If you’re running a modern business, then the chances are that you’ll rely to a large extent on the performance of your IT facilities. Often, small improvements in the way that you use your computers will yield measurable improvements in productivity. But IT can be a complex and arcane thing, especially for smaller businesses whose budgets do not extend to specialized IT departments. That’s where it’s worth bringing in a consultant from outside.
What is an IT consultant?
An IT consultant is a type of external analyst. It’s their job to take a look at a computer system and evaluate whether it meets the IT needs of the company using it. IT consultants may specialize in a certain area of computing, or they might work more generally across different areas. If you have a particular specialization, then your services might be called upon by businesses whose IT needs are otherwise being fulfilled.
For example, a security specialist might be brought in to audit the security of a business’s data. This is advantageous for several reasons, but the most significant one is that the consultant is disinterested in the success or failure of the business, and therefore has no incentive to be biased when making their report.
What do they need?
An IT consultant will tend to benefit from a degree in computer science, or a related field. With that said, entry into the profession can be obtained without a degree at all, and you can work your way up to being a consultant over the years.
You’ll need a certain kind of attitude to excel in this field of work. You’ll need to be meticulous, with stringent standards and almost obsessive attention to detail. If anything goes overlooked, then you risk it coming back to sully your reputation. You’ll need to be able to analyze problems and troubleshoot, along with possessing the soft and interpersonal skills needed to manage your own time and to liaise with clients and manage their expectations.
What are the perks and drawbacks?
IT consultants can be enormously valuable to businesses, and they tend to be paid accordingly. You can expect a hefty pay packet.
Moreover, the office hours you keep tend to be ordinary nine-to-five hours, so you can easily balance a career of this kind with your home life. You’ll spend a lot of time traveling to different sites, though in some instances you might be able to do a portion of the work from home. As a freelancer, you might need to insure your business through a specialist technology insurer. That way, you’ll be covered in the event that something disastrous should happen.