From Computer Scientist to Consultant

October 27, 2017 Appirio

By Kenneth Tam

I was walking to my apartment one night, when I saw what I perceived as the suffocating grip of death — an office cubicle. There was a white desk boxed in between three grey, fabric walls blocking out all surroundings. As I kept walking, I saw more desks. Each had a collection of photos and decorations to provide a flicker of personality to the monochromatic asylums. I wondered how many hours have been spent in those cubicles, and what dreams were forfeit in the confines of those walls.

Then I thought about what I wanted for dinner because it was around nine and I was running low on groceries.

I graduated from Purdue University with a degree in computer science, but for four years I wondered what I would do with it. I wanted to find a job at a big company in Silicon Valley, but I didn’t have much direction on what kind of work-life I wanted. As I got further along in my coursework, I began to wonder about where my programming skill level was. There were students in my class who got better grades and worked on more projects, and even though my grades weren’t the highest, I still enjoyed the accomplishment that came with computer science. I felt like I could never be the best in my major. My approach then was not to stop improving my abilities as a programmer, but to branch out toward something new. I didn’t need to be the best computer scientist, I just wanted to be a different one. Someone who has the technical background to program, but also has a unique skill to contribute something outside of the box.

So I started a minor in communications. By reaching out beyond my major, I discovered that there was a different world of knowledge and skills, that I not only enjoyed, but started to excel in. But with these changes, I began to really question what I wanted my next steps to be. I started looking for a job that combined not only technical, but also interpersonal skills. I wanted  an employer that offered a variety of work but would also help me accelerate my career.

In the end, I found the field of technology consulting, and discovered a company called Appirio.

Being a technology consultant has a variety of different challenges, but in a nutshell, tech consulting is the creation, and advisal, of software solutions for organizations. The description aligned well with my technical skill set, but also emphasized connecting with customers. Appirio stood out to me because of how they value their employee experience as well as their ability to constantly evolve and grow. This key to success is made evident by the level of transparency Appirio demonstrates regularly. My mentors and project managers are mere seconds away from my desk; I am able to get whatever information I need in real time. Whenever I reach out for advice or help to anyone in the office, they are always willing to set aside time for a face-to-face or virtual meeting.

When I look to my right I do not see a grey wall. I see Matt, company ping-pong champion, and Kimber, company social media extraordinaire. I see the basil plant I’ve been raising perched on one of the window sills that stretch around our 11th floor office. I see the clock tower that rises above the surrounding cityscape of Indianapolis, and the trees in the distance that extend to the horizon.

I see the city I’ve come to work in, and the people who make it home.

Think Appirio sounds like a great place to work? Check out what opportunities we are currently looking to hire for and see if you would make a great fit!

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