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Today’s new world of remote and hybrid work has many people thinking of new career possibilities and opportunities. Specifically, people look to the IT industry, but do you know the steps of how to become an IT consultant? The IT industry is one market that is truly thriving and gaining more interest from job seekers by the minute.
If you love computers, fixing problems, finding solutions, and the behind-the-scenes workings of all things tech, then a career as an IT consultant could very well be your dream job. Better yet, as a consultant you can choose your own clients, manage your workload, and can more often than not, operate in a remote capacity forever.
But before you up and leave your current gig or commit to the idea of running your very own IT consultancy, let’s run through some basics and fundamental stepping stones that will–eventually–help get you there.
What Does an IT Consultant Do?
Before we jump into the how-tos, let’s briefly look at what an IT consultant actually does in a workday. Traditionally, an IT professional will provide computer software support and training to teams within industries like healthcare, big and small businesses, ecommerce, legal counsel and more. IT consultants can be tasked with a number of duties that may have either a wide scope or be more specialized in nature.
You’ll typically be responsible for things like monitoring and maintaining a secure network, creating streamlined efficiencies, fixing bugs or technical glitches, improving usability and keeping up with the ever-changing standards of technology.
If the job title of “IT consultant” still has that allure and dream job potential, here’s how to get started on the right path to achieve it.
How to Become an IT Consultant in 7 Steps
While this journey may entail just 7 steps, IT consultant is not a job title that you can obtain overnight. In fact, some of these steps require years to properly complete. But don’t let that dissuade you–the time you put in at the beginning can be very worthwhile.
1. Do Your Due Diligence
You’ll have to put in your time before you can relish the title, so ensure that this is a career path that you’ll truly enjoy. Research typical responsibilities, talk to people who work in IT and follow different leaders in the industry to confirm that this is a field that you can invest in and commit to long term.
2. Get Certified
IT consultants can’t obtain certification through a two week crash course. Typically you’ll need to have a bachelor’s degree. And some professionals go the extra mile and receive an MBA too. Here are some areas of study for undergrads to consider: computer science, information technology, electrical engineering, computer programming, software development and mathematics.
Further, many IT consultants choose to be specialized to work in a specific niche industry. If you can, you’ll also want to obtain a certification in a specific area you would like to work in. You can gain specific certifications from organizations like Microsoft and Cisco – two heavy hitters in the techy space that are recognized by employers worldwide.
3. Work for Someone Else
Like your education and certifications, hands-on experience will become just as much as–or possibly even more of–a selling point to future clients. So, it’s imperative that you gain some experience in your desired field or area of interest–even if that means having to take on an internship or entry level position at the beginning of your career.
Not only will you learn best practices and have access to new and evolving technology, but you will also be able to use this time as a way to build your personal network. Be sure to make working on your communication and softs skills a point of focus throughout this time. These connections will become invaluable once you transition from an in-house member to an independent consultant. They may be a coworker today, but could become a client down the line.
4. Classify Your Business Type
Once you’re truly ready to set out on your own, you’ll have to decide how to classify your business. You can choose to become a sole proprietor, an LLC owner or a corporation. If it’s a one-person show you’ll most likely want to go with a sole proprietorship or limited liability corporation–but check in on your local or state regulations to determine what is the best fit.
5. Obtain Proper Insurance
To ensure your consultancy is running with as little risk as possible, you’ll want to work with a broker to find a comprehensive IT insurance plan that is tailored to your needs. An IT consultant will need to add on coverage for things like cyber security damage that another kind of business may be able to do without. Further, as a consultant, you’ll likely be responsible for securing your own health insurance–as companies that you’ll take on as clients will likely not offer those benefits to consultants.
6. Build a Beautiful Website
Prospective clients will likely encounter and engage with your website before they even speak to you. Because your website may very well be a first look at all it is that you have to offer, you’ll want to make it visually appealing as well as optimally functional as possible. You’ll be able to put your education and experience to work, so showcase all it is that you can do! Include portfolio examples, your resume, and even pricing options–which brings us to our final step:
7. Create a Billing System
When running your own business or consultancy–no matter the field–it’s important to define your pricing model, billing cycle and payment terms. Find an overall system that works well for you and be sure to communicate it with your clients clearly and early on during the informational stage. Far too often, a consultant may spend time drawing up proposals and taking phone calls, only to find out they are priced way out of the potential client’s budget range.
Already have the education and experience you need, but need a little more help navigating the start up phase? Embroker agents are always ready to chat and willing to help make your consultancy dreams a reality. Learn more about us here, we can’t wait to get to know you!
To learn more about the best coverage for your business, check out Embroker’s digital insurance platform.
Practice good work-from-home cybersecurity hygiene to keep yourself, your family, and your employees safe. Learn more by reading our tips.