Technology is fast-moving, complicated stuff in this day and age; so much so that it’s necessary for businesses to have a plethora of experts to hand to provide IT consulting advice which will solve their technical problems, help them keep competitive in their markets and protect them from any potential threats the ever-evolving technology world.
IT consultants will work at professional services firms or specialist IT firms, providing the support and advice to develop and improve technology infrastructure, security and systems for both public and private sector companies and organisations in a whole manner of different industries. They may even work with governments. Clients may wish to try out the latest technologies on the block to give them the edge, fix problems they’re having with their technology, refine processes by automating them or updating the old systems they have or ensure their data systems and technology are as secure as can be against cyber attacks.
Technology cannot be avoided in this day and age; it’s an integral part of the way business works, so there’s always going to be an increasing amount of roles in this area available.
IT consulting pathways
IT consulting at a professional services firm tends to be split up into advisory roles and technical roles. Analysts will tend to work with either a systems or a project focus.
IT advisory professionals will work closely with managers and other client employees when appropriate to help them align their technologies with their business strategies in the best, most efficient way possible. There are a number of possible projects here: they may help the client to select the best products and solutions to suit their needs, work with them to develop strategies for technology integration or training on new systems, or even advice on IT outsourcing (when a company chooses to outlet its technology development, maintenance and support to an external company to free them up to focus on other things or provide expertise they don’t have internally).
They could specialise in technology risk, identifying potential risks to a client from various different angles and coming up with ways for the client to mitigate risk regarding technology. Each of these projects will usually by headed by a manager who will delegate work to the analysts and associate consultants on board for the project, usually hand-picked for their expertise. Graduates will start out as analysts and need to have a keen interest in technology to work in technology advisory, but don’t necessarily need to come from a technology background.
On the other hand, systems/solutions focused IT consultants will need to have some knowledge of coding when they start out, so technical degrees such as computer science, mathematics, engineering or physics are a big advantage here. These consultants will help companies put these technology strategies into practice.
Whatever the specialism, IT consultants need to possess top commercial awareness in their field and an understanding and a thorough understanding of how a business works and its needs in the modern markets. Excellent communication skills are also very important; they must be able to explain complex technical information to their clients. It’s not good being fluent in all of the industry jargon if no one’s going to understand it at the other end – flexibility and appreciation of the client’s perspective is key!
Psst…IT consulting isn’t just for graduates!
If you thought that you have to have a degree to get started in this industry, then think again! Technology consulting is a branch of expertise for some school leaver programmes and sponsored degrees. You can check out opportunities with the Big Four firms: KPMG, PwC, EY and Deloitte.
There’s the potential to work up to managerial and even partner levels within technology consulting departments.