Career Levels for Software Developers at Consulting Firms

Career Levels for Software Developers at Consulting Firms

It’s not surprising to know that tech companies and IT organizations are always recruiting for software developers. However, consulting firms, such as Accenture, Congnizant, and Slalom are also constantly looking for software talent.

Since the nature of software development work at consulting firms is different from work at internal software or IT teams, we’d like to take a closer look at the career path for software developers at consulting firms and the progression at each level.

We’re very happy to interview Mei Lee, Solution Principal (Information Management) at Slalom, to get some inside scoop on this topic. (Please note, the specific titles at each consulting firm will differ.)

The following roles focus on technical work:

  • Analyst – College grads usually come in at this level.  They play a supporting role and work under the supervision of their team lead(s). Their responsibilities typically include:
    • contributes to technical design
    • codes and tests software applications
    • builds technical expertise in implementing configuration and maintenance of applications
  • Senior Analyst – They continue to support client’s IT projects under their team leads, but start to take on more work independently while increasing the scope of their work.  Their responsibilities typically include:
    • builds documentation for all codes and processes
    • guarantees secure coding and design principles
    • suggests alternatives when conflicting integration issues are identified and provides leadership within the team
  • Consultant – They have accumulated enough experience and have had exposure to a few areas of software solutions to carry out some solution design. Their responsibilities typically include:
    • responsible for conceptualizing designs and determining system development tools and technology most appropriate for clients
    • oversees the database structure and queries, and data integration implementation
  • Senior Consultant – They can own a major portion of a mid-sized IT project and lead a team to deliver solutions to clients. Their responsibilities typically include:
    • manages and provides technical leadership for medium-sized projects and has significant technical contribution to large-bid projects
    • assists with testing and participates in designing, planning and executing of on-site or off-site customer proof-of-concepts to determine software application’s feasibility
  • Manager / Architect – Although some may have the title of “Manager”, they still spend most of their time and energy on hands-on technical work. They are responsible for some people management, participating in performance review, bonus and salary discussions.
    • solves challenging application design and development problems
    • builds features from the ground up with a strong focus on architecture and scalability
    • possess technical management and understanding, analysis, data center management, strategic planning and staffing and problem-solving skills
  • Group Manager / Principal – In addition to their own areas of technical expertise, they have a broad and significant knowledge and experience in various domains and technologies to architect, design and lead complex projects with larger teams.
    • responsible for planning and coordinating day to day activities of a project, program or portfolio
    • leads development teams in building multiple technical solutions and architectural designs using different platforms
    • expected to solve any technical challenges that will arise during the solution development process

The following roles start focusing more on management, strategies, and business development than technical work:

  • Director – accountable for the overall planning and execution of IT functions at a given location to meet all client requirements as well as maintenance of existing applications and expansion of new technical solutions.
  • Senior Director – develops and executes strategic direction at the departmental and cross-departmental level, and needs to have knowledge of contemporary IT landscape both technically and process perspectives.
  • Managing Director – oversees the activities of the company and manages resources to make sure all core competencies and operational goals are met.

If you are doing technical recruiting for a consulting firm, it’s important to know the experience level needed at your firm and if your candidates are ready for a new set of technical responsibilities.

Have clear understanding of these career levels will help you successfully recruit the right person into the right role.

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