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What it takes to be a computer consultant (with tips)

What it takes to be a computer consultant (with tips)

A computer consultant is an information technology professional who assists organisations in troubleshooting problems and configuring technological solutions in software and hardware. Computer consultants can help solve computer-related issues, instal new hardware and maintain existing systems. Understanding the role of a computer consultant may improve your chances of securing employment in the technology field. In this article, we define what it takes to be a computer consultant, outline the steps to become one, highlight the necessary skills, list benefits and provide tips for working in the technology industry.

What it takes to be a computer consultant

Understanding what it takes to be a computer consultant can help you assess the qualifications and skills you require to determine whether the career suits you. Computer consulting depends on technical skills, specialisation and the ability to market yourself where companies need expert technology advice on increasing productivity and enhancing growth. Consultants also help their clients implement strategies and tackle potential challenges.

Computer consultants work in various organisations, large companies and government agencies to execute their responsibilities. They perform a wide range of duties, which include the following:

  • assisting staff in the proper use of computer software and hardware

  • identifying bugs, building firewalls and implementing solutions to ensure good networking security and prevent hacking

  • evaluating and understanding emerging trends in the technology industry

  • providing technical support and analysing data in software applications and networking devices

  • recommending changes to clients on the current computer networks and offering advice on any computer issues

  • partnering with software engineers to develop computer programs, such as creating user interfaces, programming languages and codes

  • monitoring computer systems and ensuring they run effectively according to the user’s needs

  • providing training classes to new users on software applications and hardware devices

How to become a computer consultant

The following are some steps you can follow to become a computer consultant:

1. Earn a bachelor’s degree

Choosing the right subject in university and building a solid foundation in programming and data analysis fundamentals help you develop your expertise. A bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology, software engineering, electrical engineering or a related discipline is necessary. Technology is an ever-changing field, so familiarising yourself with recent developments that affect your clients is important. Using online resources and valuable trade journals to stay up-to-date can increase your job prospects.

2. Gain experience and training

A great deal of experience in computer consulting or a related field is beneficial when seeking a job. Most employers typically look for two to five years’ worth of experience. Internships are a good way of gaining the necessary expertise to offer consulting services. Training that involves hands-on work with computer systems is also an additional advantage. A strong performance record enables you to build trust amongst potential clients, showing them how much experience you have in handling different consulting responsibilities. Working in technology and gaining adequate experience is necessary for advancing your career.

3. Build your network

Networking is about building good relationships, getting referrals and enhancing your reputation to affect your career positively. Most employers ask for referrals when recruiting new employees, and candidates with referrals have higher chances of getting the job. You can build trust-based relationships with clients and partners to earn a good reputation and expand your professional network, which is helpful when seeking references.

Related: The benefits of networking and how to get the best results

4. Learn technology trends

Adopting the latest trends is necessary for organisations to minimise costs, scale on demand, improve resilience, enhance user experience and deploy solutions effectively. Attending conferences, reading related news articles and keeping track of the latest technology updates are great opportunities to learn about trends. Constant learning about emerging trends gives you a competitive edge in the technology industry and helps you provide solutions to your clients.

Some emerging technology trends include the following:

  • artificial intelligence

  • blockchain technologies and infrastructure

  • metaverse

  • quantum and edge computing

  • datafication

  • robotic process automation

  • virtual and augmented reality

  • genomics

  • cybersecurity

5. Create an impressive CV

Writing a good CV is necessary when seeking a consultancy job. Your educational background and interests in working as a consultant are relevant in showing dedication to your work. Ensure you also include your past work experience in technology or any other related field, even if it was a part-time job, volunteer work or an internship. Before submitting your CV, read the job description carefully to ensure you understand the position and its requirements. Remember to proofread your CV to ensure it’s free of spelling and grammatical errors.

Related: How to write an IT professional CV (with an example)

Benefits of working as a computer consultant

The following are some benefits of working as a consultant:

  • Flexibility: A professional consultant has much control when working with different contracts. Becoming more flexible in your work environment boosts self-confidence, increases employee satisfaction and reduces employee turnover.

  • Networking: Computer consulting enables you to have a broad network, which becomes beneficial when seeking employment. You form meaningful connections as you work with more people in your expertise.

  • Career advancement: A proven history of previous performances and achievements may benefit you when applying for an advanced position. Gaining experience when working for different companies enables you to grow in your career.

  • Job diversity: A consultant gains broad knowledge from working in different technology areas. As a result, you gain greater professional versatility and new career opportunities.

  • Technical skill development: Working on different projects related to computer systems helps you gain new skills and improve your current skills. Your willingness to learn as an employee contributes to your growth potential.

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