Computer System Design Consultant: Job Description and Requirements

Computer system design consultants require significant formal education. Learn about the education, job duties and requirements to see if this is the right career for you.

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When organizations do not have their own IT departments, they often call in computer system design consultants to make recommendations and troubleshoot technical problems. These consultants often possess a significant amount of tech knowledge, which they may have acquired through work experience and/or an undergraduate degree program. Professionals who are both creative and analytical tend to do well in this career field.

Essential Information

Computer system design consultants review, design, implement, and manage computer software and programs for businesses that lack the internal resources to perform this work. These professionals, trained as computer system designers, help companies address information technology problems, as well as ways to work more efficiently and effectively. Computer system designers are sometimes referred to as computer systems analysts. They usually hold a bachelor's degree in computer science, computer engineering or another relevant field. Consultants need solid knowledge in this field in order to spot problems and devise solutions.

Required Education Bachelor's degree in computer science or related field preferred
Projected Job Outlook (2014-2024) 21%* (for all computer systems analysts)
Median Salary (2015) $85,800* (for all computer systems analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Requirements and Job Descriptions of Computer System Design Consultants

Job Description

Computers and information technology programs are used in nearly all organizations, but not all companies have the skilled personnel or equipment needed to create or program their own IT systems. Instead, many turn to computer system design consultants for help, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Computer system designers work in almost any type of business. Their work is usually performed in office buildings, operation centers, and even from home with a remote connection to the business, according to the BLS.

Duties as a consultant vary, depending on the needs of their clients. According to the BLS, a computer system design consultant's work may include:

  • Creating custom software programs
  • Creating computer systems
  • Designing information systems
  • Computer management services
  • Software instillation
  • Data recovery

Consultants typically work by contract. They may be employed to address a specific need or problem, or they may work on ongoing projects as needed.

Requirements and Skills

A bachelor's degree in computer engineering, information systems, computer science, mathematics, or a related major is usually required. Because employers will dictate how much training and education is required for their project's needs, individuals with an associate's degree or a certificate and with the right technical skills may be hired. According to O*Net OnLine, 61% of computer systems designers and engineers have completed a bachelor's degree program.

Computer system design consultants need to have strong troubleshooting skills to identify positives and negatives of potential solutions. The ability to excel in operations and systems analysis is also necessary.

Career Outlook

The field of computer system design is predicted to grow rapidly, according to the BLS. The BLS projects that the employment of computer systems analysts could grow by 21% between 2014 and 2024. Consultants may continue to work independently or seek employment with consulting companies. In May 2015, computer systems analysts earned a median hourly wage of $41.25, or $85,800 a year, according to the BLS.

Computer system design consultants assist organizations with figuring out their technical needs and updates, and consultants solve other computer-based problems. Although bachelor's degrees are common for professionals in this career field, they're not necessarily required, provided individuals have enough training and tech experience. The expected growth rate of over 20% between 2014 at 2024, per the BLS, indicates that this field is ripe for employment opportunities for both self-employed consultants and those working with consulting firms.

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