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The job of an Internet consultant can vary from day to day and project to project. The duties can also vary depending on the consultant's areas of expertise. For example, an Internet consultant specializing in creative work may design a Web site and help a company create a consistent visual message, while a consultant who is a "techie" may get involved with setting up the company's intranet or Internet connections. The entrepreneurial Internet consultant may help a business establish an online storefront and an online ordering and processing system. Some Internet consultants who have considerable business experience may work with CEOs or other company heads to analyze the company's current use of the Internet and determine what markets the company is reaching.
Some consultants work independently (running their own businesses) and are paid for their work by the hour; others may be paid by the project. Those who work for consulting firms may be salaried employees of the firm. Some businesses may require that the consultants be on-site; this means that they work on a particular project at the company's office for several days, weeks, or months. Many consultants work out of their home offices and only visit the company occasionally such as when meetings are necessary.
One of the first things a consultant may do on a new project for a company is to meet with its key players. During the meeting the consultant gathers information on the business and finds out what the company hopes to do through the Internet, getting a feel for the company and its business. Consultants may work with a company to develop their Web presence, or may simply analyze what they are currently doing and give them some tips to make Internet and networking connections more efficient. The consultant's work involves researching, analyzing information, and preparing reports based on his or her findings.
Internet consultants may also develop the entire Internet setup, including the hardware and software, for their client. The client may be a company that is upgrading its equipment or a company that has never had a presence on the Internet before. Some consultants also train company employees to monitor, maintain, and enhance their Web site.
Consultants who have business experience and business degrees, as well as some technical training, will be the most highly sought. Good consultants need a working knowledge of the business world as well as computer and technological expertise. The consultant with an understanding of business is able to offer clients more thorough service than the consultant who is only a computer whiz. Many consultants can put together a Web site for their clients, however, more companies are beginning to look for the consultant who can offer added value, such as business analysis or marketing skills that will enhance their business and its products and services.
Some people may use their computer skills to work as consultants in a sideline business or as a supplement to their part-time or full-time job.
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