Over the years I have come across software consulting companies in various states. It occurs to me that there must be a finite set of categories that defines the culture of a consultancy. Here’s a few that I have recognized.
The oak tree. This company is rock solid and has been that way for many years. After establishing itself initially, stable but modest growth has lead to a consistency over time. To be successful at this company, you must deeply agree with the culture and value system. This can be a great place to have a long tenure and create long term professional relationship. Rebels and change agents need not apply.
The Butterfly. This company is always morphing into something new. Things that are important today may have less valuable in the future. Hot and cold streaks plague the company’s history. Take a job here only if you think that the experience you will gain out weighs the risk of a left turn when you least expect it. Often very few people know when the left turn is coming.
The junkyard dog. This company will do anything to keep busy and stay in business. Web site? Mobile? ASP.NET? LAMP? Yep they do that. Take a job here if you want to be a jack of all trades. These are usually good resume builders and companies where you can figure out what technologies you are most passionate about. The downside can be randomization and lack of direction, usually the technology leadership is not necessarily that deeply technical because it is very difficult to be deep in all technologies.
The Corporation. They are Enterprise. They are monumental. They will put a complex plan into place and deliver solid results on time and on budget through deliberate and consistent execution. You’ll excel here if you enjoy structure and thrive when things are planned out to microscopic detail. Here’s to “synergy”!