After my BSc in Computer Science at Maynooth University I did a research Masters in Computational Linguistics – UCD, followed by a PhD in Cognitive Science also in UCD. After just over 5 years of research I decided it was time to finally get a job. While I had a technical background, I had deviated from the ‘software engineering’ type work (into research and away from programming) and therefore struggled to know what sort of job I was qualified for. I heard that some other postgrads had got jobs with Accenture and decided to look into it. Accenture is mainly a consulting company and this really appealed to me – I could use my technical knowledge but wouldn’t have to code per se. The opportunity to work on different clients rather than doing the same thing the whole time also really appealed to me. So I applied for Accenture through the graduate recruitment effort and secured a job. I’ve been with Accenture for nearly 6 years and have worked my way up the career ladder to Manager within that time (in between two maternity leaves)
I work with clients to help in the delivery of specific applications that they need to do their job. So while we all might use Microsoft office to write documents, companies need specific software applications tailored to their business needs. As a technology consultant I work to understand what clients need in their application and work to help deliver it. I work on all aspects of a software project lifecycle including requirements gathering, solution design (front end), testing and deployment readiness, depending on what stage I join the project. The role differs depending on the client and the project needs.
The different clients that I’ve worked for.
Through the graduate recruitment programme on Accenture website
You may not be using the direct knowledge that you learn in college – but you have learned more than specific knowledge. You have gained a lot of ‘soft’ skills that employers want and you need to learn to sell these. You have learned to communicate if you have given presentations, you have learned to document if you have written essays/thesis. You may have learned to work as a team if you were in societies/clubs. If you studied a technical course you have learned problem solving skills, analytic skills etc. These are the things you should be telling employers that you have and what you will bring to a job. You should promote your ability to learn – more often than not you will not have the direct knowledge to do your job when you start work – but you will learn it on the job.
What are the key skills/knowledge you use in your current role?
Communication – verbal and written
Being proactive, taking ownership of work and delivering
Knowledge of software life-cycle, i.e. requirements, analysis & design, development, test, training & deployment – but this has all been gained on projects through experience – I didn’t have any of these skills before joining but rather learned as I went along.
(submitted January 2013)