Do you dream of working in technology consultancy? Do you know how to make that dream a reality? Stephen Walsh, director of technology consulting at PwC, has some pointers.
What first stirred your interest in a career in this area?
My father worked in a very similar role. I remember small trips, like going to school in the car with him. He would be talking to people on the phone, and I’d be listening to one side of the conversation. I wouldn’t know what they were talking about, but it always piqued my interest.
What steps led you to the role you now have?
I studied information systems in Trinity College Dublin. I was very fortunate, as one of the lecturers was a family friend. Prior to his lecturing days, he used to work in tech consulting. I remember a conversation at the kitchen table at home where we plotted various business challenges and technology capabilities, and mapped them to various courses. It was a big help in steering me to what I wanted to do.
Following college, I worked in a number of roles in a number of organisations. I considered them all to be building on my education and still, to this day, I consider PwC as somewhere that I am able to learn and grow.
What were the biggest surprises or challenges you encountered on your career path?
I’m still coming across the surprises and still learning to deal with them.
I think you learn not to sweat the small stuff. Surprises will always happen. It’s about learning which ones you need to react to, as they are important to you, and which ones you can say ‘that’s OK’ to.
Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?
I’ve had a number of people who have influenced my career, from family connections to colleagues and bosses (former and present). I wouldn’t single out anyone in particular, but I think they have all played a role in helping me develop. And I hope they continue to do so into the future.
What do you enjoy about your job?
The challenge and the pace. There is a constant need to refresh your thinking, renew your knowledge and update your skills. No two days are the same. I know that’s a cliché but its genuinely true in PwC. I focus on technology-enabled business transformation. No two client transformations are the same.
What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?
I’m a structure person. I have no problem being flexible, but I think it helps to have a process, structure or methodology to come back to.
I’d also say I’m a people person. I’m comfortable enough being in a room full of strangers and having to make friends.
How has PwC supported you on your career path?
PwC invests heavily in its people and I’ve been very fortunate to have the opportunity to benefit from this support, be it on the job, in the classroom or away at focused development courses.
Having worked in a number of organisations, I have a reasonable benchmark and I’d put PwC right at the top for support and investment in people.
What advice would you give to those considering a career in this area, or just starting out in one?
I genuinely enjoy my job. The best advice I can give people is find something you enjoy and build on it. Your career will grow and, over time, it will take different directions.
Your career will hopefully cover a long time and, if it’s in consulting, it will take you away from home for most of the day. Make sure it’s something you enjoy doing.
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