Developer to Consultant
How can a software developer make the transition from selling their labor(writing a code) to selling their expertise?
Examples of Developers Turned Consultants
- Reuven Lerner. Link
- Positioning statement: Teaching Python and Data Science around the world
- Service offerings: courses, corporate training
- Expertise: Data science
- Tracy Lee
- Service offerings: traning
- Product offerings: swag, courses
- Expertise: frontend
- Eve Pocello & Alex Banks
- Company: Moonway
- Product offerings: books
- Service offerings: workshops
- Frank Rietta
- Company: Rietta
- Expertise: Security, Dev/Ops
- Service offerings: ALL OF THEM
- Business Analysis
- Security Audits
- Agile Training
- Scrum Training
- Staffing Consulting
- Maintenance and Monitoring
TODO: turn this into a table
TODO: Articles to Read
- https://daedtech.com/software-consulting/ <— great list for a starting point
- https://daedtech.com/consulting-skills-you-need-without-the-vague-platitudes/ <— another list of skills to develop.
Flavors of Technical Consulting
- Source: this comment on Reddit, based on Amazon positions
- **Account Manager **- coordinate everyone else involved with the account
- Solutions Architect - Similar ro sales people, they are showing customers "the art of the possible" and working with customers to show what can be done. May or may not be hands on.
- Engagement Managers - similar to scrum masters or project masters
- Technical Consultants - actually working with customers and developing solutions
- Technical Account Managers - provides ongoing support. Constantly on call.
- Fractional CTO - fill the CTO role for a company that doesn't have the resources to hire a full-time one.
Example Service Offerings
- Corporate Training
- Example: https://lerner.co.il/courses/ - In this example they have a specific course material they walk people through.
Example Areas of Expertise
- Idea from the Tom Critchlow discord: use an existing book / framework to try and bootstrap a consulting practice. For example, scrum / agile practices. Quote from the channel:
- One opportunity that's been mildly helpful for me to do more strategic work is to leverage existing strategy books+frameworks in your domain that you can then apply for your 'client' (be it an actual client or an internal one).
- By reading & considering a decent business book* somewhat deeply you:
- Will be 95% ahead of the game where most people have heard the meme but have no idea what the substance is.
- Have a bunch of thinking done for you -- no need to start from scratch.
- Can leverage the authority & credibility of the authors behind the book... and cover your ass somewhat if it fails.
- Can look at existing case studies where [whatever framework] worked/failed and use that community knowledge.
- Bootstrap your way to your own DIY framework: https://tomcritchlow.com/2019/06/27/frameworks/ :)
- Use the strategy + implementation as a one-off, test-the-waters project, rather a whole career-level commitment.
Old thread from Adam Wathan about productized services and value-based pricing. Source: "Value based pricing is absolutely the best approach for work that can be productized, but custom software development is not that type of work."
Interesting thread on "software as solutions": McKinsey has started buying software and selling solutions to clients, instead of pure strategy. I suppose selling solutions is higher leverage than selling strategy? Maybe the real play is this: solution > strategy > labor. Thread Link
Found that the Entrepreneurial coder podcast looks like a great resource for learning about independent work and developers-to-consultants types. It appears the most common bridge is training products, and then training services.
- How important is large company experience when it comes to consulting? The Yak Collective seems to think its important enough to include on their brief member directory page. Is it a 'requirement?'
- How can developers work in higher-context and share the problem with stakeholders?
- Who has made the developers to consultants leap, and who has a business like I want? What can I learn from them?