IT consultants are great communicators and have excellent organisational skills as well as sound knowledge and understanding of IT systems
Your role as an IT consultant is to work in partnership with clients, advising them how to use information technology in order to meet their business objectives or overcome problems. You'll work to improve the structure and efficiency of IT systems in various organisations.
You'll provide strategic guidance to clients with regard to technology and IT infrastructures and will enable major business processes through enhancements to IT. You may be called upon to provide guidance and technical expertise during other processes as well, such as selection and procurement and user training and feedback.
As an IT consultant you'll need to:
- meet with clients to determine requirements
- work with clients to define the scope of a project
- plan timescales and the resources needed
- clarify a client's system specifications, understand their work practices and the nature of their business
- travel to customer sites
- liaise with staff at all levels of a client organisation
- define software, hardware and network requirements
- analyse IT requirements within companies and give independent and objective advice on the use of IT
- develop agreed solutions and implement new systems
- present solutions in written or oral reports
- help clients with change-management activities
- purchase systems where appropriate
- design, test, install and monitor new systems
- prepare documentation and present progress reports to customers
- organise training for users and other consultants
- be involved in sales and support, and where appropriate, maintain contact with client organisations
- identify potential clients and build and maintain contacts.
Although you'll generally work 9 am to 5 pm, the nature of the industry means that extra hours are often required to meet deadlines. You'll also spend a lot of time travelling to client sites, mirroring the client's working hours.
Part-time work is unlikely, but career breaks are possible as work is project-based. While many IT professionals are independent contractors, it's best to gain some experience and contacts in the industry by working for an employer before going down this route.
Self-employment is possible, where you can manage your own workload and hours.
What to expect
- The job is mostly office-based, working as a member of a project team. You'll often be based on clients' premises.
- The work may be stressful and fast-paced, particularly when client deadlines need to be met.
- Travel within the working day to clients' sites is often needed, and overnight absence from home is frequently required. Overseas travel may occasionally be necessary depending on the employer and client.
You can enter IT consultancy work with any degree, but in particular, the following subjects may be useful:
- business studies
- computer science and software engineering
- electrical/electronic engineering
- information systems
- other science or engineering disciplines.
If you want to enter the world of IT consultancy, you'll need to show:
- leadership ability
- communication and interpersonal skills
- teamwork skills
- a logical approach to problem-solving and analysing
- the ability to learn quickly
- confident decision making
- presentation skills
- excellent customer service skills
- good organisational skills to prioritise heavy workloads
- the ability to communicate technical information to non-IT clients and colleagues
- flexibility and adaptability
- time management skills.
Finding IT-related holiday work or an industrial placement or internship may lead directly to graduate employment. As a first or second-year undergraduate, you can apply for internships in the industry. Work experience gained in a commercial environment helps demonstrate your commercial awareness, client management skills and ability to understand and communicate the business benefits of IT.
Competition for vacancies is fierce, so it's a good idea to start making applications for jobs to larger firms in the autumn term of your final year. Graduate places fill quickly and competition gets stronger as time passes.
Estimated Salary: 500000 Rwf
Position: IT consultant