IT consultant: job description

Information technology consultants advise on, plan, design and install information technology systems for their clients.

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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, also known as technology 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 a client's organisation
  • analysing an organisation’s data
  • 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
  • Professional services firms

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

Vacancies are advertised online – by employers and on IT jobs boards such as IT Jobs Watch – as well as by recruitment agencies, careers services and by TARGETjobs.

Qualifications and training required

Both graduates and school leavers can become IT consultants, though most junior roles are advertised at graduates. Any degree is acceptable for entry into the profession, but some employers require a relevant subject such as computer science, software engineering, electronic engineering, IT, business studies or maths.Any previous experience gained through summer internships and industrial placements is beneficial.

There are a few apprenticeships on offer in IT consultancy. These are usually offered by the larger technology and outsourcing companies and professional services firms.

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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