Consultancy for world's leading Microsoft systems integrator

About me

Douglas J.
Electronics
Electrical and Electronic Engineering with Music Technology Systems
MEng
Wentworth
1999
United Kingdom

About this profile

Director
Avanade
United States
Digital and IT services
Large business (250+ employees)
2002
2016
GBP 36,000

About the job

What I do

I specialized in Microsoft SQL Server consulting; ie, helping to design and build large database systems. I started doing .net development, BizTalk, Sharepoint ... you name it. However, I ended up in the database side of things because data is the key to everything ...

Skills I use and how I developed them

Keep abreast of developments in your field of work, through newsletters, websites, conferences, courses, Meetups, etc. That keeps me relevant to have conversations with clients and other colleagues. The most important skill I use is psychology - not the formal, medical version, but just understanding how to talk to people, how to communicate, how to address the needs of clients and their fears. When they are angry, how do you deal with them? All of that has basis in psychology, so read up on it.

Finding and applying for the job

How I looked for work

This was my second job out of Uni, and I was actually approached by a recruitment consultant ('headhunter') called Seb Wright. It was very useful, actually, as he did a lot of the negotiating for me that I've since done myself - and realized that I hate negotiating on the finer points of compensation!

How I found out about the job

Recruitment agency

My career

My career history

Quidnunc (software consultancy) 1999-2002
Avanade (software consultancy) 2002-2016
athenahealth (healthcare software company) 2016-

What has helped my career to progress

Constantly learning and improving, and networking. Don't underestimate how small the working world is in whatever field you end up in ... you will bump into people again.

Courses taken since graduation

Various Microsoft certifications

How my studies have helped my career

Although I did electronics, it it helped with software a huge amount. Engineering principles are the key to good software delivery, so understanding the engineering processes and approaches has been my biggest skill.

What surprised me about my career so far

I wanted to be a sound engineer, but then did an electronics degree to try and get into music technology. But it turns out that there are fields of work and jobs out there that are just as exciting and interesting ... you will never know what you want to do coming out of Uni.

Where I hope to be in 5 years

I've literally just changed jobs, so I have no idea ... :-)

My advice to students

My advice to students considering work

Do it. I spent too much time thinking about things and considering options, and several opportunities passed me by. I would also be fairly aggressive about change - take the risks if you can; even if they don't work out you will learn something.

My advice about working in my industry

Consultancy is all about people. Even if you build a sub-par system because of the client constraints (time, money, vague requirements, etc) you can still achieve customer satisfaction if you communicate and deliver it the right way. Knowledge of psychology is essential.

Contacting me

Happy to talk about working abroad (I moved to the US), software design, consultancy, or the US healthcare system. :-)


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