Working in Analytics: A Consultancy Perspective
Scientists, Engineers, Analysts, Wranglers: the data industry seems to be exploding with new titles and job profiles every day, and there is an apparent increasing trend in people trying to enter this specialist field. However, there’s a set of people taking a more generalist consultancy approach as adopted by Forecast, for example. Ali Hussnain from Fyte spoke with Forecast’s Head of Analytics, Paul van Loon, to gain some insight from his expertise in the field.
Everyone is a consultant first
At Forecast, clients come first. The goal is to help clients together as a team. Ensuring the team has a diverse set of skills means that the company is able to tackle virtually all client challenges regardless of required tools or experience. While some might have their primary backgrounds in web technologies, building pipelines, cloud tech, or any other industry or tech background, Dr van Loon says, “We are ultimately just problem solvers”. The fact that the team is small and nimble allows everyone to pitch in and contribute. In larger tech firms, specialist roles and titles might mean more and have more need to allow each person to have a clear set of responsibilities.
We are ultimately just problem solvers
The unknown is scary but exciting
While cross training their consultants, Forecast does acknowledge that, broadly, their people will fall into one of three buckets: Data Scientists, Data Engineers, and Business Intelligence and Insights Analysts. The consultants might have varying degrees of skills in each of the main roles, but they will still be able to practice and develop all of them. As well as all being problem solvers, they will all have a common ground of relational database experience to be able to store and retrieve data.
Nevertheless, being a consultant in a small company like Forecast is not without its challenges. The team is constantly on a very steep learning curve as they move from project to project and client to client. If you’re working with Python today, you must be prepared to work with Power BI tomorrow, and with Google Cloud the next day.
Whoever is available for the next thing will be on the next thing
This can certainly be intimidating for some people as they jump from one tech stack to another but will be exciting for others or might even be the main reason they got into consultancy. This doesn’t mean, though, that you will constantly be out of your comfort zone; there will be projects where you will be in your zone in terms of tech or industry, or even both, but if you prefer being in your comfort zone all the time, consultancy might not be right choice for you.