There are many independent contractors and small firms in this sector. Many IT consultants work in the private sector for firms that provide consulting services to companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and other organizations. Although IT consultants work throughout the country, the majority are employed in major cities. Many consultants open their own firms, but this route is generally pursued after the individual obtains significant industry experience.
There are many ways to land a job as an IT consultant. During college, participate in internships with IT consulting firms, and participate in interviews when recruiters come to campus. Once you graduate, you can apply for jobs directly at IT consulting companies. Join professional consulting associations to take advantage of continuing-education and networking opportunities. Be active on social media—especially LinkedIn—to raise your profile and catch the eye of hiring managers. In addition, your college’s career services office should be able to help you.
Most consultants enter the field by working for an established consulting firm. This way they can gain experience and a list of networking contacts before venturing out on their own as an independent consultant or moving to a different firm in a higher position.
IT consultants have several avenues for advancement. As they become known as experts in their field, the demand for their services will increase. This demand can support an increase in fees. They can also specialize in a certain aspect of IT consulting (such as social media), which can increase their client base and fees. Those working for consulting firms may move into management or partner positions. Consultants who want to work independently can advance by starting their own consulting businesses. Eventually they may be able to hire consultants to work for them. Consultants who work for corporations can advance to executive-level positions such as chief information officer, chief security officer, chief technology officer, director of information technology, director/vice president of e-commerce/e-business, Internet technology architect/strategist, and vice president of information technology. Because of the continuous developments within the IT industry, the advancement possibilities for consultants who continually upgrade their knowledge and skills are practically endless.
Become certified by the Institute for Certification of Computing Professionals, Institute of Management Consultants USA (IMC USA), other organizations, and software vendors in order to show employers that you’ve met the highest standards established by your industry.
Conduct information interviews with IT consultants, and ask them for advice on preparing for and entering the field. Visit the IMC USA Web site, https://www.imcusa.org/search/custom.asp?id=2065, for a database of consultants (including those in technology).
Become a college student member of the Association of Information Technology Professionals, IMC USA, and other associations to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.