The Nomadic Developer by Aaron Erickson, published by Addison Wesley. ISBN 0-321-60639-6.
If you’re in the software consulting business, or considering going in to the consulting business, then you really, really need to read this book. It’s chock full of things too many consultants don’t stop to think about before joining consulting firms, or don’t pay attention to once they’re in.
Erickson does a great job covering critical issues like why one would consider going in to consulting, culture profiles of typical consulting companies, critical business aspects of consultancies, and a number of other things I wish I’d known before joining a couple of consulting firms I’ve worked for. Erickson’s writing style is clear, concise, and entertaining. He’s also pulled in a number of “annotators” who provide excellent counterpoints and additional insights throughout the book. There’s also one chapter of short articles by experienced consultants like Ted Neward and Bruce Eckel.
While all of the book is highly useful to readers in the consulting line of work, several topics stood out:
- Understanding critical concepts like sales pipelines, revenue, and margins
- Learning how to ask questions during an interview, and learning which questions to ask
- Figuring out how to survive and thrive at a client and at your consulting company
This book isn’t just for folks in the consulting line of business, it’s also good for independents. Moreover, the career, business, and interviewing advice are great reads for anyone, regardless of the sector they work in.