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Behind the consulting curtain

Taking a peek behind the consulting curtain.

Behind the scenes with Stephen Caffery, a SetFocus consultant

I've mentioned in two of my tips during the last year. For those of you not familiar with SetFocus, it's a company that will provide qualified candidates with a 13-week intensive Visual Basic training program and in exchange, they agree to work for SetFocus for the next 9 months as a paid consultant.

A graduate of the SetFocus program, Stephen Caffery, who is now working through his 9 month consulting term, recently contacted me. Stephen spoke highly of SetFocus, saying that it's a company that puts the welfare of its employees first.

The training program itself is no piece of cake. You need to relocate to the company's Parsispany New Jersey location (SetFocus will help you find housing), and you can expect to put in some long hours during the first four weeks of the program. He told me he put in 15 hours per day, plus some study time at home. There are weekly exams, plus generally two assignments per week. Working in teams is emphasized during the last few weeks of the program.

At the end of the program, your next logical step is to pass all four exams necessary to achieve the Microsoft MCSD Certification. SetFocus will pay for four exam attempts, and as soon as you pass two of them, you are eligible for placement as a consultant. Your salary increases when you pass the third and fourth exams. However, failure to pass two exams means you won't be placed as a consultant.

Stephen is a highly motivated individual, with an obvious love of IT. Right now he's enjoying a successful and highly visible consulting assignment with Roper Starch Worldwide in Princeton, New Jersey as a SetFocus consultant. At this time, SetFocus does not retain staff consultants beyond the nine-month program, but Stephen told me that approximately 85% of the program's consultants stay on with the client, either as an employee or a consultant. Of course, with nine months of working experience as a consultant, Stephen could also opt to find another company to consult for or go out on his own. Either way, to me it sounds like a no-lose proposition.

Stephen has graciously volunteered his email address( the event that you have questions about the program.

Please read the other Career Tips involving SetFocus
'No Experience, No Problem'

and 'Follow up on SetFocus'

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