What’s the information technology consultant job?
The growth of e-services and the rise of social computing has created an increase in the demand for information technology consultant jobs.
The combination of technology and business knowledge is what information technology consultancy is all about. It focuses on advising their clients on how to perfectly use information technology to achieve their business objectives and overcome their IT problems they may face, improving the IT systems’ structure and efficiency in such organizations.
Moreover, information technology consultants provide these organizations with strategic guidance, in the form of estimating, managing, implementing, deploying and administering their IT systems, helping major business processes through the enhancement of IT systems.
Providing expert technical assistance and guidance during selection and procurement are also parts of what the information technology consultant does. IT consultants can also be involved in business development, technical duties, and even sales, having the responsibility for user training and feedback as well.
Why are IT consultants called in?
- Specialized expertise
- Their recommendations and external, objective advice
- Temporary help during a one-time project, when hiring permanent employees is not necessary
- Outsourcing IT services from a specific company
IT consultants’ duties
Their duties will depend on the nature of each project.
However, a typical project may involve:
- The consultation of staff from different parts of a client’s organization
- The analysis of the organization’s data
- The determination of the information system requirements
- Defining the objectives of the project
- Making recommendations, as IT consultants may suggest appropriate hardware, software, and systems
- Designing, installing and trialing software and, fixing any problems that may arise
- Collecting and presenting information
- Writing reports and documentation
- Resolving computer problems and removing viruses
- Training users
- Responding to customer inquiries.
Therefore, an IT consultants’ day duties may include:
- Meeting with clients to determine their requirements
- Working with them to define the scope of the project
- Planning timescales and the resources needed for the project
- Clarifying the clients’ system specifications, understanding the nature of their business and their work practices
- Traveling to the client sites.
- The cooperation with the staff members at all levels in the organization
- Determining the software, hardware and network’s requirements
- Analyzing the IT requirements, giving their independent and objective advice on the use of these IT systems
- Suggesting new solutions and new systems implementation
- Presenting such solutions in oral or written reports
- Assisting clients with change-management activities
- Purchasing systems where appropriate
- Designing, testing, installing and monitoring new systems
- Preparing documentation and presenting progress reports to clients
- The organization of users’ training and also for other consultants
- Being involved in sales
- Supporting and maintaining contact with clients’ organizations
- Identifying potential clients and building and maintaining contacts.
Having any degree, you can enter the information technology consultancy field, even if you are a school leaver, but you have to show interest in and knowledge of such field. And of course, previous work experience and a deep interest in IT consultancy are beneficial. A master’s degree is not required to get an IT consultant job. However, it increases the chances of securing such jobs, especially if your degree is not in a related subject to information technology.
Here are some of the subjects that are useful for IT consultant jobs.
- Software engineering
- Information systems
- Electronic/electrical engineering
- Business studies
- Computer science
- Other science/engineering disciplines
However, there are some postgraduate courses for graduates of unrelated subjects to provide students with the valuable skills needed for the business industry as well as, skills required for information technology consultant jobs.
What are the most important skills required?
You need to possess these skills to compete in the information technology consultancy field:
- Teamwork skills
- Interpersonal and communication skills
- Advisory language skills
- Business and management language skills
- Technical language skills
- The ability to introduce technical information to non-IT clients and also, colleagues
- Business skills
- Problem-solving skills
- Leadership skills
- Technical and analytical skills
- Good organizational skills to prioritize heavy workloads
- Time management skills to meet deadlines
- The ability to work under pressure
- Multitasking ability
- Presentation skills
- Attention to details
- Decision making
- Excellent customer service skills
- The ability to learn quickly
- Adaptability and flexibility
What to expect?
- It’s an office-based job, working in a project team in clients’ premises. So, IT consultant should expect to travel to clients’ premises.
- Traveling within the working day to clients’ sites is often needed. Overseas travel may occasionally be necessary, which depends on the consultant’s employer.
- Also, overnight absence from home is frequently required.
- As regards the working hours, its officially 8 hours. However, sometimes extra hours are required to meet the clients’ deadlines as well as taking a lot of time traveling to clients’ premises.
- It’s a stressful job, with strict project-based deadlines.
- A part-time job is unlikely, but IT consultant jobs are project-based so, breaks are possible.
- Self-employment is also possible, managing your working hours.
- In the IT consultancy field, men’s percentage exceeds the women’s. However, there are various groups supporting women in IT and technology, to encourage them to work in this industry.
- Formal dress code, for meetings and visiting clients, but otherwise, it’s relaxed.
- As regards the salary, the IT consultation fees are measured on a per day or per consultant basis. However, fixed-fee IT consultation applied to contracted IT consultants or well-defined projects that have a specific amount of work and a defined timeframe.
- The salary depends on the type, location and size of the employers and it is also usually performance-related.
Experience required for work
- Some employers can recruit junior information technology consultants in their business and technology sectors.
- First and second-year undergraduates can apply for internships in the IT consultancy field, gaining work experience in a commercial environment to acquire management skills and the ability to understand the business benefits of information technology.
- Competition is fierce so, start applying for IT consultant jobs for large firms in the autumn term of your final year as places will fill fast and the competition is getting stronger as time passes.
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