Three tips for consultants interested in joining tech

So, you want to break into tech?

According to the past three editions of the Charles Aris Strategy Consulting Compensation Study, tech was the most targeted industry for current strategy consultants interested in exiting their consulting firm.

Download: 2024 Charles Aris Strategy Consulting Compensation Study

The high-paced, innovative landscape synonymous with tech is appealing, and corporate strategists are especially equipped to become changemakers in these companies due to their ability to impact a P&L while playing a key role in transformation, product management, inorganic growth and other key growth initiatives.

Many consultants join a top firm with expressed interest in tech, and pursuing this space in your consulting work will set you up for success upon exiting your firm and exploring industry sectors.

But, as we all know, it’s not always possible to stay in your niche while working in consulting. A partner with a completely different functional alignment can easily loop you into less-relevant casework, which can make it difficult to pivot back into your desired focus area post-consulting.

Related: How to find your ideal exit opportunity from consulting

We’re often asked how consultants can break into tech. Here’s what we say:

Lean on your passion for tech if it’s genuine.

Expressing your motivations for joining the tech industry isn’t a replacement for true industry experience, but it can go a long way when vying for a competitive role. Sure, maybe you didn’t get as much exposure to tech in consulting as you would have liked, but companies want to hire passionate individuals.

However, saying how much you “love” tech isn’t the solution. Instead, go into detail about how you’ve managed to follow significant industry developments, teach yourself the basics behind recurring revenue business models and gain hands-on product experience, for example, all while serving as a consultant.

Draw comparisons between tech and any relevant industry experience.

Your dynamic work in consulting has likely exposed you to a variety of crossover skills. For example, many tech companies are considered business or professional services (think SaaS). The “services” space casts a wide umbrella over the professional world, and odds are you’ve worked with at least a few relevant companies as a consultant.

Banking, insurance, media and countless other industry sectors share similarities to tech, notably requiring a deep understanding of the recurring revenue business model and the need for thorough market research to understand consumer preferences.

Our advice: Connect the dots wherever you can, and prove to hiring authorities that a background in these industries has ingrained similar skills needed in tech.

Become a master of the consulting toolkit.

Firms that effectively leverage their internal strategy teams often seek outside thinkers capable of analyzing their business through the consulting lens. While some organizations consider limited tech experience a deal-breaker, we’ve observed that many of our clients prioritize masterful strategists above all else.

If you lack formal tech experience but possess all the essential strategic qualities, it may be worthwhile to explore opportunities within tech firms that have a significant presence of ex consultants. These individuals are better positioned to recognize the value you bring to the table, increasing your likelihood of success with their insights into your skills and experience.

The takeaway:

By leveraging your passion, drawing parallels between your consulting experience and the tech sector, and mastering the consulting toolkit, you can position yourself as a valuable asset to tech companies seeking innovative thinkers.

While it may not always be a straightforward path, staying true to your interests and highlighting your transferable skills will increase your chances of success in transitioning from consulting to tech.

To learn more about strategy and tech, contact Blaine Ayres at (336) 217-9140 or