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Becoming a software consultant is an excellent career choice. Consultants of this type have the opportunity to work with clients in a number of fields, evaluating customer needs and aiding in the selection of software that will not only meet but exceed client expectations. The process for entering this field typically requires that candidates seek some type of formal training in computer science as well as earning certification with various types of applications. Practical experience as an apprentice with an established consultant firm will also make it easier to break into this type of career, providing the chance to gain experience that will be especially helpful if you choose to become an independent software consultant.
One of the first issues to address if you wish to become a software consultant is the need to educate yourself. This will mean learning all you can about computer software in general. Typically, taking courses that have to do with computer programming, computer science, and information technology will provide the foundation needed to be a success in this field. Along with taking courses at a local college or technical school that offers the type of degree programs you have in mind, also consider obtaining some practical experience by working part time as part of an information technology team at a local company. This allows you to relate what is learned in the classroom to an actual work setting, providing perspective that would be hard to gain in other settings.
During the course of the training and preparation for your career as a software consultant, it is a good idea to become well-versed in the different operating systems in common use today. It is also important to have a solid working knowledge of the major software programs that are preferred by many businesses, including sales and marketing databases, accounting software, various types of word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation software options, and even software that addresses niche needs within certain industries. The idea is to be able to articulate the differences between different software options, compare the features and requirements with the platforms used by customers, and make informed suggestions about which programs will be the best fit.
While gaining the proper background and experience is crucial to becoming a software consultant, it also helps to develop expertise in running a business. This will be less of an issue if you plan on aligning yourself with an established consulting service, but is extremely important if the plan is to build a reputation as an independent consultant. Learn all you can about how to set up and operate a business, including how to incorporate your company, obtain a business license or certificate, and how to manage accounting, billing, and other essential functions so that the company can operate at maximum efficiency.
Keep in mind that a truly competent software consultant is always learning something new. This means that even after obtaining a computer science degree and becoming certified with a number of different software and operating system platforms, you will continue to seek certification with new offerings. Doing so will broaden your appeal to potential customers and make it easier to help them secure the right combination of software options to meet their needs.