How to Become IT Consultant
IT consultants help to minimize business’s computer frustrations.
If you’ve ever wanted to take a sledgehammer to your laptop, then you know how frustrating computer issues can be. Businesses and organizations deal with these issues frequently. Without the help of an IT professional, an unexpected security risk or system glitch can power down daily business operations. By learning how to become an IT consultant, you can reboot companies’ systems—and their productivity.
As long as there’s a need for solutions to computer problems, there will be a need for skilled IT consultants. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects a 10% increase in new IT management jobs over the next 10 years. And in addition to ample job opportunities, you’ll also have the potential to earn six figures. If a career as an IT consultant interests you, continue reading for an in-depth guide on the skills and requirements you need to get hired.
What Is IT Consulting?
IT consulting is a field that focuses on advising companies and organizations on how to best utilize computer systems to store, retrieve, send, and edit information. Many companies use information technology (IT) to protect critical data such as financial records and confidential documents.
IT consultants manage these technological needs for businesses and organizations. Some IT consultants work in specialized areas of technology. For example, an IT security consultant is someone who examines computer systems, networks, and software for potential security risks.
The most common types of IT consulting are:
- Health Care IT Consulting: Health care IT consultants work with hospitals, health-care systems, and patient medical records.
- IT Management Consulting: IT management consultants handle the technological needs of businesses and organizations.
- Small Business IT Consulting: Small business IT consultants help small businesses manage day-to-day tech issues, such as backup and recovery challenges and security risks.
What Does an IT Consultant Do?
An IT consultant plans, coordinates, and directs a company’s computer-based activities. The typical duties of an IT consultant include:
- Analyzing computer systems and recommending upgrades.
- Coordinating the installation and maintenance of hardware and software on computer systems.
- Ensuring that an organization’s network and electronic documents are secure.
- Detecting inefficiencies and vulnerabilities within computer systems.
- Weighing the benefits and costs of new projects and proposing them to senior management.
- Discovering new computer technology and upgrading computer systems.
- Determining IT department personnel needs on a short- or long-term basis.
- Planning and directing the work of other IT professionals.
- Negotiating with vendors for top-notch hardware, software, and IT services.
Take a look at Monster’s IT consultant job description sample to find out more about what IT consultants do every day.
How to Become an IT Consultant
When hiring IT consultants, most employers look for candidates who have at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science or information technology as well as related work experience. When hitting the books, you can expect to take courses that cover:
- Computer programming.
- Software development.
Looking for help funding your education? Start your career off right post-graduation with these scholarships for information technology majors.
In addition to college education, many employers look for candidates who have at least a few years of work experience in any field related to IT. The amount of prior experience needed often fluctuates by an organization’s size and type—smaller and newly established companies generally don’t require as much experience as larger companies.
An IT internship or an entry-level position as an IT technical support specialist is a great way to get that foundational work experience. After you’ve been in the field for a couple of years, you can apply to IT consultant positions at different organizations, or you may also have the opportunity to advance into an IT consultant position within the same organization.
IT Consultant Certification
It’s also worth considering completing a certification program to boost your credibility as an IT consultant. ISACA offers the Certified in the Governance of Enterprise IT (CGEIT) designation for IT professionals who wish to work for enterprises. To be eligible for this program, you’ll need at least five years of experience in an IT supervisory position for a large company. Additionally, you’ll need to pass the exam. There are several study resources and groups available from ISACA to help you prepare for the exam.
Starting an IT Consulting Business
If you’d rather be self-employed than work for a single company, you have the option of starting an IT consulting business. Once IT consultants have secured an education and gotten valuable hands-on experience in the industry, many choose to contract their services or run their own firms.
To run your own IT consulting business, first, invest in the right hardware and software and register your business. Then, once you're ready to start taking on clients, market yourself by utilizing your network and building a professional website that will help you to develop relationships with potential customers.
How Much Do IT Consultants Make?
According to the BLS, the median IT consultant salary is $146,360 per year. The lowest 10% of IT consultants earn less than $87,480 annually, and the top 10% earn more than $208,000. The average IT consultant hourly rate is $70.37.
You can look up the average salary for IT consultants in your location by using the Monster Salary Guide.
How to Find IT Consultant Jobs
Knowing how to become an IT consultant takes more than acquiring the basic qualifications—you have to know how to stand out among the competition in your field. So, what’s the best way to power up your career? By putting together a solid IT consultant resume that highlights your experiences and achievements and writing an IT cover letter that summarizes who you are as a professional and what qualities you’ll bring to the company.
IT consultants usually work for IT consulting companies, for companies and organizations directly, or by contracting their services. But wherever you want to work, you’ll discover countless IT consultant jobs at Monster.
If you’re looking for ample opportunities, check out these top five states with the highest level of IT consultant employment, according to the BLS:
There are also many opportunities in these top five U.S. metro areas:
Sign Up With Monster to Upgrade Your Career
Now that we’ve briefed you on how to become an IT consultant, what’s the next step in your career’s sequence? Start by uploading your resume at Monster for free to let recruiters know that you’re ready to upgrade your career. We’ll help to match you with potential employers and send you newly posted jobs in your area.