Industry Spotlight: IT Management Consulting
(Source: Creative Commons)
Allan Hoffman | Monster Tech Jobs Expert
In today’s globally competitive market, corporate strategy is often intertwined with technology solutions. To respond to customer needs, IT management consulting firms increasingly seek tech professionals with business know-how to help their clients.
“The vast majority of what is considered consulting these days is technical in nature,” says the president of a Columbus, Ohio-based consulting information services firm. “That trend will continue. The future bodes well for the techies.”
IT management consulting firms frequently specialize. Some are information technology shops like IBM, while others are strategy specialists like McKinsey. But all consulting companies, from major players to niche firms, expect most employees will have solid IT knowledge, if not in-depth tech expertise, according to experts. “The demand has moved toward people who have the business experience coupled with the technology experience,” says the director of talent acquisition and management at a McLean, Virginia-based firm.
Both techies and IT majors who think their technical skills are the ticket to an IT management consulting job offer will likely be disappointed. Consulting companies, especially those specializing in strategy, seek candidates with top-notch educational credentials, a record of achievement and excellent communication skills. They want smart people who are quick learners.
The candidate interview process at many IT consulting firms reflects this — they want to assess a candidate’s analytical skills. One global consulting firm specializing in the consumer product, retail and healthcare industries uses a business case set in an IT environment to get a sense of how a person thinks, rather than her specific technical expertise. “It’s not so much did they get the right answer, but how did they get there,” says the company’s manager of recruiting.
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Well-Rounded
Recruiters look for well-rounded candidates who have proven their leadership through internships and other activities. Because IT consultants work with a variety of clients, being able to work on a team, write well and handle presentations is crucial.
“We have found that you can train a smart person to fix a widget, but it’s more difficult to train someone in people skills,” says the president and CEO of a consulting company in Houston specializing in legal technology.
Solid academic credentials are crucial. Major strategic IT consulting firms continue to seek consultants from the Harvards and Stanfords of the world. Other firms look for candidates who are among the top students at their schools.