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IT consultant: job description

IT consultant: job description

Information technology consultants advise on, plan, design and install information technology systems for their clients.
IT consultants need strong interpersonal and communication skills to deal effectively with clients.

What does an information technology consultant do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

IT consultants are contracted to work with industrial and commercial clients who are seeking help and advice about business and IT problems.

A typical project involves:

  • consulting staff from different parts of an organisation
  • determining information system requirements and defining project objectives
  • making recommendations, such as suggesting appropriate hardware, software and systems
  • designing, installing and trialling new systems and software, and fixing any issues that arise
  • compiling and presenting information
  • writing reports and documentation
  • repairing computer problems and removing viruses
  • training users
  • responding to feedback.

A flexible attitude to working patterns is helpful as travel and periods of working away from home are to be expected.

Typical employers of IT consultants

  • Specialist IT consultancies
  • Software companies
  • Utility companies
  • IT retailers
  • Financial organisations
  • Other large private organisations

IT consultants with several years’ experience may also work freelance.

Vacancies (particularly those with major employers) attract strong competition and are advertised by recruitment agencies, careers services, online and in newspapers and publications such as Computing and Computer Weekly and their respective websites. Further information is available in TARGETjobs IT & Technology.

Qualifications and training required

Any degree is acceptable for entry into the profession, but some employers require a qualification in a relevant subject such as computer science, software engineering, electronic engineering, IT, business studies or mathematics. For graduates without appropriate experience or qualifications, a postgraduate IT conversion course can be beneficial. Practical knowledge of computer programming is usually essential.

Any previous experience gained through summer internships and industrial placements is beneficial.

Key skills for IT consultants

  • Meticulous approach to work
  • Attention to detail
  • Capable of meeting high standards
  • Good problem-solving skills
  • Analytical and technical skills
  • Effective time management skills to meet deadlines
  • The ability to work under pressure
  • The ability to multi-task
  • Interpersonal and communication skills when dealing with clients

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