What is an IT Consultant?
IT consultants are information technology specialists who often work with clients in order to offer advice on how to use IT to meet their business needs.
An IT consultant is often asked to provide strategic guidance on topics such as the use of IT to solve a problem, IT infrastructures and the use of IT to increase efficiencies. As well providing technical assistance, IT consultants can also be called upon during other business processes such as procurement, sales or new business development, user training and feedback or project analysis.
The day to day responsibilities of an IT consultant of course vary dramatically from company to company and within different industries, however general tasks expected of an IT consultant can include, working with clients to determine requirements and scope for projects, managing budgets and time pressures, analysing IT requirements, developing IT based solutions, implementing and monitoring new systems, training others and reporting project results.
What can I expect to earn as an IT consultant?
IT consultants are deemed experts in their field and so are often paid very well. As a starting salary you can expect to earn between £20,000 and £32,000. With experience this salary range can grow incredibly, with IT consultants with 10 years or so experience behind them commanding salaries in the range of £50,000 to £80,000. Salaries are of course likely to depend upon location, with IT consultant jobs in London usually offering the highest rewards.
How do I become an IT Consultant?
Most employers will be looking for a candidate who is educated to degree level, usually in a subject such as information systems, computer science, electrical engineering, mathematics or another science or engineering discipline. Business, Management or Arts and Humanities graduates also tend to be considered quite highly but are usually required to have a 2.1 degree and also be able to demonstrate their interest and ability in IT.
Candidates are often required to show evidence that they are:
- Strong leaders
- Good communicators who are able to work effectively in a team
- Able to apply a logical approach to problem solving
- Able to work well with clients (provide an excellent service)
- Organise timescales and budgets
- Able to explain complicated IT systems to non-IT clients and colleagues
Although it is not necessary, it is often seen as a benefit to have a post graduate qualification, especially if your first degree is not based in IT or engineering as it demonstrates your commitment to your career choice as well as your interest and competence in IT.
It is advisable to get as much work experience as possible in a related field, as this will help your application stand out from the crowd. Industrial placements, part-time work, voluntary work or even simple work experience gained in a commercial setting will help you to demonstrate the “soft skills” mentioned above.
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