The Dallas-Fort Worth area has one of the largest concentrations of corporate headquarters in the country, including 20 Fortune 500 companies. With both large and small organizations relying on computers to conduct business, the demand for workers specializing in I.T. has never been greater.

Companies who want to incorporate information technology in an efficient manner need to utilize the expertise of I.T. consultants, or I.T. systems managers, who analyze and implement a company’s computer needs best in order to meet its business objectives. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer and information systems managers will see a job growth of 18 percent over the next seven years as more organizations upgrade and integrate newer technologies in order to keep a competitive edge. The pay isn’t too bad either, with annual salaries averaging at around $115,000.

Alex McGregor, business advisory services associate, Grant Thornton LLP (photo courtesy of Alex McGregor)

Alex McGregor, business advisory services associate, Grant Thornton LLP (photo courtesy of Alex McGregor)

After a summer internship in August of 2012, Alex McGregor was hired on as a business advisory services associate for Grant Thornton LLP, a global accounting and business advisory organization. McGregor’s position entails a variety of I.T. consulting services, including I.T. auditing, compliance work, penetration testing and project management.

Why did you decide to go into I.T. consulting?

“Think of consulting like a sandbox. I’m not entirely sure what industry I want to specialize in yet, so consulting was the obvious choice. Because we serve many companies in various industries, I have new projects all the time and learn how all sorts of different companies work in different industries.”

What is your educational background and how did it prepare you for this role?

“I have an undergraduate degree from Southern Methodist University in communications, with a minor in business, and received my master of science in I.T. management from the University of Texas at Dallas last August. The communication degree has been helpful in communicating the scope I.T. processes to our clients. However, the master of science is arguably the most helpful.

“The area of study was mostly in enterprise systems. So, when I graduated, I had a very good understanding of enterprise resource planning systems, accounting information systems, customer relationship management systems and the fundamentals of programming. On several occasions, I have written visual basic scripts to save valuable time on projects. I also have a good foundation in business intelligence, which helps in the area of big data, a hot topic in the consulting industry and one that my company is committed to grow.”

Do you have any advice for someone interested in entering the I.T. field?

“There’s a lot of growth in I.T. and it makes sense to pursue a career in I.T. consulting. Big data is growing aggressively, as is mobile space. So developing mobile applications and taking courses in [the programming language] SQL in conjunction with an analytical curriculum is a good idea. I highly recommend that when you learn something like a programming language, go out and make something interesting with it. It shows passion and interest in the tech world and employers love that.”

Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at