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IT Consultant Career Guide

How to Become an IT Consultant

Many companies depend on technology to succeed. From employee computers to client-facing software, technology often allows for smooth, ongoing business operations. In a technology-minded society, companies are increasingly focused on delivering products and services that leverage hardware and software systems for easy use.

Given how critical technology remains on a daily basis, it’s important that businesses of all sizes continually evaluate their technology needs. This is precisely the role of an Information Technology (IT) consultant: to assess a business’s needs and goals, and then help them identify and build a technology infrastructure for continued success.

Individuals with a passion for client communications, who want to be at the forefront of technology as it evolves, will find IT consulting to be a rewarding career choice.

Two IT professionals examine one of the worker's work.

What Is an IT Consultant?

IT consultants implement technological systems that help companies address unique needs as they arise. With a comprehensive understanding of technology solutions, IT consultants serve as the liaison between a company and the technology that keeps them both safe and effective.

What Does an IT Consultant Do?

IT consultants fulfill a variety of duties on a day-to-day basis. Most of their daily tasks involve communication with regular clients, assessments of their ongoing technology needs, or the installation of new processes that help them better serve customers.

The individual responsibilities of an IT consultant can include:

  • Analyzing a company’s needs and pairing them with technological solutions.
  • Identifying issues with existing technology in the workplace, and working toward expedient solutions.
  • Troubleshooting technology performance and behavior on a client’s behalf.
  • Training staff in the correct use of any new hardware or software.
  • Working alongside fellow IT specialists and clients.
  • Monitoring IT systems after they have been installed, to gauge ongoing performance and correct client use.
  • Researching potential new solutions for a wide variety of issues that a client might be facing.

These and other responsibilities define the daily career of an IT consultant, an individual well-versed in both communication with clients and the implementation of any necessary technological solutions.

What Certifications Does an IT Consultant Need?

In addition to the educational components of the job description, successful IT consultants typically maintain active certifications.

Appropriate IT consulting certifications can include:

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) 
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) 
  • A+ (CompTIA)
  • Cybersecurity Analyst Certification, CySA+ (CompTIA)
  • Network+ (CompTIA)
  • Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional (CompTIA)
  • Security Analytics Professional (CompTIA)
  • Security+ (CompTIA)
  • Project+ (CompTIA)
  • PenTest+ (CompTIA)
  • IT Operations Specialist (CompTIA)
  • Secure Infrastructure Specialist (CompTIA)
  • ITIL®1 Foundation
  • Network Security Professional (CompTIA)

These certifications can hone an individual’s understanding of specific technology, and the IT consulting field in general.

What Education Does an IT Consultant Need?

The career of an IT consultant is characterized by several educational requirements. These first include an IT degree in computer science, software development, or cybersecurity. These types of degree programs will have specific focus on software programs, scripting, networking, and security. All of these areas are crucial for IT consultants to be successful in their roles. A bachelor’s degree that offers top industry certifications can also help you demonstrate specific skills and knowledge that employers may be looking for.

Computer Science – B.S.

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task: ...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your...

Problem solvers and math lovers needed! Your task:

Lay the groundwork for the computing breakthroughs that will enable tomorrow's technologies. 

  • Time: 70% of graduates in similar programs finish within 23 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,920 per 6-month term.
  • Transfer: Your previous college coursework and existing certifications may waive course requirements, helping you finish even faster.

You'll have the opportunity to earn these certifications:

  • CompTIA Project+
  • Axelos ITIL Foundation

Professionals who need the skills a computer science degree provides include computer systems analysts, computer programmers, artificial intelligence specialists, software engineers, machine learning engineers, and more.

Software Development – B.S.

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger...

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the...

You're a creative and tech genius who wants the bigger opportunities.

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 30 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $3,920 per 6-month term.
  • Certifications: several CompTIA included in this program.

CompTIA certifications included:

  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Project +

Software development is the second-highest rated specialty within IT. Secure your future with a degree and additional certifications.

Cybersecurity and Information Assurance – B.S.

Protect your career and earning potential with this degree....

Protect your career and earning potential with...

Protect your career and earning potential with this degree.

  • Time: 70% of graduates finish within 29 months.
  • Tuition and fees: $4,245 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this degree will prepare you for:

  • Cyber crimes investigator
  • Director of cybersecurity
  • Chief of cyber counterintelligence
  • Cybersecurity engineer
  • Cyber operations planner

Certifications included in this program at no extra cost include:

  • Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP) - Associate of (ISC)2 designation
  • Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP) - Associate of (ISC)2 designation
  • ITIL® Foundation Certification
  • CompTIA A+
  • CompTIA Cybersecurity Analyst Certification (CySA+)
  • CompTIA IT Operations Specialist
  • CompTIA Network+
  • CompTIA Network Vulnerability Assessment Professional
  • CompTIA Network Security Professional
  • CompTIA PenTest+
  • CompTIA Project+
  • CompTIA Secure Infrastructure Specialist
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CompTIA Security Analytics Professional

 


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Two IT professionals look at a laptop together.

What Skills Does an IT Consultant Need?

IT consultants use a variety of technology-based skills daily to successfully pair company needs with technological solutions. These skills can include:

  • Interpersonal communication: the ability to effectively communicate with team members, clients, and executives to discern a company’s technological needs and implement creative solutions.
  • Technological proficiency: the ability to understand and install hardware and software programs that promote smooth corporate operations.
  • Data analytics: the ability to analyze a company’s data, drawing conclusions that influence an IT consultant’s recommendations.
  • Ongoing research: the ability to continually identify new technological solutions that can improve a company’s operations and output.
  • Time management: the ability to meet active deadlines, especially when managing more than one project at once.
  • Problem-solving: the ability to identify and solve any of the unique problems that a client has, either before or after the technology has been implemented.

These and other skills make for successful IT consultants, who can hear a client’s concerns, recommend solutions, and work to implement them without overly disrupting their normal operations.

How Much Does an IT Consultant Make?

$79,377

The exact income of an IT consultant will vary, depending on the nature of their hire, their years of experience, their employer’s location, their active certifications, and other factors.

The average salary of an IT consultant is $79,377 per year, where the lowest 10% of earners make $51,000 and the top 10% of earners take home $125,000 yearly.

What is the Projected Job Growth?

11%

As companies continue to seek methods to reduce costs and improve output through more efficient workplace practices, the outlook of IT consultants is a favorable one. Employment of management analysts is expected to see an 11% increase in projected growth from 2019 to 2029, good for roughly 87,100 additional job openings each year.

A drive for increased cybersecurity is also a main driving force behind the heightened need for qualified IT consultants. Larger companies, in particular, will seek the services of IT consultants — one of the best-ranking jobs after military service — with regularity, given their ability to keep a company’s platforms, devices, and data safe.

Where Do IT Consultants Work?

Varies

A wide variety of industries require IT consultants to help their organizations run smoothly. You may work for technology companies, or work in large and small businesses, non-profit organizations, governments, schools, hospitals, and more. As every industry relies more heavily on technology, they will need IT consultants to ensure security and data privacy standards are being met.

 

Interested in Becoming an IT Consultant?

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