How to Become an Information Systems Consultant


Those who become information systems consultants typically have an interest in computer hardware, software, networks and business administration. They also tend to have excellent communication, research and planning skills.


If you want to become an information systems consultant, you’ll need experience in computer programming, as well as knowledge of Internet and web applications, structured analysis, data modelling, information engineering, mathematical model building and sampling.


Below we've outlined what you'll need to begin a career in this field. We've also included helpful occupational information, such as job description, job duties, salary expectations, a list of possible employers and much more!



Education Needed to Become an Information Systems Consultant

To qualify for work in this field in the eyes of employers, you'll likely need a bachelor’s degree in a field such as computer science, systems administration, computer engineering, software engineering, or another closely related field. Some employer’s may prefer candidates with a master’s degree, while others may hire candidates who have minimal formal education, as long as they have sufficient work experience.


Pursuing coursework in computer programming may be beneficial, as well as coursework in business administration, as information systems consultants often make use of skills in these areas.





What is an Information Systems Consultant?

Information systems consultants are information technology specialists that assess the information systems requirements of an organization, in the context of that organization’s operational needs. Their scope of expertise typically includes information systems development, systems security, quality assurance planning and systems auditing.



What Do They Do?

Information systems consultants, also referred to as information systems analysts, are responsible for designing and administering the information systems of an organization, as well as the communication networks that integrate them. They must also develop related information systems policies and procedures, as well as provide organizational management with advice on issues such as security, quality assurance and the expansion of systems. 



Typical Job Duties

• May perform such functions as assisting a small business or professional office select computer and IT systems

• Instruct clients on how to use newly installed or upgraded systems

• Might spend a significant amount of time establishing a complicated database for a large organization

• Create small or large networks

• May design websites

• Prepare user manuals

• May perform software programming functions

• May recommend and design security features for a computer system or network



Where Do Information Systems Consultants Work?

Information systems consultants are hired on a full-time, part-time, contractual or per-project basis by organizations representing a variety of industries. These organizations include:


•Information technology (IT) consulting firms

•Financial institutions

•Oil, gas and mining companies

•Federal, provincial/state and municipal government departments

•Telecommunications firms

•Self-employed (as a contractor or owner of a firm)





Skills and Traits Needed to Be Successful

To be effective as an information systems consultant, you'll need to posses a certain set of skills and personality traits. These skills and traits will not only allow you to perform your job duties with competence; they will allow you to effectively navigate the challenges of this career.


•Experience in computer programming

•Knowledge of business practices

•Ability to assess the information system needs of an organization

•Excellent written and verbal communication skills

•Project management skills

•Presentation skills

•Able to handle change with mental flexibility and adaptability

•Able to develop good working relationships with clients and vendors

•Methodical approach to work activities

•Enjoy working on tasks that require precision

•Trustworthy, accountable and responsible



Working Environment for Information Systems Consultants

Work Setting: Information systems consultants typically work in an office, home office or computer laboratory setting. Information systems consultants that are employed on a contractual basis spend much of their days traveling to the offices of various clients.


Work Conditions: Information systems consultants may experience great deals of pressure and stress during system rollouts, or when there is only a small window of time for solving critical system problems. Information systems consultants must also ensure they are following ergonomic work practices, as spending the amount of time in front of a computer that they do exposes them to eyestrain, back strain and joint stress.


Work Hours: Information systems consultants typically work a regular, weekday working week. They must be flexible in their attitude towards working hours, as they may be required to work overtime when troubleshooting critical applications, implementing new information systems or performing system maintenance (which is typically done late at night or on weekends when no employees are using the system). 



Career Advancement for Information Systems Consultants

Information systems consultants typically begin their careers in entry-level roles. As they gain skills and experience in areas such as computer programming, they move into areas such as information systems development, systems security, quality assurance planning or systems auditing.


With further education and experience, those who work on consulting projects typically take on information systems development or management roles with greater responsibility, specializing in particular kinds of systems or programming techniques. 



Current Job Opportunities

Our job board below has "information systems consultant" postings in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia.




Typical Salary Level

The salary level of information systems consultants can vary depending on factors such as their level of education, their level of experience, where they work, the specific responsibilities of the job, and many others.


Information Systems Consultant Salary in Canada: According to the 2018 Alberta Wage and Salary Survey, Albertans working as part of the Information Systems Analysts and Consultants occupational group earn an average salary of $87,074 per year. Meanwhile in B.C., WorkBC states that the annual provincial median salary of workers in that occupational group is $81,058. Unfortunately, no similar statistics were available from reliable sources for other Canadian provinces or territories at the time of writing (October 15, 2019).


Salary - United States: According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary level of Computer Systems Analysts is $88,740 per year (2018 figures). The lowest 10% of salary levels in this group are below $54,360, and the top 10% are above $142,220 per year.



Similar Career Fields

Listed below are careers in our database that are similar in nature to "information systems consultant", as they involve many of the same skills, competencies and responsibilities.


Business Analyst

Computer Systems Engineer

Information Systems Designer

IT Analyst

IT Manager



References for This Guide

Please consult the references below to find more information on the various aspects of a career as an information systems consultant:


Occupations in Alberta:Information Systems Consultant.” (March 31, 2018). ALIS website - Alberta Learning Information Service. Retrieved October 15, 2019.

Explore Careers:Information systems analysts and consultants (NOC 2171).” (August 28, 2019). WorkBC website - Province of British Columbia. Retrieved October 15, 2019.

Occupational Outlook Handbook - Computer & Information Technology:Computer Systems Analysts.” (September 4, 2019). United States Bureau of Labor Statistics website. Retrieved October 15, 2019.



Scholarships for Becoming an Information Systems Consultant

All of the scholarships found on our Computer Science Scholarships and Computer Engineering Scholarships pages are relevant for becoming an information systems consultant.


Success Tip: Be sure to apply for any scholarships that you even barely qualify for, as there are millions of dollars of scholarships that go unused every year due to a lack of applicants!



Relevant Fields of Study

Studying one of the university majors listed below is a great way to set a proper educational foundation for a career in this field:


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