a section of company equity as a “stock option pool”. When they offer someone a job they’ll include a number of options taken from this pool as equity compensation.
An option is the right to buy a specific amount of shares in a company in the future for a predetermined price, known as the strike price. The idea is that you work for a startup and get the option to buy shares at a low price. When the company eventually IPOs you get to buy your shares for that initial low price, sell them for the higher IPO price, and walk out with the difference – a big bucket of cash.
But options are not a gift. They are usually included as a way of offsetting a lower salary, as startups and smaller tech companies usually can not afford to compete with the salaries and RSUs offered by larger tech companies.
Options also act as an incentive for early employees to stay and grow the company as they have a vesting schedule attached to them. This means that you need to work for a certain amount of time before you are able to buy, or exercise, the options. This prevents people from taking a job, getting their options and then moving on to another startup a short while later. The typical startup vesting schedule is 4 years with a 1 year cliff. This means it will take four years to receive all of your options, and you will not receive any options until you have worked for at least one year (the cliff).
If you leave the company before an exit then you may need to exercise your options within a given time period. That has some pretty big tax implications, especially if you’re in the USA, so definitely check with a lawyer or advisor before you make any decisions.
Now the multi-million dollar question – will your stock options be worth anything?
That is a very tough question! The options will only be valuable if the company has some sort of exit event, like being acquired or going public through an IPO. Statistics show that most startups fail, and the earlier you join a startup the greater its chances of failure (not because you are joining of course, but because early-stage companies fail at a very high rate).
Based on that idea, your odds of making money from options are generally better if you join a company that is already further along in their journey – say, has a valuation of $200m and is seeing strong growth. Yes, you may be offered more options at a seed stage startup, but there is less chance those options will be worth anything when you compare it to a Series D scale-up on track for an IPO. Of course, if that seed stage does turn into the next Facebook or Google or Stripe….
As you can see, the whole “take a smaller salary in return for more options” is a bit like a startup version of playing the lottery. Like any lottery, the odds of winning the jackpot are very low, but some people do win.
One final thing to keep in mind. You can pay your rent or mortgage with your salary but you can’t pay with options. There is real value to the cash in your bank account.
Restricted Stock Units (RSU)
If a company is large (eg. valued at $1B or more) or already publicly listed, like Google or Microsoft, then they may offer you restricted stock units, or RSUs, as an added financial incentive.
An RSU is a method where a company grants shares to its employees. These shares are “restricted” because they come with a vesting schedule, similar to what we saw with stock options. But while stock options are giving you the option to buy stock at a future date, once an RSU has vested then you have the stock – you don’t need to purchase it.
You can think of RSUs as being kind of like a “stock bonus”, as opposed to a cash bonus, although they will generally be taxed as if they were cash.
If you’re working at a public company and receiving RSUs then you can usually sell them on the stock market once they have vested. This has benefits, but it does also link your compensation quite heavily to the whims of the market, as many people have found out in recent months.
As a simplified example of what I’m talking about, let’s say you were working at Meta and received 100 RSUs per year. On 28 October 2021 Meta’s stock price was $312, giving those RSUs a value of $31,200. Fast forward one year and Meta’s stock price is currently $99, so those same RSUs would be valued at $9,900 – a fairly significant drop.
Before we get too negative, there is an argument to be made that now is a great time to join some of the large tech companies that have been hammered in the markets, precisely because of RSUs. Many leading companies have been forced to increase the number of RSUs they offer to employees in response to their decrease in value. If you believe that a company’s lowered share price is only a temporary correction then now may be a great time to hop onboard, and ride that wave back up again.
Or not. I’m not a financial advisor, after all.
Again, there are many tax implications to RSUs so it’s worth checking with a professional before making any big decisions.
How much will you make?
So, after all that – will you make more or less in tech than you are making in consulting?
Honestly, it’s hard to say. If we take a look at roles that suit ex-consultants (Business Operations, Corporate Strategy, Chief of Staff etc) at established companies in the key tech hubs then we’ll often see salaries starting in the lower six-figure range, and rising quickly with experience. As a general rule these specialized roles will pay more than most of the other non-technical roles commonly found in tech companies, like marketing or support, but not as high as some of the key technical roles like Senior Engineer or Data Scientist.
Another way of framing the question is: “Will I earn enough?”. In other words, will the total compensation package for your new tech role cover your current lifestyle and expenses – your mortgage, car payments, private school fees and so on. Hopefully the starting salary isn’t the only factor that’s bringing you to tech, and you should try to keep the other benefits in mind. You may decide you are willing to live with a temporary drop in salary if the result is a significant increase in your quality of life.
If you’re willing and able to take a drop in salary for your first tech job then you can potentially open up some career choices that have the potential for strong mid–to-long term payoffs. For example, if you join a hyper-growth startup in a lower-level position, work hard and grow alongside the company it can work out better in both financial and career-capital terms than taking a “safer” role in a more “established” company. Yes, you would earn money less at first, but the experience and positive halo effect you gain from working at an up-and-coming brand can help you to quickly jump to higher paying roles at leading companies, and potentially open up some financially lucrative opportunities down the line, like angel investing.
A word of warning – very early-stage startups offer a different risk profile. When you consider 1) early-stage startups tend to pay less than larger tech companies, trading salary for stock options, and 2) most startups fail, making those options worthless – it becomes easy to see that an expected value calculation of your future income would generally work out in favor of working at tech companies that are more established, or at least already on a solid growth trajectory.
Before I scare you off, I’m not suggesting that you will make less in tech than consulting. Rather, it is just one strategic decision you may choose to make. Should you earn slightly less now to take a role in a company that’s experiencing rocket ship growth, or hold out and find something that pays more from the start? That’s up to you.
I have a free guide that covers the pros and cons of working at companies at each stage from pre-seed through to post-exit. If you want to get an idea of tech salaries in your location you can always check out websites like Levels.fyi and Glassdoor. And if you want to learn more about options and RSUs then make sure to check out Compound.
This is fairly straightforward. The seniority of your first tech position will generally be based on the level of experience you have in similar roles – another reason why it’s useful to work in a role that uses your existing experience – although some adjustment may be required to reflect your relative lack of industry experience.
If you’re a mid-level strategy consultant and are moving into a corporate strategy role then you shouldn’t expect to start in a junior or entry-level position, but you probably won’t be leading the team either.
When I speak with consultants one of the most common motivators to leave the industry is the desire for a better work/life balance. I get it – the stories – and more recently, the widely shared Instagram and TikTok videos – of pampered tech workers turning up at 10am to play fussball while drinking free kombucha can seem very appealing, and even more so when they are compared to the late nights and constant travel many of you experience in consulting.
This cliche of tech workers having an easy, low-stress life may be true at some companies (particularly the larger, more established and market-dominant companies), but it’s important to realize that it’s certainly not a rule for the industry. Startups and growth-focused companies tend to expect much more effort from their employees. They are often in a “life or death” struggle for growth where missing targets can literally kill the company, so people are expected to do the work necessary to make sure that doesn’t happen.
But it’s not just startups that expect you to put in the hours. Tech giants like Google or LinkedIn have the resources, headcounts and market dominant positions that have earned them an industry reputation for easing off the gas pedal. But this is not the case for all large tech companies. The likes of Amazon, Netflix and SpaceX are known for placing very high expectations on their employees.
If your goal is to improve your work/life balance then you’ll need to do some research on a company’s culture to make sure the reality matches your expectations.
Oh, and one more piece of advice. When it’s time to interview for tech roles it’s usually best to avoid mentioning that your desire for an improved work/life balance is the primary motivator for your career change. Employers are looking to add motivated, enthusiastic people to their teams. When you’re coming from consulting there will be an expectation that you will be used to working hard to get things done, so it makes sense to try and use that to your advantage.
If one of your goals is to make a smooth career transition then you’ll probably end up at a larger, more established company, rather than an early-stage startup. There are a few reasons for this.
To start, many of the best roles for consultants only exist in larger companies. It makes sense really – a recently founded and highly resource-constrained startup will spend their money on hiring engineers, rather than building out a large Business Operations & Strategy team.
But it’s not just the financial resources. Early-stage companies are often looking for their non-technical team members to be generalists that can tackle a wide range of tasks, from answering customer support queries, running paid marketing campaigns or leading customer demos. I realize that some of you will have experience in these areas but if it’s from your time in consulting then that experience may be more on the “strategic” than operation side, and early-stage startups tend to favor the operational.
And if you needed another reason to focus on the more specialized, consultant-friendly roles found in larger tech companies, then you should consider that they generally receive significantly higher salaries than the generalist roles.
While its spiritual home is Silicon Valley, in recent years thousands of startups have launched across major tech hub cities like San Francisco, New York, Miami and Austen. Outside of the USA you’ll find unicorns being built in places like London, Berlin, Stockholm and Tel Aviv.
But there are plenty of opportunities in tech outside of these major hubs, especially if you are prepared to work at one of the increasing number of remote-first companies.
As I’m sure you are aware, the pandemic was the push that many companies needed to start offering their employees a work from home option. Now that life has returned to some level of normality, some companies have signaled that they expect their employees to start returning to the office. Some are sticking with being fully remote, while others are offering a “hybrid” solution where team members can work in the office a few days each week, and at home for the rest. It’s very much down to the desires of the company’s leadership team, and is an important factor to consider when you start looking for a job.
I’ve spent the vast majority of my tech career working remotely (including now) so you may assume I’m a big proponent of it. But I actually think that finding an in-office or hybrid role is probably the optimal strategic choice from a career change perspective.
Overall, you should be able to find work regardless of your location. But if you are located in a tech hub or are willing to be flexible then you’ll increase your options and the career transition process should be easier.
Timeline to transition
Finally, the all important timeline to transition. How long will the process of moving from consulting to tech take?
Let’s assume you take my recommended route and aim for a role that uses your existing skills and experience. You put some time aside at nights and weekends to prepare yourself for the new role, building up your tech knowledge, and working your way through the “must-read” tech industry books.
In general, an experienced, highly-motivated consultant should be able to make the move within a few months, assuming the overall job market is relatively stable. You can extend this out by weeks or months if your desired role requires specific training, or if you are dead set on working in a specific sub-industry or company.
If you want a complete career change then you should plan for the process to take much longer. For example, if you decide you want to be a software developer then you’ll have to start by learning the craft. This can take anywhere from a few months to years, depending on how much time and money you can put towards it. And learning is just the start – you’ll need to try and get an entry-level or junior position and this can be tough when you do not have any existing experience. Of course, if you discover that you really love coding or design or some other role then by all means go for it.
Just be realistic about the length of the path that lies ahead of you.
We’ve covered quite a lot in this introductory guide. We started with some Tech 101 then outlined the process you can expect to encounter on the path from consulting to tech. After that, you spent some time assessing your motivations and setting your goals for your career change.
I’ve outlined my case for why I think you should try to find a role that uses your existing skills and experience and then presented you with examples of the outcomes you can expect from your move to tech.
In a future guide we’ll start looking into the various roles that are available for consultants in tech. We’ll go through the roles that are widely considered to be a great fit for ex-consultants. We’ll explore some of the lesser-known options that you may find intriguing, and I’ll explain why some roles that are commonly considered a strong option may actually not be a good fit for you.