Digital Consulting

The Rise of Digital Consulting Opportunities in 2024 and Beyond

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Depending on who you ask, the digital age began in the 1970s when the first personal computers hit the market. Or, it may have started circa 2002, when the world, for the first time, had the collective ability to store more data digitally than in analog resources. Either way, we are now in the thick of the digital age, which touches every aspect of how we live, work, and do business.

Consider, for example, the modern job search. You look for jobs online, can use a free download resume builder to create digital resumes and cover letters, make an online portfolio or website, and you don’t print them out and hand them in in person—no, you submit these important documents online as well. You might then be interviewed digitally using video conferencing tools. Later, if you land the job, you will probably do much of your work using a computer, whether in the office or while working remotely.

Many entrepreneurs have even molded this digital environment like pottery in their hands, creating their own roles and job opportunities out of the ether. Digital consulting is one example of this. Below, we will discuss what digital consultants do, their job prospects for this year and beyond, and even how the term itself is being modified by the ever-shifting tides of the digital world.

Vast Digital Consulting Opportunities Await

Do you have what it takes to be a digital consultant? Below, we’ll consider what digital consultants do and what you need to become one. We’ll also discuss why they’re in such high demand.

What Digital Consultants Do

A day in the life of a digital consultant—what is it like? Working environments and schedules differ greatly. Some digital consultants are hired full-time by large companies. They may work in-house, remotely, or have a hybrid schedule. More often, however, consultants are hired by client companies for a limited run. They may be self-employed or work for a digital consulting agency.

Finding the best consulting firm for startups can significantly impact a company’s success, as these firms offer specialized guidance tailored to young businesses. Whether through strategic planning or digital marketing, these firms play a crucial role in helping startups navigate their early stages.

Digital consultants also differ in the services they offer. Some are broad in their offerings, while others are more specialized. Some services may include but are not limited to:

  • Helping management outline their goals and identify digital tools to help reach those goals
  • Designing a website
  • Analyzing and updating a website to make it more user-friendly
  • SEO optimization
  • Setting up social media accounts
  • Creating a social media strategy that includes topics, tone of voice, hashtag suggestions, posting frequency, and optimal posting times
  • Setting up and/or managing email and text message marketing services
  • Setting up and/or managing online ad services
  • Managing projects
  • Analyzing and implementing cybersecurity measures
  • Providing digital leadership coaching

To perform these services, digital consultants need a strong IT, computer science, business, communication, and marketing background. Some migrate from adjacent fields such as journalism, graphic design, or economics.

More than two-thirds of digital consultants hold a bachelor’s degree, but since many consultants are self-employed, this is not a hard and fast rule. Many demonstrate their experience and abilities via a strong portfolio and LinkedIn profile.

Demonstrating ongoing training or lifelong learning is vital. Taking classes and gaining certifications is a great way to do this. Certifications in IT, blockchain, SEO, digital marketing, web design, social media, and coding will look great on your profile. Google data analytics certificates are in high demand.

Why Businesses Need Digital Consultants

A 2023 study by Springer accentuated the rise of communication through digital channels and tools since the Covid-19 pandemic, a trend which is unlikely to change. While more people are becoming familiar with these tools, not every business has an “expert” on the payroll. That’s where digital consultants come in.

Digital consultants help businesses bridge the “knowledge gap”—a divide that can become larger every day as new technologies are adopted and new tools come into common use. Most digital consultants are diverse in their knowledge—they can help their clients with many aspects of digital technology. The same consultant might help you set up a company-wide network with new software today and create funny and engaging social media content tomorrow.

Digital consultants also make their expertise available to small and medium-sized businesses. Because many digital consultants work as freelancers, their use is not limited to large corporations that can afford to take them on full-time. Business managers can hire consultants for a short time whenever they are needed, such as when the business is first establishing its digital presence, when the website needs an upgrade, or when digital performance begins to dwindle.

Digital Consulting Job Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, job growth for digital consultants—whether they specialize in marketing, cybersecurity, or something in between—is above average, anywhere from 6 to 32 percent growth. This is good news for job-seekers, as more available positions equals less competition during the hiring process.

Entry-level digital consultants can expect to make about $70,000 annually, with the top 10 percent of consultants maxing out at around $120,000 per year. The average salary is about $44 per hour. Those living and working in tech industry hotspots maintain the highest average salaries.

As mentioned above, many digital consultants work remotely, either as full-time freelancers or part-time as part of the gig economy or as a side hustle. But those working full-time for an agency or a single business may enjoy the highest salaries. Enterprise-level consulting agencies may charge upwards of $850 per hour—a portion of which remains with the business, of course.

A New Meaning to the Term Digital Consultant

As discussed above, businesses seeking a digital consultant are generally looking for a consultant who can assist in using data, technology, and digital tools. However, the meaning of the term “digital consultant” is evolving as rapidly as technology itself.

Consultants in any field who work remotely, accessing their clients through digital tools, could be termed digital consultants. For example, a museum curator might search for a digital consultant who is an expert in paleontology to review the museum’s fossil displays. Or a restaurateur might hire a digital consultant who lives and works in a foreign land to help with the interior design of a new themed restaurant. Environmental consultants help businesses envision and implement eco-friendly practices. Even a travel advisor who works with clients remotely could describe themselves as a digital travel consultant.

These are just a few examples, but it is easy to see how an expert in virtually any field who consults remotely could be termed a digital consultant. This further opens the door to more opportunities in the coming years. Consider, what expertise do you hold that other businesses might benefit from?

Key Takeaways

The digital age heralded the creation of many new types of jobs, including digital consultants. These professionals help businesses navigate ever-changing business and marketing technologies to thrive in a digitally driven economy.

Digital consultants are in high demand because so much “action” in business takes place digitally. Higher than average job growth is expected, and salaries can exceed six figures for full-time employees or self-employed entrepreneurs.

In the future, remote consultants from more diverse fields will likely fall under the title of digital consulting.



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