What’s the highest position in an IT consulting career path?

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Tags:
Career Development
Consulting
IT jobs
IT training and certifications
Managers
Senior management
I've been working as a pre-sales, technical consultant for more than two years, and I have two questions: 1. What's the highest attainable level in the technical consulting career path? Should I expect to see a senior level or managing position? 2. What tools should I use to keep developing myself in order to reach my top career level / job position?
ASKED: April 25, 2008  8:11 PM
UPDATED: April 30, 2008  4:29 PM

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Dear NetworkingATE:

Sometimes, it’s necessary to answer a question (like your number 1) with another question, which may be stated in two different ways:

1. Where (or how high) do you want to go?
2. Is a person in a managing position still a consultant?

Now for some answers:
1. There are numerous ways to climb the consulting ladder.
(a)If you go to work at a consulting company (such as CAP Gemini, McKinsey, Booze-Allen, and so forth) you can climb all the way to partner level by working your way up the food chain and, incidentally, move into management along the way. Please not that for most such professionals, an MBA as well as a Master’s Level technical degree or better is pretty much required.
(b)If you go to work on your own or for a small firm, success is more often measured in the daily or hourly rate you can charge. Here’s where you have to be the judge yourself of “how high is high enough?”
(c)If you really want to work in management or in a big company, you may find yourself moving between the two kinds of consulting roles mentioned in the two preceding items, and jobs at increasingly higher levels of responsibility in one or more corporate environments. This is the other “traditional” way to be a consultant (part-time) and a bigwig (the rest of the time).

Obviously, for any or all of this to happen you have to have some pretty serious skills, lots of drive, and plenty of training; that’s where your question 2 comes in. You shold probably consider acquiring an MBA (with an emphasis in the area where you plan to consult, if at all possible) and a Master’s in Computer Science, IT/Business, Information Sciences, or whathaveyou. If you are really ambitious you’ll also need to get these degrees from big-name, well-known and -respected colleges or universities. If there are serious technical certifications (CCIE, SAP Consultant, CISSP, and so forth) in your consulting domain, those will be helpful as well.

I hope I’ve answered your question, at least to some extent. Please feel free to post some follow-up questions, if you need more information from me.

–Ed Tittel (check me out at www.edtittel.com)–

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  • NetworkingATE
    [...] some interesting questions for me about an earlier (4/25/2008) IT Expert post of mine: “What’s the Highest Position in an IT Consulting Career Path?” Despite the economic travails in the meantime, it’s cheering to see that my post still [...]
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  • NetworkingATE
    [...] some interesting questions for me about an earlier (4/25/2008) IT Expert post of mine: “What’s the Highest Position in an IT Consulting Career Path?” Despite the economic travails in the meantime, it’s cheering to see that my post still [...]
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