Who is an IT consultant
An IT consultant is a consultant who helps corporations carry out IT initiatives. If you want, as an example, to implement a CRM system, create a internet site, behavior an facts security audit, increase an accounting gadget, select device or create a pc network plan, but there may be no professional at the workforce, then the corporation can hire a representative for this work.
He’s going to examine the consumer’s request, select the ideal answer, pick out the contractors, manage the paintings performance and examine the nice of the very last product.
He can tackle initiatives in a single or several instructions. Peter Rogov, as an example, specializes in particular in software improvement. This can be either the advent of a internet site or a turnkey facts machine, from an concept to a finished product, or an audit or search for a solution to a selected question.
The first undertaking of the representative is to pick out the hassle. Most usually, that is the maximum essential and maximum hard of all: the customer feels that something is incorrect with him, however he can’t explain what precisely. This desires to be figured out.
And handiest after that – pick an answer that fits the patron, thinking of the specifics of the business, the financial and technical components of the undertaking, justify it, and, in maximum cases, help in implementation.
How did you come to the profession?
Pyotr Rogov became born inside the Tver place. He began programming at school, participated in local Olympiads.
In 2004, he entered the Tver Polytechnic college, majoring in IT. As a student, he became engaged in clinical sports: he wrote articles, participated in meetings, lectured, helped to behavior programming competitions, and taught lessons.
Right now, he met and commenced to communicate with personnel of the Ministry of training of the Tver place. In the direction of the give up of his studies, he started to be invited to some initiatives that the Ministry was involved in inside the location. Then he had his first experience in IT consulting.
After graduating from the college, Rogov persisted to work at the initiatives of the Ministry of education in Tver for some time, after which moved to St. Petersburg and have become the pinnacle of IT tasks inside the clinical department of the Peter the tremendous St. Petersburg Polytechnic university (Peter the great SPbPU).
Peter the wonderful’s SPbPU is a very big business enterprise with various internal approaches. Several internal enterprise structures have been required for accounting for scientific sports, finance, and information. These are the initiatives i was worried in.
Peter’s tasks were diverse and not all were directly related to IT. For example:
He become additionally worried in software program improvement, however for the maximum element, he attracted different organizations for tasks and coordinated outside teams. His tasks had been at the intersection of analysis and project control.
Whilst Rogov labored at Peter the terrific’s SPbPU, he simultaneously obtained a diploma from the presidential application for education control personnel inside the course of “control”. The expert says that this name hides a mini-MBA.
He labored for seven years as an employee in Tver and St. Petersburg and constructed a portfolio of tasks. After that, he moved into the IT personal consulting marketplace.
What the consultant does
All projects of an IT consultant are different, there is no standard template. Tasks and budgets can vary greatly. Here is some of them:
Application and CRM system for helicopter rental in St. Petersburg. Then it was necessary to help with the formulation of the task, the selection of the development team, the control of execution, and the evaluation of the finished product. The total project budget in 2016 was approximately 5 million rubles.
City telecom operator in South Africa. The consultant was needed to help at the stage of market research: he developed a technical project, drew up a development plan with terms and cost, described the company’s work processes, calculated the economics of the project, and selected partners and personnel. At the rate of 2018, the project was estimated at $ 600 thousand.
Information system for a UN unit.The World Food Program (WFP) needed to create an information system for monitoring school feeding in Zambia, this project was ordered on a turnkey basis:from problem statement to implementation and commissioning of the system. According to Rogov, the WFP spent about $ 500,000 on the project.
Audit for an investment company in Moscow. It was necessary to work with the technical team, study and audit the product, correlate it with the goals of the investment company, describe the possible risks, and give a set of recommendations. The work of an audit consultant, in this case, will cost $ 5-10 thousand (it is not finished yet).
Statement of the problem and audit
The first meetings with the patron, whilst the degree of acquaintance takes place and the gathering of data is frequently similar. The expert says that it is not usually easy to recognize what kind of help is wanted, what hassle the consumer is making an attempt to remedy, and for what reason.
At the begin of the project with WFP, the wording of the hassle that i was approached with was something like this: “We need a gadget to reveal college meals throughout the united states of america.” and that is it, no extra details have been acknowledged.
The primary, and on occasion the simplest, challenge of the IT representative is to help the purchaser recognize what exactly he desires to do to resolve the trouble.
At this degree, any facts may be beneficial. Rogov says that it’s miles critical now not to paintings in step with templates, however to be conscious of details and trifles and cognizance on unique conditions and people. In each case, there may be nuances.
The system for WPF needed to be designed so that inside the future the Ministry of education of Zambia should help it on its own, and customers with a low degree of computer literacy may want to use it with out issues. This substantially motivated the choice of solutions and the final appearance of the product.
In addition, the movements of the IT consultant range depending on his undertaking. If the goal become to behavior an audit or create a task plan, then the professional attracts up a record, with a purpose to be the end result of the paintings. It ought to contain the solution to the client’s request and pointers.
Development of technical specifications, construction of a work plan
If the project involves more than just an audit, then the consultant should propose a plan for further action.
At this stage, he can deal with the following issues:
Most often, in any assignment, the representative gives several alternatives. If the consumer is given handiest one, even though the specialist is assured in him, it is going to be tough for the customer to accept as true with and agree that that is certainly the most beneficial answer. Moreover, the consumer regularly higher is aware the specifics of his business, and his preference can be extra justified.
You want so one can keep an open mind. The representative can not have the funds for to make hints based totally completely on private desire.
For my part, as a developer, I don’t just like the Python programming language. But if the consumer already has a crew of Python developers, then i will no longer dissuade them and offer to exchange to some thing else simply due to the fact I do now not like this generation.
Additionally at this level, the representative can draw the consumer’s interest to capabilities not immediately associated with IT that the consumer may not have idea about.
Whilst growing a network plan for a metropolis operator, customers desired to start right away with the fiber. I drew their attention to that this will require permission from neighborhood authorities. We hired attorneys and realized that because of the us of a’s law, laying fiber-optic cable is an high-priced and time-eating procedure.
Therefore, i found partners in who offered and helped to calculate how a great deal it might cost to build a partially wi-fi network, that may substantially reduce the time to marketplace and the price of the assignment.
Implementation of the project
At this stage, the consultant:
In some cases, an IT consultant writes code and participates in development.
I did the project for WFP absolutely independently – both consulting and technical elements. Requirements changed constantly and in no time, it become necessary to work in the mode of “trial and errors” with in depth interaction with the customer. Similarly, WFP is a large and complicated company, with its characteristics and requirements for performers, so it might be very tough to attract an external group.
Regularly after the launch of a project, the work of an IT consultant ends, but it happens that cooperation continues after – customers want assist with assist and similarly improvement of the solution.
Rogov works by myself, either from domestic or at customers’ premises. An IT consultant can work completely remotely, with out being tied to a particular location. It all depends at the situation and the assignment.
The main expenses are subscriptions, licenses, office suites, design applications. For example, every year Rogov pays for the following services:
In addition, there are hardware costs.
Considering the fact that i am now not a complete-time employee of the corporation, no one will purchase me a new laptop or restore a damaged one. All system (computers, telephones, pills) need to be purchased and serviced by using your self.
There are conditions while it’s miles necessary to purchase something for a assignment, for instance, once Rogov created for a purchaser a small Arduino-primarily based tool that collects records from sensors and shops it in the cloud. To collect the prototype, the consultant ordered the components at his own expense.
The main fee that takes place on tasks is hiring other performers. For instance, a consultant organizes software program development and wishes to think about how the new product will look like. Then he hires a designer and pays him himself except in any other case agreed with the patron.
Once in a while business trips are vital for paintings. In most initiatives, the client organization organizes journeys at its personal price, but now and again tickets and accommodation must be paid for independently.
The revenue of an person IT consultant relies upon on his efforts and capabilities. Whilst working independently, there may be no ceiling, says Peter Rogov.
Within the usa, an IT representative at the personnel of a corporation gets a profits similar to a senior developer – $ a hundred and ten-a hundred and fifty thousand consistent with year. In some cases, he is taking at the role of project manager, and then the average rate will increase through 5-10%. Skilled and sought-after professionals receive up to two-three instances those numbers.
the profits of an IT consultant within the agency’s staff is considerably much less – $ forty-75 thousand per yr.
Experienced specialists acquire about $ one hundred thousand consistent with year.
Within the assignment surroundings, the difference between the overseas markets isn’t always that massive. At the equal time, it is regularly tons more profitable for a enterprise to draw an outside consultant than to hire a full-time employee or a large outsourcing organisation. Particularly for extraordinarily brief-time period projects.
Most usually, even for a small business, the offerings of a consultant will fee from numerous thousand greenbacks for a small task – quick-term consulting, audit, practise of documentation. For large tasks, there is no preferred rule. We can talk approximately hundreds of lots of greenbacks if the task is lengthy-time period and hard enough.
Because the interest is undertaking-based, the revenue may range from month to month. On common, Pyotr Rogov earns approximately $ sixty five,000 in step with year before taxes.
However this isn’t the restrict, I recognize independent specialists who receive extensively greater – as much as numerous hundred thousand bucks a year. It all depends on precise customers, initiatives, budgets, and the complexity of the mission.
From time to time it happens that a consultant in a week of his work can store a multimillion-dollar undertaking from collapse – then the remuneration could be better.
In a large feel, an IT consultant’s customers are always commercial enterprise. It is able to be almost any organization or authorities organisation.
Possibly, handiest IT groups, in particular the ones focusing on software program development, will not want an external representative. They have enough of this competence and rarely need an outside professional.
In 2021, there may be no properly-described marketplace for independent IT specialists. The general public in this profession work as full-time employees in huge groups, consulting corporations. On this function, they do now not have to look for and entice customers. However the independent consultant should do this too.
The most effective way to locate new customers is through word of mouth. Consequently, networking is very important while seeking out customers. Regularly, participation in events can play a decisive position: specialized meetings, exhibitions, professional meetings.
A non-public website or social media profile can be useful as a digital portfolio. Most often, a specialist is invited based totally on tips, however first, they carefully examine the to be had information and work revel in.
It’s miles very vital for a few customers that a expert has a sure set of professional certifications, for example, PMP, enterprise certificates, or academic diplomas, but these are rare cases.
Preliminary initiatives can be advanced as a complete-time representative or assignment manager in a enterprise, as well as as an owner of an IT product. It is hard to look for clients with out a portfolio, due to the fact the work is essentially primarily based at the consumer’s accept as true with, and this, in turn, is achieved due to factors:
I assume that at the first conferences, no matter the agreements and prospects, it’s miles important to give enter pointers, feedback on the patron’s hassle – treasured, which he can use anyways, even if cooperation does not workout.
Most often at this degree, if the patron is relaxed with the representative, and he sees that this individual is aware his subject matter, mission, and trouble, then the importance of diplomas is going no longer even second, however 0.33.
If we’re speaking approximately an man or woman consultant, then a permanent group isn’t wanted. Petr Rogov, for example, has no human beings at the team of workers. But the community of companions is very critical.
Most often, in projects, an IT consultant needs:
From time to time specific critiques are wished, and what sort of the consultant has a huge network of sufficiently qualified companions additionally depends on his relevance.
As an example, the subject of blockchain and tasks primarily based in this generation is now very famous. It’s miles very useful to have blockchain experts on your network to safely suggest the patron. The overall rule is that the broader and extra various the community of contacts, the higher.
Rogov works as an man or woman entrepreneur with a simplified taxation machine. But there are one of a kind situations.
Every now and then a representative is employed for a project and paid a income. That is mentioned in advance, a set-term employment contract is concluded. And in foreign businesses, every now and then they settlement as an individual.
It strongly relies upon on the usa, prison specifics, where the purchaser is placed, where the contractor is located, in which jurisdiction he gets price and should pay taxes, how the settlement is concluded. When it’s far a big global or disbursed enterprise, it is able to be simpler to rent a person to the personnel as a expert than a corporation, in view that otherwise the corporation, according to inner guidelines, must undergo a long chain of approvals and tender processes. And this may negatively have an effect on the timing of the mission.
In a cooperation agreement, there is usually a fragment describing confidentiality problems. Rogov does not have a widespread agreement form, given that it’s miles rather hard to agree on his version with big clients. Commonly, he works according to the form of the contract that the customer gives.
In maximum cases, the consumer lets in you to talk about the fact of operating with him, but not about the content material of the mission. A expert can proportion his experience in a generalized manner, and it’s miles unacceptable and legally unsafe to reveal the information of the business, for the reason that IT representative may additionally have get entry to to sufficiently touchy records:
I try to observe the good judgment that regardless of how the confidentiality agreement is formulated within the settlement, I do now not expose any internal records about my customers. Within the quality case, i can tell you the generalized essence of the paintings that changed into carried out without going into details about the strategies and inner affairs.
What an IT consultant should be able to do
Rogov believes that specialised IT schooling is a should for someone on this profession. This ought to be his fundamental schooling. It doesn’t should be with a strong consciousness on programming – it depends on the profile of the expert.
Because the consultant wishes to work a lot with management and understand the corporate structure, it is pretty desirable to have extra training within the direction of management. It could be one of the forms of MBA or mini-MBA to apprehend the specifics of commercial enterprise control, which include massive ones.
To work effectively with engineers, a consultant needs:
Pyotr Rogov says that despite the fact that he focuses on consulting, he continues to jot down code on his own, engage in software development, look at new technologies so that knowledge does no longer turn out to be out of date.
Further to the technical facet, it’s also essential for a consultant to understand commercial enterprise control and control issues. Here he should apprehend:
Pyotr Rogov believes that the consultant wishes English. A large amount of statistics, documentation on IT projects, new technology, and techniques are available in particular in English.
I might say that you want to understand English at the extent of a assured person, not decrease than B2, but better C1. Different languages are welcome, however this is more likely to increase the sphere of interest, to talk with customers from other countries.
In keeping with Rogov, the maximum essential factor for any consultant is to expand communique abilties. Some other representative, through definition, reads and writes loads, so that you want the capabilities of rapid work with files, coaching of materials, proper writing.
Frequently it is vital to preserve activities: presentations, joint running conferences, as an instance, brainstorm classes – in this situation, the representative takes on the role of the dialogue moderator.
The work of an IT representative calls for vast expertise and allows you now not best to grow professionally, however additionally to increase emotional intelligence, innovative questioning, and powerful conversation skills. It’s miles an outstanding revel in this is profitable not best in work but in all areas of lifestyles.