Information Technology Consultant
So you think you might like to become an information technology consultant? Information technology consultants provide support, training and consultation services regarding computer software, multimedia, database systems, networks and hardware for companies or individuals. Travel and overtime work might be required.
|Degree Level||Bachelor's degree|
|Degree Field||Information technology, computer science, or related field|
|Experience||Varies; minimum 1 year|
|Certification||Optional but often preferred|
|Key Skills||Ability to work independently or with a team; good communication skills; productivity, creative software, and word processing experience; technical understanding of computer systems and networks|
|Salary||$127,640 per year (median salary for information systems manager)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2014).
So what are the career requirements for an information technology consultant? Employers look for someone with at least a bachelor's degree. The degree field should be in information technology, computer science or a related field. Certification is optional but may be required by some employers. Most employers look for someone with at least 1-7 years of related experience. The key skills you should have include ability to work independently or as a team, good communication skills, productivity, creative software experience, word processing software and technical understanding of computer systems and networks. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary for an information systems manager is $127,640.
Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree
Most information technology consultant positions require candidates to have a bachelor's degree in information technology, computer science or a related field. Information technology programs typically include coursework in programming, database and networking fundamentals, information security and systems architecture. Computer science programs generally include coursework in programming, data structures, web development, computer architecture, project management and software engineering. Most schools require applicants to have a high school diploma or GED as a condition of enrollment.
Step 2: Gain Work Experience
Employers for information technology consultant jobs generally require applicants to have anywhere from 1-7 years of experience, depending on the level of the position. An entry-level information technology job, such as a computer support specialist or IT technician, can provide the skills and experience needed to perform training, support and consultation services. Most jobs require information technology consultants to perform installations, support and updates to computer software, hardware and network systems. Some jobs may require information technology consultants to work on call and in varying environments.
Step 3: Become Certified
Although not required for all positions, many employers prefer applicants who have professional certification. Prospective consultants have a variety of IT certifications that can help them stand out in their field or advance their careers. For example, the Microsoft Office User Specialist (MOUS), Microsoft Certified IT Specialist (MCITS) or Apple Certified Support Professional (ACSP) can be useful operating systems certifications. They generally require applicants to take part in a voluntary training program and pass a written exam; some require recertification. The Institute of Management Consultants offers a Certified Management Consultant (CMC) exam. This certification is available at basic, experienced and management levels, and depends on the applicant's level of education and work experience.
Obtaining a degree, gaining work experience and getting a job are the steps required to make the most of a career as an information technology consultant.