The information technology industry consists of large management consulting firms that include IT consulting services. There are firms that specialize in technology, and then there are information consultants who work independently. Large management consulting firms such as McKinsey & Company, Booz Allen Hamilton, and Bain & Company offer IT consulting services in addition to a full range of other services. For instance, McKinsey & Company has 21 industry practices, with consultants who have experience in those particular industries, and 11 business functions that range from analytics and business technology to sustainability and resource productivity. Other companies focus more specifically on information technology. IBM Global Services, for example, specializes in business consulting and systems integration, and application management systems. IBM Global Services has more than 100,000 employees in offices around the world.
According to the market research group Hoovers, computer systems design, development, and integration services account for about 35 percent of industry revenue in the information technology consulting field. Application design and development services account for about 25 percent and technical support accounts 10 percent of the total revenue.
Jobs in the information technology consulting field typically include information technology director, manager, supervisor, consultant, and associate consultant. Bain & Company described the career ladder of a general consultant employed at its company as the first step being associate consultant for two years, followed by senior associate consultant for up to 12 months, and then consultant for two to three years. The consultant advances to become case team leader. After successfully holding that job for one to two years, they advance to become a manager, and can move up to be a principal after two to three years. Bain's information technology consultants help clients improve IT performance through an approach that considers business strategy, governance and alignment, technology environment, and IT capabilities.
The closest jobs to information technology consultant that the Department of Labor (DOL) provides information on are management analyst and computer systems analyst. Management analysts, also known as management consultants, often specialize in certain industries, such as health care or telecommunications. Many have experience in business management and information technology. They work closely with a team of consultants to study companies’ problems, develop solutions, and follow up to make sure the solutions are working. In May 2018, there were approximately 684,470 management consultants working in the United States, according to the Department of Labor (DOL). The majority worked for management, scientific and technical consulting services, government agencies, and management companies.
Approximately 633,900 computer systems analysts were employed in the United States in May 2018, according to the DOL. They often work as consultants, studying companies’ computer systems operations and designing information technology systems solutions to help the company operate more efficiently and effectively. Computer systems analysts may specialize in certain computer systems or in certain business areas. For example, there are systems designers or systems architects who advise companies on the types of hardware and software systems that fit best with their business goals. They work closely with the company’s managers to ensure the IT infrastructure and systems are effective and meet the company’s needs. There are also software quality assurance analysts, who test and diagnose problems with computer systems and write reports with recommendations for solutions. Programmer analysts work closely with management and business analysts to design and update system software to address an organization’s needs.
In general, computer systems analysts’ work entails collaborating and coordinating with other information technology specialists, and may involve some travel for client meetings. The industries that employ the most computer systems analysts are computer systems design and related services, management of companies and enterprises, insurance carriers; management, scientific, and technical consulting services; and state government. The states that employed the most computer systems analysts were California, Texas, New York, Ohio, and Illinois.