The Difference Between Being a Web Developer and a Consultant

The other day we posted a position for a specific Denver web developer job that did not require a broad set of skills but needed someone to be very proficient in a single language. The job description listed that the position was "entry level" but also mentioned we were looking for a "guru" in a particular scripting language. A while later I got an email from the job post from someone saying, in less than kind words, that it didn't make any sense for a position to be entry level and say that we wanted a "guru." This blog post is a reply that individual.

In my mind there are web developer types and there are website developer consultant types in the online world. A consultant, as I define it here, may work for a company as a full-time employee or may be brought in from the outside to work on a specific project.  The same may be true for a developer.  However there is a key difference between the two. 

A website developer may have years of experience and limited experience.  They may know numerous scripting languages and systems but their skill sets tend to be very focused.  They often aren’t involved in decision making processes and their ability to set course for a project is usually limited to more technical pieces of a project.

A website consultant has skills beyond a particular development language or system.  They are someone that works from experience and has a broad scope of knowledge.  They often work from intuition and can see pitfalls before they happen.  They also have the ability to give direction to, communicate with, and work with diverse groups of people on a project.  Most importantly they know business and can apply their understanding of business to a project using a pallet of skills that can help make a project successful.

So in reply to my friend that didn’t like the job description I suggest that a person can come into an entry level job and still be a guru.  They may know most everything there is to know about a given language (which makes them a guru in my book) but they haven’t yet had the ability to build the pallet of skills that make them a consultant.  Not everyone can be a consultant and not everyone would want to be a consultant, but there is more to business than just having the ability to write a few lines of code.

For more information about this blog or Concrete5 please contact Jamie Johnson.