An I.T. consultant is a technical specialist who works with clients across all kinds of businesses and industries.
The consultant primarily provides advice on incorporating or integrating information technology systems to increase commercial efficiency and improve processes, service delivery, customer relationships, capital expenditure and above all, profitability and shareholder value.
I.T. consultants work as a bridge between users and the technical team, understanding both client requirements, and business investments and expected Return on Investment (ROI).
They prepare specifications on I.T. infrastructure and facilitate and monitor system implementation, completing the necessary documentation and supervising clients through the full technology life cycle.
Salary & benefits
Trainee consultant salaries range between £20,000 and £35,000, along with core and variable annual benefits, while packages for experienced consultants or those with industry-recognised certifications are upwards of £45,000, not including performance-driven annual bonuses, share options and a full basket of health, lifestyle and travel benefits.
I.T. consultants travel frequently across the country and even overseas, depending on the size of the client base and the organisation’s reputation.
While on projects, consultants are mainly based on customer premises, with 25% of their time spent at the home office. Working hours are standard – 35-40 hours per week – but increase during critical periods.
Strong graduate degrees (2:1 or above) in relevant disciplines such as software engineering, computer science, or mathematics, are preferred.
However, graduates with degrees in other disciplines and who can demonstrate a strong interest and knowledge of I.T. are also considered.
Individuals who have work experience and who are highly motivated, confident and ambitious are ideal candidates for an I.T. consultant role.
Training & progression
Most I.T. consultants start out as graduate trainees in consultancy firms and companies, undertaking an on-the-job training programme over a period of 12-24 months.
Training includes business and technical skills, such as programming languages, coding and enterprise applications such as SAP and Oracle. Initial work experience is through work shadowing and project placements, with independent responsibilities allocated as skills and expertise develop.
Industry-recognised professional credentials are governed by the Chartered Institute for I.T.
Consultants can choose between specialising in a specific type of technology or taking up a generalist role with a focus on business development, training and project management.
Progression towards the upper levels of the consultancy industry depends on performance, skills, experience and type and size of the organisation.