Graduate careers in IT consulting.
The range of projects that an IT consultant can undertake include advising clients on how best to take advantage of new technology, developing new systems or products, and systems implementation.
What does the job involve?
IT consultants focus on investigating and analysing a business issue and designing an appropriate IT solution or system. Graduates working in this area must be good at extracting information from people and explaining technical information to non-technical staff.
The range of responsibilities depends a lot on the specific role in question. However, graduates are often employed in technical roles initially and then progress onto areas such as project management and implementation after a few years.
Graduates can be given responsibility for developing functional specifications, designing documents, coding, unit testing and providing support for specific software.
Working as a software developer or programmer within an IT consulting firm you would focus on designing programs from specifications and maintaining detailed records of these so that future changes can be made. It is an absolute requirement to be patient and meticulous and a lot of work is team-based. Normally two to three years’ programming experience is required before moving into project management. International travel can be a feature of this work, as some consultancy firms have worldwide operations.
IT consulting can offer a high level of flexibility. There may be international opportunities or the chance to undertake a contract role.
Qualifications and skills
Some employers will train graduates for IT and implementation roles completely from scratch, while others will require a certain level of knowledge on joining.
Employers want graduates who can demonstrate an ability to work under pressure, often to tight deadlines. Organisational ability and time management are extremely important. A key skill is being able to prioritise activities within a project and to manage different facets and stages of a project while ensuring that it is completed on time.
They must also demonstrate excellent logical and analytical ability and to be able to problem solve in a practical way.
Graduates are expected to be able to cope with the rapid changes in technology and to be able to gain an understanding of a new project very quickly. This requires a commitment to on-going learning and ‘up-skilling’. Excellent communication skills are also required, as it is often necessary to be able to communicate ideas and concepts quickly and clearly. This is important when working in a multi-disciplinary team or when communicating key information to non-technical managers.