Becoming a successful IT Consultant requires a complex set of abilities. You have to possess Information Technology expertise, of course. But that's just the starting point. To maximize your career options, you also need to develop a wide variety of other skills.
IT Consultants help businesses and individuals develop and operate their IT systems. Done right, the career offers significant opportunities. According to PayScale, the average salary runs about $79,000, with the high end of the range-topping above $120,000. Meanwhile, figures derived from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data project 9% annual growth for the industry over the next several years.
There is significant value in building a career in IT consulting. However, doing so means juggling a number of things at once. Beyond the technical capabilities, you need to fill several other roles simultaneously. You're a salesperson, a team leader, a trouble-shooter, an advisor, and any other positions necessary to create and manage an optimal IT offering.
It's a lot to handle at once. However, by developing the right skill set, you'll be well-positioned for a successful career. Here's a few competencies to focus on:
Up-to-Date IT Skills
This is your bread and butter. You can't service your clients effectively if you don't have the minimum IT competency. That requires adequate schooling and the appropriate certifications for any specialties. Some vendors (like Cisco and Oracle) have their own certification programs to operate their systems properly.
Beyond these basics, you need to remember to keep these skills current. Information Technology is a fast-changing field. It's essential to make learning a career-long endeavor.
Having the requisite skills aren't enough. You have to convince clients that you're the best person to help them achieve their goals. Without this sales component, you'll never get the chance to show off your technical chops. That means building your sales abilities, so you're better able to convince others to let you create their system.
Presentation is part of sales. You need to be able to demonstrate your vision effectively. This involves public speaking and the ability to create engaging visual aids. That way, you can outline the type of system you want to create and share your conception with all the relevant parties.
Creating a high-functioning system is a team effort. As an IT Consultant, you'll form the nexus of a communication hub. You have to coordinate with your coworkers. At the same time, you have to synchronize with your client's team and arrange details with your vendors. The ability to work well in these team scenarios will give your career an extra boost.
No system is perfect. Issues will eventually come up. You'll need to solve any problems that arise calmly and efficiently. Your ability to troubleshoot, and to upgrade older systems, will help you keep clients for the long term.
Solving problems is only part of keeping your established customers satisfied. It's not just that you can keep their systems humming regularly. It's how you do it. Your method of communicating will define how customers perceive you.
This is especially true in a technology-focused endeavor like IT Consulting. You'll need to explain complex systems in a way your clients will understand. Building these communication skills will allow you to make the most out of your technical abilities.
You don't just have to set up systems. You have to make sure your clients can operate them effectively. This means training their employees to handle day-to-day operations. Your ability to communicate in this context will make you a more effective IT consultant.
Move Your Career Forward
Ready to move your career forward? Working with a reliable staffing agency, like Qualified Staffing, will help you find the perfect IT Consultant placement to accelerate your professional development.
Contact Qualified Staffing today to learn more.