Starting a career in computer consulting can be a very daunting task for some individuals. If you are a fresh graduate or an information technology professional that has already worked for some time in the industry but has only standard employment experience, the idea of doing consulting work can leave a funny taste in your mouth. In order to become a successful computer consultant, you must be able to think like an entrepreneur. There is always room in the industry for bright, aggressive minds, which are able to showcase their level of expertise as well as a strong sense of professionalism.
Coming from an employment background that is rank and file, you may already be used to taking orders and following upper management. What you will have to remember as you venture into computer consulting is that there will no longer be any hierarchy, nor is there a real sense of rank and file. You are solely responsible for your clients, and if you want to make it in this business, you will need to know the ins and outs of your client's operation and ensure that the client's needs are met. This is no easy task, but it can be made smoother by establishing a good working relationship with each of your clients.
First, you will need to establish a client base. Based on your past work experiences, go back to your old colleagues or previous clients and see if they need any consulting work done. This is an especially enticing offer for a client if he is starting up a new company, or needs an upgrade to their IT operations. Make sure that you are able to provide relevant service as well as insights on how you can provide your clients with the right solutions. Once you have established your client base through referrals, word of mouth and even Internet advertising, it is time to begin your consulting work.
Identify your client's needs. Consider the scope of impact of the project and the resources both he and you have available. Be sure to establish realistic project development timelines and deliverables. Learn to take into consideration the man-hours you will need to spend working on the project, and be sure that you will be able to propose a solution tailor-fit to your client's business needs. After all, a consultant is a specialist at his craft, so you should be able to show your client that you mean business. Stick to your promised deadlines and stick to the quality of your deliverables. Nobody likes a hastily built application that crashes after 10 instances of running it. Be sure that you do the necessary due diligence in terms of quality control and after-sales support. Try out a number of test scripts as well so you can see if there are any bugs or kinks to work out in the system before delivering it to the client.
The idea is to present yourself to potential and existing clients as a subject matter expert in your field. Establish a good professional record, and you should be successful in the computer consulting career track that you are beginning to build for yourself as early as today.