Technology is a pillar in today’s economy. There are few things we do without the assistance of software or smart devices, and the same goes for businesses worldwide. It’s unlikely, however, for these businesses and their leaders to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology.
This is where technology consultants come in. These technology specialists provide a unique, objective, and specialized approach to technology and how to leverage it for business success.
In this article, we’ll explore the world of technology consulting and discuss how to get started in a career as a technology consultant.
What is technology consulting?
Technology consulting is the process of advising businesses on how to best use technology and software to benefit their business. It can refer to the design and development, implementation, or management of new technology.
There are many names for technology consultants: IT consultants, computer consultants, software consultants, business and technology advisors, and more. The variety of nomenclature is due to the vast world of the modern technology industry — and just how many things technology consultants specialize in.
Why technology consulting?
Technology has become a critical component of business success. Due to its rapid growth and expansion into virtually every industry, and it’s more important than ever for organizations to understand how to leverage various technology.
Technology consultants can help business clients accelerate growth, cut costs, mitigate risk, attract and develop talent, and streamline important processes.
What does a technology consultant do?
Technology consultants are hired to do many things. These could include custom software development, infrastructure planning, security analysis, and risk assessment. Technology consultants could also advise on the strategic or financial sides of technology and software, such as how to invest in cost-efficient systems or how to integrate new software across multiple departments.
Technology consultants may be asked to solve a variety of business problems with technology, such as security risks, scaling issues, or high employee turnover. Regardless of what problem they are solving or what solution they are proposing, technology consultants often work with a business’s executives, leaders, and senior managers.
How to Become a Technology Consultant
If you’re interested in a career in technology consulting, here are a few tips to help you get started.
1. Earn a degree in IT or computer science.
Employers and clients alike prefer technology consultants with professional education in a relevant field, like IT, computer science, or computer engineering. A degree also gives you a unique experience with software development, coding, data science, and web design — types of expertise that could come in handy for future clients.
Some consultants also opt to obtain a business minor as consulting requires just as many business skills as it does technology know-how. Marketing, business management, and communication classes can help hone these skills.
2. Gain some experience.
Both internships and jobs can help give you the hands-on, out-of-classroom experience it takes to start your technology consulting career. Consider interning with or shadowing a technology consultant to gain relevant field experience. Other internships in IT or software development can help, too.
After (or instead of) working in an internship position, apply for entry-level IT jobs. This step is important as employers and clients prefer technology consultants with experience (either internship or professional). While working in these positions, mix up your projects so you can figure out what parts of technology consulting you like and can specialize in.
In addition to the technology-related skills you’ll gain through these experiences, you’ll also hone your networking, communication, and problem-solving skills.
3. Follow technology trends.
Technology is an ever-changing industry, and the best technology consultants keep up with the latest technology trends. Not only does this keep you informed, but it meets your clients’ expectations of you as the technology “expert”. The most up-to-date expertise will also help you remain competitive in the industry.
Read research reports and subscribe to technology newsletters and publications like TechCrunch and Recode. Watch relevant videos from sites like The Verge and WIRED. It’s also helpful to keep up with the open-source community as they’re the first to test and adopt new technology; visit sites like GitHub to check out trending and starred projects.
4. Grow your network.
Get to know other professionals in the IT and technology consulting industries. This will help you establish relationships that could lead to new clients or colleagues. Attend events in your internship, job, or community to expand your technology network.
Technology consulting is a highly valuable and lucrative industry, and technology consultants are major assets to the clients that hire them. Follow the steps above to start your career in technology consulting.