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A IT Consultant for our Times

By Phil Factor,

Over the years, I’ve made many friends in the industry and keep in touch when I can. Mark is one of these. He’s an old-style contractor, who rarely worked for one company more than a few months. When I first met him he was a Business Re-engineering consultant, but he’d served his time as a developer and in Tech Support. A few years later we met in London, where he was working as a Millenium (Y2K) Expert, auditing systems to make sure they rolled over to the year 2000. Over the years we kept in touch. He became, in turn a multimedia expert, an expert in Declarative languages, an MVC consultant, a NoSQL Consultant, a Cloud Guru, Big Data expert and Agile Consultant. I spoke to him the other day. Jobs for Agile Consultants are beginning to get a bit thin evidently, and I asked him what was next. He tutt..tutted. ‘Didn’t you know I was a Devops expert?’ ‘Hmm; some good opportunities?’, ‘I don’t get out of bed for less than a grand’. (translated: ‘he refuses anything less than £1000 for a day’s consultancy, not including expenses’) .

It is a noble calling, to pop up as an expert in any current IT topic that is currently spiralling upwards in that giddy phase of idealisation before the inevitable plunge into denigration, which lasts until it eventually bobs back up into its real, and usually humble, context within IT. Any quick-learning fast-talking person with a broad knowledge of IT can play the necessary part of consultant in the latest hot technology. ‘A Part?’ I hear you ask, ‘You mean like a walk-on role in a film?’ Well, almost.

Whatever the latest excitement in the IT industry, Companies need to assure shareholders and senior management that they are ‘up to speed’. Fund managers in the City will read, for example, that we are suffering a biblical flood of data, full of ‘actionable insights’, and they will, you can be sure, check to make sure that their pet investments are abreast and coping. Finance directors will ask the CIO whether they are taking full advantage of the opportunities of, for example, ‘The Cloud’. There is pressure, and it may sound expensive but, by having a keen-looking expert in a charcoal-grey suit and sober tie pacing around the department making thoughtful interjections in meetings, the CIO can say unblushingly that all the necessary steps are being taken. After a few months, there will be a comprehensive, wide-ranging report that can eventually be tucked away somewhere. A small accommodation to the new technologies will be made, but life can proceed very much as before. Someone has to do the work, and Mark is one of many who make a living at it.

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