IT systems are used by almost all companies throughout the world and the efficiency of these systems can lead to a company's success or failure. IT consultants are responsible for providing each client with individually tailored advice, which will help them to use computers and technological systems to meet their objectives. IT consultants do not just provide advice. They also provide practical help, by implementing new systems on the behalf of their clients. Sometimes, IT consultants will be expected to train clients and provide feedback to those involved in the particular company's management.
Who can I work for?
Investment banks, transport firms, health services, computer hardware manufacturers, management consultancy firms, big software houses, IT consultancies, etc. Or you may be self-employed.
Where and when can I work?
9-5 with overtime in your own office and travelling to those of clients.
What can I earn?
Starting on £23,000 rising to beyond £30,000 with more in central London. With experience, this can rise to £50-£100,000, often performance-related and bonus-linked.
What are the benefits?
Many IT consultants adore their work – it is a labour of love, a busman's holiday. You get to keep tabs on the rapid advances in technology, systems and gadgetry appearing on the market to see if it would fit you or your client's business – and get paid for it!
Are there chances of promotion?
You can branch out into specialised areas such as web development. Or you may venture into a completely different IT area, such as system analysts or trainers. Or you could go into management.
What will I be responsible for?
Researching the client's business and pondering how the business could be taken forward through IT systems. Providing training and advice for the client. Designing new systems or improving new ones. Writing client reports. To trouble-shoot and repair when systems fail and to maintain and update the working ones. Explaining complex technical issues to staff and clients in non-technobabble.
What qualifications do I need?
A degree in a relevant subject, such as computer science, maths or engineering or an HND. Interviewing firms are likely to set applicants tests.
Do I need any experience?
Several big firms offer internships, which undergraduates can apply for during university holidays. If you can't commit to long periods of unpaid work experience, consider shadowing relevant employers for a few days.
What attributes are needed?
Good with research skills, business know-how, communication and inter-personal skills, computers and IT systems. An analytical mind, the ability to explain complex issues in layman's terms.