Tech Consulting: Lessons learned and defining a career path

An interview with Arinco’s Michael Turnley

Michael Turnley, Arinco Consultant tells us how he got into tech consulting.

Being a Consultant is one of those titles now that embodies so much. Generally speaking, a Tech Consultant is an experienced technical specialist who implements solutions and provides technological advice to drive positive outcomes for clients and help transform their business. But what does it take to be one? We spoke to our very own, Michael Turnley, and got his insights into the world of Tech Consulting and how he got there.   

Can you tell us a little about your background

I got my first computer when I was 5 years old, and although I grew up without the internet, I have been using computers for what feels like my whole life. I started working in the industry after finishing year 12, part-time whilst I studied IT, and then full-time shortly thereafter, starting in a helpdesk role and eventually working my way up to a senior technical role.    

I had worked in internal IT teams for a long time but decided that it was time for a new challenge. Even though I was happy where I was, I wanted to move into consulting. This turned out to be a difficult move to make because while applying for consultant roles, I was knocked back many times. I was constantly told I wasn’t suitable because my experience had been all internal. Luckily, I eventually managed to convince a consultancy I knew what I was doing ???? Humour aside, Arinco has a very open-minded view of what constitutes good consulting experience… and here I am. 

What do you think it takes to succeed as a tech consultant?

  1. Perseverance – if I had turned my back on the prospect of this career path after getting knocked back then I wouldn’t be here now. Even though it was difficult, and didn’t come naturally, I had to believe in myself and keep trying. 
  1. Listening – you need to understand the client and their environment before you can help improve or implement new technology. 
  1. Learning – whatever you are doing in IT, you are probably not going to be doing the same thing for long because everything changes so quickly. You need to enjoy learning new things. 
  1. Relationship building – Reaching out to people and grabbing a coffee for a chat, being approachable and making the right connections are all important aspects of being a consultant. Making these connections can also help you navigate internal client-side politics which as an outsider can be a challenge. 
  1. Knowing when to say yes and no – I want to be able to help my clients as much as possible and provide extra value, but at the same time I’m there to deliver a scope of work within an agreed time frame. It’s very easy to get caught up in “side projects” just because you want to help. 

How is consulting different from other jobs?

When I was internal IT, I was splitting my time between project delivery and managing business as usual tasks. This could get quite stressful at times, always being pulled in different directions. I often found myself catching up on BAU tasks out of hours and fixing things I didn’t have time to do during the day. Now I am spending my time designing and implementing new solutions, and it feels like I am able to make more of an impact with the businesses I help. 

Consulting feels like starting a new job every time I have a new client. This can be a little nerve-wracking, but is also exciting and offers new opportunities. It also means I’m always kept on my toes rather than letting myself get comfortable in the same place.   

What do you love about consulting?

Helping businesses take advantage of new technology, solving problems, and trying to make things “better”, particularly in the security space. Every client is different, and there are always interesting use cases and challenges across the various industries I get exposed to. Consulting means I’m not doing the same thing every day. It’s rarely boring. 

To sum it up

If you are looking for a career that is versatile, challenging where you can learn new things every day – Consulting will give you the opportunity to use your communication and problem-solving skills and also allows you to work across multiple industries and projects throughout your career.  

I couldn’t be happier being part of the Arinco Crew, where I’m fully supported and surrounded by people who love IT like I do. 

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