A vast work force in need of up-to-date computer skills, companies adopting new technologies to do more with fewer employees, and a seemingly endless supply of new and updated software programs--put it all together, and it's no wonder computer training and consulting companies have a full plate.
Still, industry insiders say it's the Internet that's spurring much of the growth in these two fields, with corporate and consumer training on using the Internet leading this growth area. Opportunities for consultants to establish and manage Web sites and corporate Intranets are also ripe, says Sharon Marsh Roberts, vice president of the Independent Computer Consultants Association.
According to Framingham, Massachusetts-based International Data Corp. (IDC), a technology research firm, revenues in the worldwide technology training and education market are expected to exceed $27 billion in 2000. Likewise, IDC predicts the information technology consulting industry will reach $18.5 billion by 2000.
The challenge for computer consultants and trainers is competition. A strong commitment to marketing, adequate capitalization, extensive networking and systems to handle irregular cash flow cycles are all key to a computer consultant's survival, says Roberts.
Another important aspect is offering diverse training methods. "It's important to keep up with the trends in technology education to provide quicker, more efficient service," insists Deborah J. Clifford, co-owner of Bloomfield, Connecticut-based HBM Technology Group, an information and business technology solutions company, that offers classroom instruction, on-site training, a multimedia learning lab and CD-ROMs.
With no end in sight to the new and updated products that hit store shelves each year, computer training and consulting businesses appear poised for rapid growth.