How Can I Become a Computer Technology Consultant?

Research what it takes to become a technology consultant. Learn about the education, special skills and salary to find out if this is the career for you. Schools offering Information Technology degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What is a Computer Technology Consultant?

Computer technology consultants, also known as computer systems analysts, assist businesses, organizations and government agencies with computer issues. This may involve helping implement new systems or system changes, running tests on existing systems and making recommendations for upgrades. They start by meeting with IT managers to discuss the computer network needs of the organization. Then they inspect the current network. Using their inspection and research on current network technology they come up with ways to address the organization's needs and propose their solutions with cost-benefit analysis. If the company approves their suggestions, the consultant oversees the installment and testing of any new hardware or software. They may also train the users how to work with the new system. The table below lists the general requirements for a career in this field.

Degree Required Bachelor's degree in a computer-related field is typical
Training Required Extensive experience in project management, computer systems and software development
Key Responsibilities Overseeing technical departments, problem-solve computer issues, identify network and computer bugs and glitches
Job Growth (2014-2024)* 21% (for computer systems analysts)
Median Salary (2015)* $85,800 (for computer systems analysts)

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

What Will I Do As a Computer Technology Consultant?

In addition to working on computer systems for a variety of organizations, you might troubleshoot problems, define glitches or seek out bugs, which you will then fix. In some situations, you may oversee a technical department trying to solve issues. You might offer your expertise and assistance on tough problems or help implement testing to find the root of issues.

You'll also define a client's computer system needs. You may attend meetings or speak with technical staff to determine needs and find possible solutions. You might look at problems within the company, which may be fixed through upgrades or changes to the client's computer system.

What Education Do I Need?

Employers usually require at least a bachelor's degree in a computer-related area. You can consider degree programs in information technology or computer science. In an information technology program, the core courses are typically focused on programming, networking and systems design. You may take courses in software development, data communications, web development, information security and computer networks.

A computer science curriculum may cover topics in operating systems, database management and computer networks. Some of the courses you might take include computer languages, programming, information systems architecture and software engineering.

What Other Requirements Must I Meet?

Employers usually require extensive experience in computers and consulting, especially for those lacking formal education. A computer technology consultant position isn't generally considered an entry-level position.

Employers may expect you to have knowledge in software development, systems architecture and networks. You'll need to have experience in troubleshooting system issues and problems with software programs. Additionally, you can benefit from having experience in project management.

You may be required to easily explain technical problems, issues and other information in simple terms that can be understood by people who aren't technically savvy. You'll need to have strong leadership skills and be able to work in a team environment.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

Information technology (IT) managers are placed in charge of setting the IT goals of a company and implementing projects to meet these goals. They to need to have a firm understanding of the computer network they are put in charge of and the network needs of a company in order to coordinate IT related activities in a company. They often have a bachelor's degree in a computer or IT related field, if not an MBA. Computer network architects are professionals who design computer networks, such as local area networks (LANs) and wide area networks (WANs). They to need have advanced knowledge of computer networking technology to make cost-effective and efficient computer networks. These designers may start a career with a bachelor's degree in computer science, information systems, engineering or a related field.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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