Meet Brian Rodrigue, Management Consultant and Data Engineer at Excella. Brian sat down with us to share why he left Blacksmithing to return to IT consulting, talk about the best part of being Tech Lead, and more.
Before joining Excella, you spent 10 years running a Blacksmithing business and even did work for the White House. What made you return to IT consulting?
I’ve always enjoyed the problem-solving aspect of IT consulting projects and was drawn back in by Excella’s culture of flexibility. Before Blacksmithing, I was a traveling IT consultant, and found that I needed more time for my family and other passions. Choosing a company like Excella has allowed me the flexibility and work-life balance I was looking for. It’s great to be able to work on projects and technology I’m passionate about and not have to give up spending time with my family.
What do you enjoy most about being a Managing Consultant, Data Engineer, and Tech Lead?
I really enjoy both the technical and functional sides of consulting. I’ve worked on a wide variety of projects that span many areas of data engineering. I’ve worked on data conversion projects building automated scripts that allow us to find and fix errors in code, built data generators that run tests for AI, and created the foundation for data ingestion and curation for some of Excella’s biggest federal clients.
While it’s great to specialize in technical areas, there is also a need for someone to help bridge the gap between business and tech expertise—and that’s where I thrive as someone with both those experiences and skill sets. If business problems could always be solved by knowing and understanding the business, then the clients would do it themselves.
Tech experts also need to know the business requirements that they need to have within the solution. So as a tech lead, it’s my job to work with our clients to understand their challenges and to define the requirements needed to create those solutions.
What is your passion?
I consider myself to be a jack of all trades with passions in many different areas. Exploring my passions has allowed me to learn and develop a variety of transferable skills. I enjoy keeping up with all the new technology and toolsets that are constantly being built and phased out with newer tech. While some people may find that scary or intimidating, it is something I look forward to as a lifelong learner and honeycomber; and knowing that about myself allows me to pursue environments like Excella, groups, and projects that encourage exploration.
After working in different jobs and industries over the years, what advice do you have for people interested in making a career change?
Allow yourself to feel comfortable not knowing exactly what your career is going to look like, and instead, be confident in your transferable skills. If you don’t have that confidence yet, start looking at what skills you need to build that confidence and reach out to other experts in the field.
One thing that has been helpful for my career has been choosing a place like Excella, where I can honeycomb and reach out to the hive of experts in the Python, DevOps, or Solutions Architecture groups for more complex issues. There’s a lot for me to draw from using the combined experience of our experts. Working together makes us even stronger.
What do IT consultants need to know to stay successful in 2022?
Creating zero-trust architecture is critical in today’s world. Security technicians gather the requirements that must be factored into the system, so partner with the technicians building the client’s security infrastructure. Partner with them early in the process too, so that their work is integrated with your requirements from the beginning.
When I worked with our team at USCIS, we were able to do our jobs more efficiently and effectively because we collaborated with the security teams early. Being open about our options and constraints from the beginning allowed us to create better deliverables as consultants and create a stronger system for our clients.