You know you’ve found the right job when you walk into work genuinely looking forward to the challenges you’ll face that day. Every day is different and I’ve had the opportunity to work on some really interesting projects.
I work as a software developer, but the opportunities within consultancy firms are wide and varied. I’ve worked alongside specialists in logistics and IT systems and met a multitude of interesting people. Here at PA Consulting you are encouraged to head in your own direction, developing your own skills and goals.
What do you enjoy most about your IT job?
Being a computer geek at heart, my favourite side of the job is the technology. PA definitely wants to be on the bleeding edge, certainly within the IT practices. We often talk about new technology and how we can use it to open new doors and help our customers.
My current project is using an exciting piece of technology for a government client. I’ve personally been responsible for huge parts of this system, at first the pressure is daunting, but it’s a fantastic feeling to see our prototypes performing well on such a large scale.
What are the stressful parts of your job?
Like any job, it’s most difficult when things go wrong. For my first project, we were tasked with performing a competitor analysis for the company. The aim was to produce a single globally available website but we didn’t have much of an IT team to help, just a colleague and I.
Despite the challenges, we launched the website on time. But things didn’t go quite as smoothly as we planned. Technical problems caused by concurrent users caused a difficult bug. The system was still usable for our 200+ users and it was collecting the data we required but it was slow and painful to use.
There was a race to fix the defect and I can safely say it wasn’t my most enjoyable day. But it taught me some invaluable lessons about myself and PA. Senior managers praised how I worked and most importantly at the height of the problem they valued my opinion and my experience.
The bug was eventually quashed, and things returned to normal. I wouldn’t like to repeat that day, but I certainly value it.
Any advice for the interview process?
I went to a few interviews before settling on an offer from PA, here’s some important tips I would like to offer (other that the obvious i.e. dress smart):
This is incredibly important. My first ever interview was with a company I knew nothing about and I skimmed over their website. I definitely got shown up in the interview! You don’t have to know the whole company inside out, but find out what their key businesses are and who their clients are.
Don’t just limit yourself to the practice or section you’ll be applying to either. Become acquainted with their case studies and if you know the name of the person who’s interviewing you – look them up. Also, make sure you know why you’re applying for this company and not another (don’t be afraid to say you are applying elsewhere. Everyone is!).
Practice is invaluable. Use your University careers service. Ask parents, friends, relatives and anyone else who can help. If you get the opportunity to go to multiple interviews, try and arrange them so the most important one (the one you really want) is last because doing an interview for real can really help. Of course, don’t waste a company’s time by applying to them just for practice, you’ll be wasting everyone’s time.