Technology consulting: graduate area of work
Almost all organisations rely heavily on technology to run their operations and business functions. Technology consulting is all about advising businesses on how best to use their technology to drive efficiencies and to compete more effectively. Increasingly, the services of consultancies also extend to the actual implementation and deployment of IT systems for clients.
Technology consultancies categorise their disciplines differently depending on how they structure their services to the market. However, there are generally five typical areas: IT strategy and design, IT management and operations, enterprise architecture and integration, sourcing, and project/programme management.
Technology consulting: the essentials
Technology consulting is an interesting and challenging career option as the economy continues to strengthen. Organisations are starting to grow again and are looking to gain a competitive advantage through the innovative use of technology. In order to do this efficiently, organisations continue to turn to consultants for advice.
Reading the business section of a quality newspaper can help you gain the commercial awareness needed to understand the challenges facing businesses in today’s environment. Keeping abreast of new technologies and how they can be applied is also vital, as is having an understanding of the consulting industry: the key players and their specialisms.
Consultants typically work alongside clients at their offices. As a result, travel and working away from home, anywhere in the world, are common. To be a successful consultant you need to care about your client’s needs and quickly determine their requirements.
Who can apply to be a graduate technology consultant?
Employers look for graduates with a strong degree from a good university, but they also seek evidence of involvement in extracurricular activities, teamwork, work experience and an ability to learn quickly. It is not essential to have an IT-related degree, but technical experience can be beneficial. Good communication skills – both written and verbal – are essential and it’s also important to be able to present complex ideas clearly and confidently.
Graduates start out in analyst roles supporting a consultancy team on a project. Typical support activities include gathering and manipulating information, presenting conclusions to the rest of the team, managing project plans, assessing risks and issues, or documenting client requirements.
In five years you could lead a major change programme for a FTSE 100 company, work in a foreign country helping devise IT strategies for a government, or you could be a recognised industry expert in your field. In this environment, you can create your own opportunities and move in many directions.
Mark Flinders is a managing consultant with PA Consulting Group. He has a business information systems degree from Sheffield Hallam University and has worked in the technology consulting sector for 12 years.
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