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What does a Computer Consultant do?

From businesses to governments, many of today's organizations depend on computers to keep them running. If you have an interest in and an aptitude for computers, becoming a computer consultant can be a great career choice.

Computer consultants work in many capacities. According to the Association of Managing Consulting Firms, they are involved with "enterprise-wide IT systems and applications, software and hardware solutions and web-based tools."

The educational path

Many computer consultants pursue undergraduate degrees in Computer Science, with specialties including information design, network security, information technology, database technology and software programming. It is common for them to continue their educations with graduate degrees in computer science. In addition, these consultants often take certification courses for various technologies throughout their careers.

The computer consultant's working world

Almost any industry you can think of uses computer systems. From farming to banking and transportation to health care, organizations need computer consultants to help run these systems.

The types of work these professionals engage in is diverse. For instance, some consultants work in network administration. They help organizations choose the systems that will link many computers in a business or other enterprise together. Network architect consultants are crucial in helping organizations communicate within themselves.

One of the most important and high-profile types of computer consulting right now is network security. Computer consultants specializing in security help organizations choose software systems to prevent cyber attacks. They also provide organizations with ongoing services in monitoring networks for security breaches. Security consultants are essential in keeping organizations and their customers' information safe. Another popular avenue for computer consultants is in database administration. Consultants working in database administration help companies organize and store information.

It's a computer business

Computer consultants generally work as independent contractors and are paid by companies for their expertise and time. According to the Independent Computer Consultant Association, individuals working in the industry as consultants need to have a good business sense beyond their technical skills. Because of this, many computer consultants take business courses and certification classes; some even pursue additional business degrees. Even if you work for a large computer consulting firm as an employee, an entrepreneurial mindset and a practical understanding of business is extremely beneficial.

Computing the prospects

The outlook for computer consultants is extremely bright. Being a computer consultant can be financially rewarding, too. Computer consulting can be a great way to work with computers while making a substantial living.

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