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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:25 pm 
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How different is a consultant from an experienced programmer? Are consultants paid the most? Is consultant job more interesting and hard enough than being an experienced programmer? What should one have to do to become a consultant, I mean the things he/she should learn and all the other aspects that are necessary to become a successful consultant?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:30 pm 
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A techinical consultant as I would define is a person having backgrounds in business as well as techno domains. Needless to say that tech consultants have to be experienced and well versed with the trends and scenario in the relevant industry since important decisions are taken based on the opinion of such consultants.

A programmer on the other hand does not need to have business background as the job demands effective pro architecture solutions based on business logic promoted by the project leaders and/or anlaysts. There may as well be situations where a programmer has to double up as both.

I prefer not to comment on who gets a bigger check though I believe that pay is/should-be proportional to the ability and the contribution rather than the designation.

To become a tech consultant one should have lots and lots of experience and good contacts as well :D


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 3:47 pm 
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raghavan20 wrote:
How different is a consultant from an experienced programmer? Are consultants paid the most? Is consultant job more interesting and hard enough than being an experienced programmer? What should one have to do to become a consultant, I mean the things he/she should learn and all the other aspects that are necessary to become a successful consultant?

The definitions vary from region to region, so don't be surprised to hear substantially different answers to this from different people.

I'll speak to my experience. I've been both a consultant (working under contract as a contractor) and a full-time employee (ie, experienced programmer).

Consultants usually work for a consulting company. The company looks for opportunities, and places appropriate consultants in those roles when possible. The consulting company generally bills the client company at anywhere from 150% to 300% the salary they pay the consultant. The consultant usually does not get benefits, does not earn pay when not working (sick time, holidays, time between contracts, etc).

Some consulting companies are becoming aggressive, and offering benefits, bench-time, and even stock-options. Those are generally the exception to the rule. Consultants get a range of experience, working for a range of companies, and even if they are fired at one job, it does not usually end their work for the consulting company.

A full-time employee, however, gets benefits, works for a single company, and relies on that job for their security.

There are benefits and dangers to both. Consultants get wide experience, but not deep. Employees get deep experience, but not wide. Consultants have substantial bench-time, so their pay isnt reliable. Employees have reliable pay, but can be fired or downsized and have no alternative.

Its a tradeoff. I make more now as a full-time employee, but only because I've reached 7 years in the same job category. Otherwise, I would make more as a consultant working for a consulting company.

All of this ignores the whole concept of a consultant-as-a-company, which is yet another set of risks and benefits.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:06 pm 
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Thanks to both of you for you replies...
Roja, tell me generally which is interesting, being a consultant or a programmer?
is there a minimum qualification to become a consultant like years of experience or is it just about skills???
can you give me comparative salaries of a programmer and a consultant ... I do understand this is very hard to map... if this is tough, can you give me sample rates of consultants based on projects or hours...


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 09, 2006 4:20 pm 
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raghavan20 wrote:
Thanks to both of you for you replies...
Roja, tell me generally which is interesting, being a consultant or a programmer?

"Programmer" isnt the right term, full-time employee is. You can be a consultant that does programming.

It really depends on your desires. I've met people who absolutely love the challenge of a new job every few months, with new people to work with, and new work to do. I've also met people who thrive in the same company where they can watch the progression of their effort make the company better.

Which suits you is a personal choice. For me, the stability of a full-time position was an absolute priority. Nothing (including interest) could outweigh my need for a steady and reliable paycheck.

raghavan20 wrote:
is there a minimum qualification to become a consultant like years of experience or is it just about skills???

Sadly, neither. I've seen consultants with almost no work experience, and little skills. I've also seen consultants with decades of experience, and more skill than I will ever have. I've seen the same thing in Full-time employees.

raghavan20 wrote:
can you give me comparative salaries of a programmer and a consultant ...

Oddly, thats a little easier. Multiple Fortune 100 companies I've worked for bill internal employees at roughly $50 an hour. That means their salary, plus benefits, expenses, downtime, etc.. That puts yearly salary somewhere between $60k and $80k a year. But thats the average bill rate - some employees earn substantially more, and some substantially less. I've heard of programmers that make over $100k a year, and programmers making less than $30k a year.

Consultants also vary wildly. I've seen consultant rates as low as $30 per hour (bill rate - NOT what they get paid!), to as high as over $400 an hour bill rate. Of course, they don't get all of that, and in most cases, not even most of that - their company does.

Its a HUGE spectrum.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:13 pm 
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this one post was worth more than the cost to join (free!). I learned so much, especially since I've been tasked with a report on a typical consultant salary vs. a programmer, along with defining each as completely as possible -- great info, thanks guys!


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:09 pm 
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I totally agree with Roja.


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