Culture•Sep 06, 2023
Why communication, collaboration, and connections matter in technology consulting
This article is written by two interns at Credera, about what we learned about the importance of actively developing both hard and soft skills and that they are mutually dependent. Based on our experiences this summer, we believe it is hard to be an all-star programmer without being able to communicate your ideas and knowledge with your team, or to demonstrate your team’s work to a client without understanding its technical structure.
An internship bridges the gap between college life and the corporate world. It gives interns exposure to a different educational environment from the familiar classrooms, along with the ability to apply what we learn in class to real-world scenarios. Internships can be fun, exciting, intimidating, and so much more—but most importantly, they’re learning experiences.
We saw that communication, collaboration, and connections are vital skills necessary to succeed as consultants, regardless of the type of consulting.
Communication: Working with clients means knowing how to get your point across—especially to different audiences of varying levels of technical acumen.
Collaboration: Working well with others, whether with one other person or in a team setting, is vital to delivering excellent work to clients.
Connection: Building meaningful connections can be the difference between whether a team succeeds or not.
Why technical skills will only get you so far
In this article, we’re going to share our experiences from our time as consulting interns at Credera with different perspectives. Ann Rogers is a computer science major and was an intern consultant in Credera’s Technology Solutions Practice. Emma Trueba is a Business Honors and Management major and was an intern consultant in Credera’s Management Consulting Practice.
Our goal is to explain some lessons learned for those who are exploring a consulting career or who are preparing for a Credera internship.
Ann Rogers: The ability to communicate effectively is essential, regardless of your specific consulting discipline. As a computer science major, I had long anticipated spending most of my time in heads-down work writing code. However, my time at Credera helped me realize that technology interns are consultants first, and programmers second. We must be able to explain complex technical concepts to both technical and non-technical audiences.
My project mentor, Maeghan Dickson, effectively communicated with our 40-person team to meet deadlines, troubleshoot issues, and provide value to our client. Watching her fluidly adjust her communication style for different audiences (such as our software development team, our project managers, our clients, or me as the intern) taught me how important effective communication is to get your point across.
Emma Trueba: As a Management Consulting intern, I had to bridge the gap between what the developers on my project needed and the client’s criteria for success through effective communication. This meant doing a significant amount of research to better understand the scope of our project. I did this through setting up coffee chats with our developers, joining meetings to increase my comprehension of different milestones, and taking ownership of agile meetings as I grew in confidence.
My biggest takeaway of improving communication is to not be afraid to reach out to coworkers when you do not understand something. No one expects you to know everything!
Ann: Soft skills extend beyond technical communication. Collaborating with others is one of the most important aspects of consulting. I found myself working with teammates every single day—whether it was paired programming with my mentor, demoing my code in show-and-tells, or participating in sprint planning and retrospectives. This active collaboration helped the team find shortest-path solutions to our client’s problems. Collaboration is also essential for personal growth. Seeking out opportunities to work with others enables you to learn different ways of working, practice new skills, and build impactful relationships.
Emma: My project this summer has been helping create an updated version of an application for our client. Working with my project mentor day to day, I learned that adaptability is an essential skill to be a collaborative team member. My team and I checked in with the client weekly to make sure we were meeting their needs and adapting if priorities shifted or we were missing a requirement. I also learned how to pivot discussions when necessary, being flexible when a new problem or more pressing topic arises. Another key element of collaboration is being curious. With so many moving parts in our project, it is important to ask clarifying questions and reach out for guidance.
Ann: Building personal connections in the workplace not only makes you a better consultant, but also makes work more enjoyable. From our very first day, I could see how our office cultivated a welcoming and fun environment! Throughout the summer, Credera facilitated connections between the interns and full-time Credera team members by giving us the opportunity to volunteer (my favorite was when we went to SustainEd farms!), host workshops, and participate in meetings with senior Credera employees.
We made weekly traditions of Tuesday trivia at Joyride Brewery and Monday volleyball at Washington Park. We joined long-time employees at the rock-climbing gym, Puttshack, Pride events, a sports team parade (Go Nuggets!), and so much more.
Emma: The importance that Credera puts on soft skills like connectivity cannot be understated. The sense of community we found in the office helped us to feel welcomed and connected. This created confidence, a strong desire for participation, and an open environment to ask questions and learn. This, in turn, helped us to be better teammates and consultants.
For instance, our intern group was able to host a workshop for a local nonprofit to teach children about drones. This would have been challenging without the natural sense of collaboration we had built up throughout the summer. With stronger communication skills, the ability to work well together, and the desire to collaborate, we found ourselves better equipped to succeed.
The big picture: Where technology and business intersect
Ann: Working as a technology consulting intern this summer has taught me so much more than just hard skills; collaboration, communication, and connections are just as important to being successful in a technology consulting role.
Emma: Working on a technical project as a management consultant showed me how collaborating with team members with different perspectives leads to better business solutions. In turn, our clients benefit from products that consider not only the technology of the project, but the strategic thinking behind its development as well.
More about Ann and Emma
Ann was an intern in the Technology Consulting Practice out of the Denver office this summer. She worked on a client project responsible for creating a public-facing dashboard to service a community organization. Her work consisted of making changes to the dashboard’s API, user interface, and database.
Emma was also an intern in the Denver office this summer, working in the Management Consulting Practice. Her work included being her team’s scrum master, creating business pitches, and interfacing directly with her client.
Find your fit
Interested in joining Credera as an intern or full time upon graduation? Check out our website for more information and how to apply!