How do I become an IT consultant?

Gabriel Lichtenstein had this one big dream: to be a professional soccer player. He invested almost every minute of his childhood and youth to achieve it. At some point, the now 28-year-old came to the realization that all his energy and efforts would not be enough in the end to fulfill this dream. It took him a while to find himself. Math and physics excited him and he likes the teamwork, achieving something together with other people. That’s what everything in his life revolved around after high school graduation.

In the series “How do I become …?” atechbook talks to people who have very different professions. But how did they get into them in the first place? Here in conversation – Gabriel Lichtenstein, IT consultant.

Lichtenstein is an IT consultant
Lichtenstein is an IT consultant Photo: Gabriel Lichtenstein

In that respect, Gabriel Lichtenstein would certainly have made an outstanding professional soccer player. After all, a team doesn’t win because of a single player, but because everyone is committed to a common goal on the field. “When I played strategy games on the console, like Warcraft or Age of Empires, I always took a solution-oriented approach.” Tinkering to achieve a positive result in the end is what forms the common thread in Gabriel Lichtenstein’s life from then on.

“I then first studied engineering in the field of maritime technologies because the topic of generating electricity from hydropower and wind power appealed to me.” During his studies, he had his first contact with the IT sector through his focus on control engineering and electrical engineering. Alongside his studies, Gabriel Lichtenstein taught himself programming. “For example, I wrote small scripts to automate recurring processes as part of my studies.”

IT as a new center of life

At some point, something clicked in his head. “I just enjoyed developing small apps and programs more and more.” In his mid-20s, Gabriel Lichtenstein made another complete change and completed a dual degree program in business informatics at the Nordakademie Hamburg. “Practical relevance played a major role in my decision, hence dual studies.” So he also completed the Master@IBM program at IBM Germany.

Gabriel Lichtenstein found a permanent position at IBM after graduating. He currently works in project management, sometimes with up to 150 people, developing solutions for his customers. That’s when the common thread in his life showed up again. “When I see the beaming faces at the customer when we have once again been able to solve a problem, for me there is nothing better.”

Almost nothing works in IT without teamwork anymore, Gabriel Lichtenstein also experiences. “We don’t talk about co-creation or co-programming in IT for nothing. You can’t even solve the increasingly complex problems on your own.” Other trends that will change the IT working world in the coming years: Design thinking and agile working. That means a change in thinking, looking at IT products more from the user’s point of view. This in turn requires different skills, namely more flexibility and faster action in the search for solutions.

Read also: How do I become a … Data Scientist?

For IT consultants, there is no standing still

That’s why Gabriel Lichtenstein advises young people who want to become IT consultants: “Be prepared to be a lifelong learner. IT is always evolving. You have to be up for the challenge of keeping up with that evolution.” Especially in demand: deeper knowledge of cloud technology. The streaming sector also offers numerous opportunities. Because people are increasingly using services like Netflix or Spotify instead of products. This requires people in the background to create the necessary structures.

Because Gabriel Lichtenstein knows this and likes to help people, he also works as a guest lecturer at the University of Europe in Hamburg in addition to his job at IBM. There he trains the next generation and passes on his own experience directly to his students.

Gabriel Lichtenstein still develops apps and recently founded his own company for this purpose. His app, ThinkYou, is for self-reflection. The idea for the app also has to do with his personal experiences. “If you don’t recognize the common thread in your life, then make yourself aware of where your strengths lie. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’ll be successful professionally in any field.”