Duties and responsibilities
An IT consultant advises on, plans, designs and installs information technology systems for their clients. As the name suggests, they are ‘consultants’ which means they work with clients on a contractual basis. They work with clients in many industries, such as retailers, financial organizations and software companies, and give them advice on their business and IT problems. Their typical duties and responsibilities include:
- Consulting staff from different parts of an organization
- Analysing an organization’s data
- Determining information system requirements
- Making recommendations (e.g., suggesting appropriate hardware, software and systems)
- Designing, installing and trialling new systems and software
- Fixing any issues that arise
- Compiling and presenting information
- Writing reports and documentation
- Training employees on how to use the software
- Responding to feedback
If you’re interested in becoming an IT consultant, you will most likely need a bachelor’s degree in a related field such as computer science or computer information systems. Some organizations may prefer to work with consultants who have master’s degrees. Even though most IT consultants have a bachelors degree, it’s possible to become one with only a high school degree or an associates degrees and lots of relevant work experience!
Skills and relevant work experience
The typical skills and talents required for an IT consultant include:
- Problem-solving skills, as IT consultants will encounter all sorts of technical problems and need to be able to come up with solutions
- Attention to detail, as IT consultants must be able to spot problems and viruses
- Communication skills, as much of an IT consultants success will lie in their ability to communicate with clients
- Work well under-pressure, as they will always be faced with deadlines and working to a tight schedule
IT consultants tend to work full time, normal hours. They may, however, have to work additional hours if there is an emergency or when approaching a deadline. In some cases, IT consultants can be completely in charge of their own hours.
According to salary explorer, the average annual salary of an IT consultant in the United States is $102,000. At the lower end, the average annual salary is around $83,400 per year, and at the higher end, the average annual salary is around $127,000.
The demand for IT consultants is likely to increase over the coming years due to the rising reliance on IT systems. IT consultants typically progress from lower roles and reach this position with knowledge and experience. Once in this position, they can progress to being a senior consultant or owning their own firm.