Job profile

Information Technology (IT) Consultant

Information Technology (IT) Consultant Job Profile

What is an IT Consultant?

An Information Technology (IT) Consultant provides advisory services that assist companies in evaluating various information technology initiatives and aligning them with their business or process plans. In many ways, the work of an IT consultant resembles that of a system analyst, designer, and application programmer.

IT Consultants advise, plan, construct and install information technology systems. They collaborate with clients on how to use IT to achieve their business goals or solve challenges. They give clients strategic advice on technology infrastructures and use IT improvements to facilitate significant business activities.

Consulting has become ingrained in our corporate culture. As a result, consumers and organisations have grown to recognise the value of consultants, particularly when they need a fresh viewpoint or specialised knowledge. 

As information technology continues to revolutionise communication, operation, and innovation within the corporate world, IT consultants have become increasingly crucial. Particularly when it comes to small and medium businesses. They enable companies without enough resources for a full-time, in-house IT department to quickly scale up and not miss out on the potential given by IT. However, even large organisations can profit substantially from IT consulting, especially when specialised knowledge is required for temporary or one-time initiatives.

It’s no surprise that many people choose to pursue a career in this industry. This is where an MSc in Information Technology becomes a great differentiator. With an MSc you can ensure the most prestigious and well-paid employment in this field.

Responsibilities

IT consultants specialise in various IT areas, from software consultants to strategy experts.

Some of their responsibilities include:

  • Meeting and consulting with clients to determine their needs
  • Communicating with employees at all levels of a client’s organisation
  • Examining the operational efficiency and capability of a client’s IT infrastructure to determine the software, hardware, and networking requirements
  • Collaborating with clients to identify the scope of a project, timelines, and resources 
  • Analysing  IT needs in businesses and providing impartial, independent advice on how to employ technology.
  • Clarifying client’s system requirements, learning about their work routines, and the nature of their business 
  • Combining strategic goals and knowledge of emerging technologies to develop the logical design of the system and supporting infrastructure to meet client needs
  • Creating and deploying agreed-upon solutions and new systems
  • Assisting with change management initiatives for clients
  • Purchasing systems as needed, then developing, testing, installing, and monitoring new systems.
  • Compiling documentation and providing written and spoken progress reports to clients
  • Organising training for users and other consultants
  • Being active in sales and support,
  • Making a list of potential clients and keeping in touch with them.
  • Travelling to customer locations

Salary

IT Consultants salary is frequently performance-related and is determined by experience, location, size, and type of business.

According to National Career Service UK, wages for IT consultants in the United Kingdom range from £30.000 to £70,000, depending on skill set, region, company and experience.

Apart from full or part-time employment, IT consultants can do contract work. Daily wages for IT contractors range from £150 to £550+ per day. However, this also depends on experience and expertise. 

In most cases, hiring an IT consultant is less expensive than hiring a full-time IT employee. Even when a company has someone in-house, at times IT consultants are brought in to plug any short term gaps in staffing. For example, an IT consultant can be brought in as an extra pair of hands on a particular project.

Despite the recent limitations created by COVID-19, the UK’s Information Technology sector has demonstrated its resilience by continuing to grow, with qualified personnel required to maintain this momentum. London tech Venture Capital (VC) investment was ranked fourth in the world last year and London tech startups raised a record £18.55 billion.

Starting pay for technology related jobs with companies included in The Times Top 100 Graduate Employers is at £32,000, higher than the national median of £30,000 (which has been the same since 2015). 

Furthermore, the UK Tech Ecosystem update, a Tech Nation report backed by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport and the Digital Economy Council, revealed that Tech jobs account for a tenth of all employment opportunities in the UK by the end of 2021.

Working hours and work location

According to the National Career Service, IT Consultants work between 37 and 39 hours per week.  Although you will often work from 9am to 5 pm, sometimes you might need to work extended hours to fulfil deadlines. If your role is that of an independent IT consultant on a contract, expect your working hours to be longer.

You’ll also spend a significant amount of time travelling to client sites where you will be required to match their working hours. Seniority, location, and the company you work for all play a role in this. 

The location of an IT consultant’s office is frequently determined by their customer. If the customer has their own office, meetings, projects, and assessments are likely to be held there.

Clients who work from home will usually want to connect and complete tasks via email or online platforms, with meetings conducted via video and phone calls.

Qualifications

An IT Consultant typically holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems. But there are other ways of getting into this lucrative profession. 

In fact, you can work as an IT consultant with any degree. Some related fields you might want to consider a degree in are:  

  • Mathematics
  • Electrical/Electronic Engineering
  • Business Studies
 

As mentioned previously, a Master of Information Technology (MSc IT) can also give you a leg up when it comes to applying for a job. More importantly, it can be combined with any other degree, not just an IT-related degree. Even if you do not have a background in IT or computing, this will give you the opportunity to master the principles of information technology.  

Skills

Not everyone is cut out to be an IT consultant. In order to break into the field, you'll need a set of specific skills. Here are some essential skills that you must possess or acquire in order to thrive in this position:

must have skills:
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Ability to lead
  • Communication skills
  • Time management skills
  • Adaptation and flexibility skills
  • Ability to work in a team
  • Ability to learn quickly
  • Analytical mindset
  • Computer skills and some understanding of information technology 
  • Confidence in making decisions 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication
  • Creative problem-solving skills
  • Presentation skills.
  • Customer service skills

Work experience

IT consultants could be hired for anything from software management to data analytics.

A master’s degree is a sure path to becoming an IT Consultant, even if you don’t have a lot of background in IT or computing

This isn’t to say you won’t continue to improve your abilities through continued training.

There are currently numerous certifications and courses available that could help you build up your skills and open doors to those lucrative salaries. These include:

Certificate required to use the SAP platform, a platform that provides immense capabilities to manage financial assets, production operations, plants, personnel, materials, archived documents and cost accounting.  SAP allows clients the opportunity to interact with a shared database across a wide range of applications.

Certificate required to use Salesforce, one of the most popular customer relationship management (CRM) platforms in the world. This platform allows marketing, sales, commerce, service, and IT teams to work together from any location.

Course aimed at experienced developers to enable them to fully build an application.

Because the competition for positions is high, it’s a good idea to start applying for jobs with larger companies in the final term of your baccalaureate studies in IT, or during your MSc in Information Technology. 

While doing your Masters’ Degree, you can also apply for IT apprenticeship with the UK government or an information technology internship through Student Job.

The usual consulting path that people see is that you work for two years at a big consulting company, then you can decide what direction you’d like to go in. Many decide to work in IT for a startup or go in-house on the client-side. 

Another route is to gain experience working for a variety of organisations and then move towards consulting. 

If you land a job in a great company, it is not unusual for them to pay for you to acquire your MSc. 

You could also simply stay at your consulting business for years, climbing the corporate ladder. If you work full time, promotions are usually only once a year. But there are things that you can do to make yourself stand out such as investing in an MSc or professional training and development. The idea is to always strive to be the best in what you do. That way, you’re in the right position when the time comes to talk about salary raises or promotions.

Career prospects

What can I do with an IT Degree, is one of the most important questions to ask yourself when pursuing the IT business path. The most common classification for IT consultants is:

Software Implementation Consultants are specialists that travel to numerous job sites to assist clients with the installation of various software and hardware solutions.

Field Technical consultants help businesses better their use of technology and achieve their objectives.

A cybersecurity consultant looks for weaknesses in an organization’s computer systems, network, and software. Based on the findings, a cyber security consultant then creates and executes the best security solutions for that company’s needs.

The typical personal development plan in the IT industry will look something like: 

Consultant > Associate > Manager > Principal > Vice President. In rare circumstances, an Associate may be changed to Consultant.

You have the option of consulting as an independent contractor (your own boss) or as an employee of a consulting firm or company (in-house). 

Working for an IT Consulting firm has its appeals since it provides you with the perks of a full-time career without the monotony. Consulting will expose you to a wide range of projects, clients, and responsibilities.

Employers

As an IT consultant, you could work in the private sector or opt-out to join the UK public sector. 

Public sector organisations such as the NHS or local governments and nonprofits are always looking for talented IT consultants to join their ranks. 

IT Consultancy has been recognised as a very desirable branch with many private companies offering employment, some of the most notable are:

 

A growing number of technology companies are based in London, notably in East London Tech City also known as Silicon Roundabout. 

Related Courses

Delivered by the University of the West of Scotland, this course is delivered at the London Campus which means you will be studying at the centre of the UK tech industry. This one-year, full-time curriculum is designed for students who do not already have a background in IT or computing. The course will help you build business-relevant IT knowledge and abilities and help you land that dream job in IT consulting. 

Other related courses

FAQ Summary

An Information Technology (IT) Consultant provides advisory services that assist companies in evaluating various information technology initiatives and aligning them with their business or process plans. In many ways, the work of an IT consultant resembles that of a system analyst, designer, and application programmer.

IT Consultants salary is frequently performance-related and is determined by experience, location, size, and type of business.

An IT Consultant typically holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information systems. But there are other ways of getting into this lucrative profession. In fact, you can work as an IT consultant with any degree.

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