Consulting


This is a repost from Data Visualization Consulting Page.

Visitors of this blog generated a lot of requests for my Data Visualization “Advice” (small projects for a few hours or days, no NDA [Non-Disclosure Agreement] involved), for Data Visualization Consulting projects (a few weeks or months; I tend to avoid the NDAs as they can interfere with my blogging activities) and even for Full-time work (for example my latest full-time job I got because my employer often visited and read my blog; NDA needed).

Additionally, sometimes I am doing free-of-charge work, if involved projects are short, extremely interesting for me and beneficial for my Data Visualization Blog, like this project:

https://apandre.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/motion-map-chart/

Obviously all these projects can be done only when I have spare time either from full-time work and/or other projects, duties and activities.

I also cannot relocate or travel, so I can do it mostly from my home office – telecommuting (RDP, Skype, phone, WebEx, GoToMeeting etc.) or if client is local to Massachusetts, then sometime I can visit Client’s site, see below the Map of my Local “Service Area” – part of Middlesex County between Routes 495, 3 and 20 – where I can commute to Client’s Location (please click on map below to enlarge the image) :

DVServiceArea

If I do have time for short-term advisory projects (from 2 hours to 2 weeks), clients usually pay by the highest rate, similar to what Qliktech, Spotfire, Tableau or IBM charging for their Consulting Services (I consider my consulting as better service than theirs…). If you will go to this thread on Tableau Community:

http://community.tableausoftware.com/thread/127338 then you will find these Indicative Rates for Consulting Tableau Work (Qlikview and Spotfire Rates are very similar):

Low $125,  Max $300,  Average around $175 per hour.

Here are the most popular requests for my Advisory work:

  • Visual Design and Architectural Advice for Monitoring or Operational Dashboard(s);
  • Review of Data Visualization Work done by my Clients;
  • Prototyping of Data Visualizations (most requested by my visitors);
  • My opinion on Strengths and Weaknesses of Data Visualization Vendor/Product, requested by trader, portfolio or hedge fund manager(s)
  • Advice about what Hardware to buy (say to get the most from Tableau License client has);
  • Advice what Charts and Filters to use for given Dataset and Business Logic;
  • Technical Due Diligence on Data Visualization Startup for Venture Capitalists investing into that Start-up.
  • Etc…

3Paths4Options

For mid-size projects (from 2 weeks to 6 months) clients getting a “Progressive” discount – the longer the project then the larger the discount. Here are the most popular requests for my Consulting Data Visualization Work:

  • Comparing Data Visualization Product vs. Other Visualization Product for specific Client’s needs and projects;
  • Comparing Clients’s Visualization Product vs. Competitor(s) Visualization Product (most requested);
  • Benchmarking one or more Visualization Product(s) vs. specific data and application logic.
  • Managed Clients migration of their Reporting and Analytical IT Infrastructure from obsolete BI Platforms like Business Objects, Cognos and Microstrategy to modern Data Visualization Environments like Tableau, Qlikview and Spotfire.
  • Etc.

Solution

Full-time work (1 year or more engagements) is not exactly a Consulting but Full-time job when clients asking me to join their company. These jobs are similar to what I had in the past: Director of Visual Analytics, Data Visualization Director, VP of Data Visualization, Principal Data Visualization Consultant, Tableau Architect etc. Here are samples of full-time projects:

  • Created, Maintained and Managed the Data Visualization Consulting Practices for my company/employer;
  • Led the growth of Data Visualization Community (the latest example – 4000 strong Tableau Community) with own Blog, Portal and User Group behind the corporate firewall, created Dozens of near-real-time Monitoring Dashboards for Analytical and Data Visualization Communities;
  • Designed and Implemented myself hundreds of Practical Data Visualizations and Visual Reports, which led to discovery of trends, outliers, clusters and other Data Patterns, Insights and Actions;
  • Created hundreds of Demos, Prototypes and Presentations for Business Users;
  • Designed Data Visualization Architecture and Best Practices for Dozen of Analytical Projects;
  • Significantly improved the Mindshare and increased the Web Traffic to website of my company, Created and Maintained the Data Visualization blog for it.

You can find more observations about relationship between Full-Time salary and Hourly Rate for consulting in my previous post (from 6 months ago) here: https://apandre.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/contractors-rate/

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I got many questions from Data Visualization Blog’s visitors about differences between compensation for full-time employees and contractors. It turned out that many visitors are actually contractors, hired because of their Tableau or Qlikview or Spotfire skills and also some visitors consider a possibility to convert to consulting or vice versa: from consulting to FullTimers. I am not expert in all these compensation and especially benefits-related questions, but I promised myself that my blog will be driven by vistors’s requests, so I google a little about Contractor vs. Full-Time worker compensation and below is brief description of what I got:

Federal Insurance Contribution Act mandates Payroll Tax splitted between employer (6.2% Social Security with max $$7049.40 and 1.45% Medicare on all income) and employee, with total (2013) as 15.3% of gross compensation.

Historical_Payroll_Tax_Rates

In addition you have to take in account employer’s contribution (for family it is about $1000/per month) to medical benefits of employee, Unemployment Taxes, employer’s contribution to 401(k), STD and LTD (short and long term disability insurances), pension plans etc.

I also added into my estimate of contractor rate the “protection” for at least 1 month GAP between contracts and 1 month of salary as bonus for full-time employees.

RR20120507-BCC-2

Basically the result of my minimal estimate as following: you need to get as a contractor the rate at least 50% more than base hourly rate of the full-time employee. This  base hourly rate of full-time employee I calculate as employee’s base salary divided on 1872 hours: 1872 = (52 weeks*40 hours – 3 weeks of vacation – 5 sick days – 6 holidays) = 2080 hours – 208 hours (Minimum for a reasonable PTO, Personal Time Off) = 1872 working hours per year.

I did not get into account any variations related to the usage of W2 or 1099 forms or Corp-To-Corp arrangements and many other fine details (like relocation requirements and overhead associated with involvement of middlemen like headhunters and recruiters) and differences between compensation of full-time employee and consultant working on contract – this is just a my rough estimate – please consult with experts and do not ask me any questions related to MY estimate, which is this:

  • Contractor Rate should be 150% of the base rate of a FullTimer

RS-COLLEGE LOAN SCAMS low resIn general, using Contractors (especially for business analytics) instead of Full-timers is basically the same mistake as outsourcing and off-shoring: companies doing that do not understand that their main assets are full-time people. Contractors are usually not engaged and they are not in business to preserve intellectual property of company.

Capitalist
For reference see Results of Dr. Dobbs 2013 Salary Survey for Software Developers which are very comparable with salary of Qlikview, Tableau and Spotfire developers and consultants (only in my experience salary of Data Visualization Consultants are 10-15% higher then salaries of software developers):

Fig01SalaryByTitle_full

This means that for 2013 the Average rate for Qlikview, Tableau and Spotfire developers and consultants should be around 160% of the base rate of a average FullTimer, which ESTIMATES to Effective Equivalent Pay to Contractor for 1872 hours per Year as $155,200 and this is only for average consultant... If you take less then somebody tricked you, but if you read above you already know that.