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What is Information Technology Consulting? Why is it so Sought After?

Information Technology Consulting helps existing business improvise their technological management and facilitate their occupational technology needs. Therefore, Information Technology Consulting is very similar to Management Consulting, just that the scope of the problems being solved is limited to the domain of technology. From helping clients improve the overall performance of Information Technology (IT), analyzing and suggesting intelligent and cost-effective recommendations, along with recommending new IT solutions that might benefit clients business are all components of a career in IT Consulting.

To deliver coherent solutions, IT Consultants collect and analyze relevant data, past figures of utilization of technology, and build up a plan towards the project deliverables. They substantiate the gaps between the old IT systems and the new one. After figuring out the desired solution, IT Consultants design new processes along with a transition in blue print. Information Technology Consulting is not limited to plating a technological infrastructure but also deals with managing project staff, direction, and overall administration of various projects. This process can include making routine status reports, handling documentation, work reviewing, giving presentations and visiting client locations.

Qualifications for a Career in IT Consulting
A technology degree, whether in college or graduate school, is a must have for an IT Consulting role. While higher level Consultants do not need to worry about the technical nitty gritty, the entry level Consultants are often expected to be able to understand the technical implications of the project. This is where formal training in Information Technology comes to aid. This can be acquired through a college major in Technology and further built during a Masters program in a Technology related domain. Getting an IT specialization through academic courses or certificates will benefit too.

To rise up in the career, however, a management degree is required. The higher order consulting work deals as much with business issues as with technology issues, and hence a sound understanding of business dynamics, and what role technology has to play in it, makes a huge difference for experienced consultants.

Skills for a Career in IT Consulting
Analytical skills to know the complication faced by the clients and problem-solving skills to skim out the problem is a necessary pair of skills for a successful career in IT Consulting. Even inside the sub-division of IT Consulting, as we talked above, there are further division of task, depending on the nature of the problem. Therefore, strict attention to detail and skill to absorb and narrow down task swiftly are a great aid to an IT Consultant.

Communication skills for presenting deliberated proposals to the clients, writing detailed reports on everyday basis, and making presentations are useful in this career. Additionally, what makes an IT Consultant stand out is his creativity to come up with innovative and original solutions for their clients’ technological needs in their business modules. Also, as goes with any Consulting, IT Consulting professionals need to keep learning, be willing to put the long hours required, and keep pushing themselves at all times.

As the career progresses for an IT Consultant, one also needs to be self-motivated and demonstrate a stint of leadership. Insight about the virtual business and e-business schemes and a global perspective of business development can solidify the consultation role of the IT professionals.

Hierarchy in IT Consulting Career
Technologically driven, highly skilled, and hard working individual are prerequisites for entry level positions in a career in IT Consulting. Since IT Consulting also requires managerial and administrative skills, an academic timeline that combines both the knowledge of IT and Business acumen will set one’s career path in IT Consulting.

At first, breaking into IT Consulting might seem tough. It is so because of the two diverse requirements of IT and Management, both playing a crucial role in this career. Therefore, a Bachelor’s degree in IT and an MBA with a specialisation in IT Management or Business Technology Solutions will give aspiring IT Consultants an edge in this career.

After gaining a Bachelor’s degree in an IT or a Computer Science (CS) discipline, it is important for debuting IT professionals to gain some work experience. This will smooth out all the crude skills learnt and refine them for practical usage. This experience will establish one’s technical base and make it easier to take on management roles later.

After a few years of working in the initial limited IT positions, talented professionals rise up to position of a Consultant, but this requires undivided years of attention and learning around the successful trends of IT consulting. From here, one can make their way to be the Senior Consultant or a Principal of the IT Consulting division, all depending on the hierarchy the company follows.

It is increasingly seen that technology has become a business enables and hence the line between IT Consulting and Management Consulting is blurred over the years. Thus, IT Consulting can be a great launchpad towards Management Consulting too.

Pros of a Career in IT Consulting
With the advancement of Technology in Business and global competition, need for Technology Consultation has become more prominent. Not only does the Private sector want competitive technology to back up their businesses, but the bureaucratic sector requires a supporting technological help for advanced functioning. This way, the competition is tough; the opportunities for the keen and talented individuals are many. The job growth is strong because the consulting industry relies on skills and experiences acquired over time. Therefore, a strong career can be made in IT Consulting, if right steps are taken, and reaching top position in this ladder is well rewarding.

There are also opportunities to meet new people and travel. Because of the variety in clients’ background and needs, there will be a lot to learn and a lot to see. Because of the diversity amongst clients, IT consultants work with real bright people in their career. Additionally, since each client is looking for different type of consultation, the possibility of working on different projects keeps the career timeline interesting.

Cons of a Career in IT Consulting
Constant travelling is not enjoyed by everyone. Staying out of their bags in different hotels and visiting client sites from time to time can be exhausting. Even while visiting, IT Consultants need to take care of a variety of tasks. From determining the requirements, scaling the scope, planning and presenting, considering clients’ specific demands, making suggestions, reaching a consensus, developing the technology, organizing training, getting involved with sales, and reporting post installation – all activities can be very consuming.

There is a reason why businesses outsource their information technology needs. There is a huge possibility that clients will not understand the technical points that you are trying to put across. They may have unreasonable demands, which might not sink with the suggestions that one, as an IT Consultant, makes. Therefore, one will have to calmly and yet religiously, try to make their points clear to the client, which can sometimes be a hard shell to crack.

Who is a Career in IT Consulting good for?
If you are a talented IT professional, with good management and public skills and want to succeed in this field, there is no reason for you not to give it a try. What you will also need to be is self-motivated and disciplined. If analytical abilities and interpersonal skills are your strengths, the IT Consulting profession will be a great rewarding experience.

Best Companies for a Career in IT Consulting

  • Accenture
  • Deloitte Consulting LLP
  • BearingPoint
  • CGI Group
  • IBM Global Services
  • HP Technology Solutions
  • Booz Allen Hamilton
  • Unisys
  • Capgemini
  • Cognizant