A Day in the Life of a Junior IT Consultant

By Mike. February 4th, 2011. Posted in On assignment No Comments »

I thought at this point it might be useful to describe what an average consulting day would consist of. I will walk you through a typical day on client site in the hope that you get a good feel for what life might be like for a consultant.

Here is an average Thursday for you, probably in April time, from one of my first major assignments as a junior consultant. No two days are alike and the idea here is just to give you a flavour of what you might be asked to do as part of an assignment.

I would love to hear if this is the same as, or differs from, anyone else’s experiences.

7:00 – Get up, showered dressed and fed, I always need a solid breakfast to start the day.

7:30 – Heave my laptop bag onto my back and head off to work. A ten minute walk to the station, fifteen minute train ride and ten minutes on the tube leave me a brisk five minute stroll up to my client building.

8:20 – Having passed through the security barriers with a swipe of my card and a quick wave to the guards, I travel up to the third floor in their magnificent glass lifts and wander across to my desk, with a few hello’s on the way. I make a quick cup of tea and catch up with my colleagues while my company laptop and client desktop machines are booting up.

8:30 – A quick check of my emails reveals I need to contact my line manager and that the client has a query about the component I am building. There is also an email about a previous project which I realise will take some time to deal with. I make notes on my to-do list to call my manager and previous PM (Project Manager) later on and to look into the client query.

My to-do list is already fairly large and I have a brief run through it to plan what I am going to do today and who I need to work with to accomplish my tasks.

8:50 – Start working on my software, focusing initially on the client concern incase I need to meet with them, which as it turns out I do. I send an email to the client suggesting possible meeting times and outlining what I think needs to be done to address his query.

As always, being a programmer, I get into ‘the zone’ and the only things that bring me out of my code-laden reverie are questions to or from others or the phone.

10:45 – Before I know it half the morning has gone and I have a few new pages of code to commit to our source repository. The client has emailed a suitable time in the afternoon and I ping back an acceptance. I know emailing each other when you are both in the same building seems strange, but I have found that email represents a much less intrusive way of passing information, especially when the client is very busy with their day-to-day work and would rather not be interrupted.

I take the chance to grab another cup of tea, send the emails and make the phone calls I need to. Unfortunately after a brief, seemingly one-way, call, I find myself agreeing to write a post-project report at the weekend and make a note of what information I need to take home tomorrow (Friday).

13:30 – I suddenly realise that uncomfortable feeling is my stomach rumbling and decide I need some fresh air and head out towards the shops for a freshly made coronation chicken sandwich on sun dried tomato focaccia bread. It’s always well worth the wait at the busy cafe.

14:10 – Back at my desk and, with a fresh cup of steaming coffee, it’s straight back into the code.

15:50 – With the client meeting scheduled for 4pm, I take a few minutes to prepare the materials and information I need to have the discussion and head over to the meeting room booked by the client’s secretary.

16:25 – After a good discussion of the options, the client agrees to look a bit closer into what they want from this particular feature and we agree a follow up meeting in a couple of weeks.

I head back to my desk for a brief catch-up to update the PM and then carry on with my work.

17:00 – The entire project team head into the large conference room to report on and discuss the day’s events. These daily meetings only happen when we are very close to deadlines and everyone needs to be clear what the state of play is.

18:15 – I have finished almost everything I wanted to get done today and decide there is no point starting something new at this time (most of the rest of the team are packing up too). I pack up my camp and walk to the tube with a few colleagues, agreeing to have a couple of drinks tomorrow night after work.

18:30 – I stop by the gym and manage an hour before I’m ready to call it a day. This new fitness drive I have put myself on is going ok, but I find it very hard to motivate myself at this time of day.

20:35 – After an uneventful trip home and a quick stop by the supermarket for some food, I dump my stuff in the hallway and head into the kitchen to whip up something impossibly average for dinner.

21:30 – Time to make a few calls and flick through some TV channels. Having missed the start of almost everything good, I resign myself to checking a few things out on the internet and heading to bed.

22:30 - It’s been a busy but productive day and I drift into unconsciousness wondering how my girlfriend will react to the idea of me working at the weekend…

This article was written by: Mike

Mike is based in London as a Managing Consultant for Espion, a BSI professional services company. He covers a range of activities including overseeing organisational development within the UK & international markets, maintaining existing client relationships and developing business opportunities as well as defining and developing service driven strategy for the UK operating unit. He also occasionally does some pentesting.

Mike's website

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