What Is an IT Consultant (With Tips and Steps To Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 19 September 2022 | Published 20 July 2021

Updated 19 September 2022

Published 20 July 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A role in information technology may provide with you the possibilities and opportunities to work with individuals from different backgrounds and provide technical assistance to various businesses and organisations. An IT consultant is a popular job title in information technology, and they generally work with organisations that employ technology systems for business operations. You may enjoy a career as an IT consultant if you've got a vested interest in technology and like interacting with people. In this article, we define what is an IT consultant along with the role, responsibilities, required skills and step-by-step guide on how to become one.

What is an IT consultant?

An IT consultant is a technology expert who provides consulting services and assists clients with technological and technical initiatives. Many IT consultants work for firms or enterprises that want assistance in making technological decisions.

An IT consultant can work as a regular employee at an IT consulting business or as an independent contractor and selecting their own assignments. Since technology is always evolving, IT consultants can offer and provide their clients with new technology upgrades as they become available or propose new devices and software depending on the client's needs.

Related: How to Become an SAP Consultant (Including Skills Required)

What are IT consulting services?

IT consulting services are advisory services that assist clients in evaluating various technology initiatives and aligning these technology strategies with the overall business goals and targets. IT consulting services enable organisations to execute IT solutions, achieve business-IT alignment and maximise the effectiveness of current IT efforts. Typically, IT consulting services involve processes such as planning, designing, implementing and maintaining the proposed technology-powered solutions.

What is the role of an IT consultant?

An IT consultant is in charge of assisting organisations in managing their technological operations. The duty of an IT consultant is to be a technical expert and advisor who specialises in integrating information technology into operations and demonstrating to clients how to utilise IT more efficiently to achieve their goals and objectives. Outlined below are some roles of an IT consultant:

  • Understanding fully the practices and operations of the organisation

  • Providing expert guidance and recommendations around business and IT issues

  • Recognising the requirements and scope of technical solutions

  • Liaising and sourcing partnerships with IT support staff and software engineers

  • Evaluating aspects of an organisation's computer systems such as cybersecurity, software performance and data analytics

  • Identifying and refining potential problems and opportunities

  • Implementing innovative solutions to enhance efficiency and minimise cost

  • Developing an action plan along with the necessary resources and timeline

  • Meeting with clients to discuss their operational challenges

  • Training new staff to use and implement new IT systems

What is the typical job description of an IT consultant?

This is how a typical job description of an IT consultant looks like:

We are seeking expert IT professionals who are innovative problem solvers to assist in the development, operations and integration of our IT systems. You'll be in charge of coming up and delivering technological solutions to overcome business challenges, setting a timeline for technology analysis, implementation, evaluation and testing and collaborating with our technical teams to guarantee consistency of usage. Moreover, you'll alleviate the burden of resolving technical issues by providing training to teach users to maximise the value of technology in our company.

As an IT consultant, you need to be well-informed and customer-focused. You also have to be able to convey and explain technical instructions in an easily understandable language. We're also looking for someone with excellent communication and presentation skills, technical competence and problem-solving skills.

What is the work environment of an IT consultant?

Generally, the working environment for an IT consultant depends on the client you're working with. For instance, if you work for a firm that has its own office building, you may spend time there for meetings and evaluations while doing any technical assignments and tasks offsite. IT consultants who operate as independent contractors, in contrast, may be able to do most of their work from home since they can make phone calls, do research and come up with technological recommendations for clients using their personal devices. An IT consultant can also work for a consulting firm alongside other IT experts.

What does it take to be an IT consultant?

We outline the steps for you to get started in your career as an IT consultant below:

1. Obtain a degree

Enrol in a degree programme at a university which is accredited. While some IT consultants may be able to obtain work with a GCE O-Level certificate or diploma, most employers typically need at least a bachelor's degree. That said, you need a bachelor's degree to be seriously considered in the application process. Many eager IT consultants study and major in IT, computer science or software engineering in order to obtain the necessary skills and training to succeed in the profession. Alternatively, you can consider majoring in related subjects such as business studies, electronic engineering or applied mathematics.

Related:

  • How To Become a Consultant: Qualifications and Skills Needed

  • What Does a Consultant Do? Key Duties for Each Speciality

2. Accumulate professional experience

After getting your bachelor's degree, apply for entry-level positions in the IT industry. Professional hands-on experience in the industry can help you enhance your technical knowledge and soft skills. You may apply for a position as an IT assistant, entry-level software engineer or computer technician to gain insights into the business operations and figure out which career options appeal to you most. As you accumulate more professional experience, you may also be exposed to a variety of industries. This exposure can benefit you in your IT consultant career as you better comprehend which industry you prefer to be working in.

Alternatively, you can look for an apprenticeship or internship with a working IT consultant while still pursuing your education. By shadowing and observing a professional in the area and engaging in actual work, you can gain the necessary knowledge and training you otherwise wouldn't get in a classroom setting. Moreover, this would reflect well in your resume as you try to land your first job.

3. Obtain IT certification

Certification is generally voluntary for IT consultants, but getting one can set you apart from other uncertified applicants and enhance your chances of being hired. Certificates may validate your skills and demonstrate that you have met a certain level of competence. Getting certified has a significant advantage, especially in the IT industry, as the tough coursework, training and examinations required to earn one indicate both your knowledge and expertise. Many certifications, however, require a certain number of years of professional experience as their eligibility criteria.

Listed below are some examples of certifications you may obtain as an IT consultant:

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP)

  • Certified Data Privacy Solutions Engineer (CDPSE)

  • Certified Data Professional (CDP)

  • Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP)

  • Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA)

  • Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE)

  • Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)

  • Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)

  • SANS GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC)

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

4. Apply for work as an IT consultant

Look for IT consultant job vacancies and apply to any that look like a good fit. You can try reaching out to IT consulting businesses to enquire about any opportunities. Working for an IT consulting business might put you in touch with potential clients and other IT experts. You may also consider working as an independent contractor and source for your own clients through cold calls and emails, as well as internet searches.

What skills must an IT consultant have?

Listed below are some common hard and soft skills that IT consultants may possess to perform well in the job:

  • Proficiency in technical repairs, coding, computer networks, data analytics, cloud computing and virtualisation

  • Current knowledge of technological affairs and advancements

  • Attention to detail

  • Open-mindedness and creative thinking

  • Presentation and persuasion skills

  • Conflict management and critical thinking skills

  • Active listening

  • Teamwork skills

  • Strong time management and organisational skills

  • Interpersonal and business communication skills

Related: What Are Technical Skills?

How much does an IT consultant earn?

The salary for an IT consultant varies based on a number of factors such as the size of the company, job scope, education and qualification, level of professional experience and certification. Many IT consultants are eligible for additional benefits on top of the base pay which includes, health insurance, paid leave and a flexible spending account. The national average salary for a technology consultant is $97,496 per year.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article is affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing.

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