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Computing Consultant

Department: Information Systems and Technology Effective Date: February 16 2001
Grade: USG 9-13 Reports to:

General Accountability

Computing consultants report to the Group Director, IST Client Services. They are responsible for supporting ongoing transformations in the electronic work environment of the University knowledge worker. They do this by understanding information needs and processes and the technologies that can be deployed to affect these transformations. They track trends in information technologies and evaluate, select and participate in their deployment. Finally, they provide training and support for these technologies in the academic, research and support units across campus. Consultants are familiar with, comply with, and at all times promote the University's policies and its directives related to information systems and technology.

Nature and Scope

With a knowledge of information technologies and the work environment, Consultants play a key role in achieving transformations in the teaching and learning, research and academic support activities of the University.

Assessment, Tracking and Deployment


Support Activities


Statistical Data

Specific Accountabilities

A University degree or equivalent is required in a program closely related to information technologies. The core skill requirements of consultants include knowledge of a broad range of technologies as well as problem solving, communications and organizational skill. Career paths allow consultants to develop the depth and breadth of their technical and non-technical skills and apply these skills in increasing areas of responsibilities.

Core Competencies

Consultants develop and maintain:

  1. Technical Expertise
    • An understanding of emerging technologies and their possible deployment within the University.
    • General knowledge of computer hardware including desktop and network servers. Awareness of capabilities and limitations of various configurations.
    • Knowledge of network connectivity, integration and protocols.
    • Knowledge of software development theories, methodologies and standards.
    • Knowledge of the supported electronic desktop operating systems (MacOS, UNIX, MS Windows) and protocols.
    • Knowledge of the standard electronic desktop applications suite: mailers, web tools, meeting schedulers, word processors, presentation tools, electronic spreadsheets.
    • Depending on their academic background, interests and assigned responsibilities, consultants may specialize in a broad support area, such as:
      • scientific and mathematical computation including, for example: numerical and symbolic computation, scientific document composition, scientific graphics and imaging;
      • statistical Data Analysis and Decision Support including, for example: Statistical packages, data base query languages (SQL) and packages, decision support;
      • office automation including, the integration and scripting of office application suites and data management tools.
      • Web development, including: web page creation software, web site management tools , web graphics development tools, web development scripting (Perl scripting and Java scripting), multi-media and animation development, web interfaces to databases, the use of these tools for creating CDs as an adjunct or alternative to web sites
      • other specializations as defined by the requirements of client support area.
  2. Requirements Analysis and Consultation
    • Understanding of the nature of work and the requirements of the information worker in the various areas across campus.
    • Ability to identify, assess and recommend technologies applicable to these requirements and communicate needs to pursue those opportunities.
  3. Problem Solving
    • Ability to apply knowledge of the broad range of the above technologies to achieving effective solutions.
  4. Communications and Teaching
    • Ability to assess training requirements and provide appropriate training options to meet these requirements.
    • Ability to understand and communicate complex technical concepts in ways that are appropriate to the requirements of the information technology client or group (oral/written, one-on-one/group presentations).
    • Ability to develop and deliver skill-development courses on the use of information technologies.
  5. Organizational Skills
    • Ability to participate in and take a leadership role in projects that enhance or transform information technologies.
    • Ability to effectively organize support for client or application areas.
    • Ability in the planning activities of organizational units across campus communicates requirements and solutions.

Career Paths

    The following descriptions make reference to levels of expertise: foundation, proficiency, in-depth and expert. These levels are defined in the IST Career Paths Competencies Table.

    In some cases, with the approval of their manager, Consultants may be required to focus their technical skill development in either the electronic desktops or specialized application support. In these circumstances, skills in the focus area that exceed the requirements at a particular level may be used to compensate for skills that do not meet the requirements in the other areas.

    Consultants in Client Services share a career path with Application Specialists in the Electronic Workplace group but with a different focus. The primary focus of Consultants is on the particular requirements of their "service area", usually characterized by a major client group (e.g. a faculty) or a type of service (e.g. training). As a secondary focus, Consultants also provide support for a specialized application area (e.g. mathematical and scientific computing). In contrast, the primary focus on Application Specialists in on a specialized application area.

    The career paths for consultants is cumulative, with each level building on the previous requirement. Consultants are expected to develop their skills to at least the level of a USG 11. Advancements to higher levels are in recognition of ability, skills that demonstrate for both depth and breadth in a range of technologies, increasing levels of experience and responsibility.

    USG 9

    An entry level position, staff participate in the full range of consulting and teaching activities while developing expertise in the core areas.

    Accountability and Impact

    at the foundation level, contributes to provision of service and have generally responsible for their own work;

    work independently on assigned responsibilities within a "service area".

    Technical Expertise

    Staff would be expected to develop and demonstrate foundation level knowledge and skills in the following:

    understanding of computer hardware, its basic components and their capabilities and limitations;

    understanding of networking concepts and the operation of the campus network;

    knowledge of the supported desktop computing environments: Windows, MacOS, Unix and issues related to the trouble shooting, configuration and support of these environments;

    knowledge of the standard electronic desktop applications

    Problem Solving

    developing a base of known problem solving techniques and solutions

    Communications and Teaching

    ability to communicate with clarity and effectivenes in consulting, writing technical documentation and teaching skill development training seminars.

    USG 10

    An experienced, competent, professional, staff participate in the development and support of a "service" area.

    Accountability and Impact

    at the proficient level, would require only general direction

    work would have an impact with a large group of clients in an assigned service area.

    Technical Expertise

    foundation level software development skills to advise clients about appropriate tools, to assist and advise in debugging, and to develop simple programs and scripts;

    proficiency in two of the supported desktop computing environments;

    proficiency in the standard electronic desktop applications, maintains an awareness of trends in desktop tools and techniques;

    proficiency in a specialized application support area.

    Problem Solving

    proficiency in problem solving with the ability to apply a broader range of knowledge to the solution of more complex, non-routine problems.

    Communications and Teaching

    proficiency in communications in order to provide effective consulting assistance in a broader range of problems;

    proficiency in teaching, with the ability to develop and deliver introductory/intermediate courses.

    Organizational Skills

    proficiency in organizational skills would be required in order to participate in, and assume more responsibility for the organization and planning for new services and initiatives.

    USG 11

    This senior level position has a demonstrated track record of successes and in-depth knowledge of a range of supported technologies. This level would only be achieved after a significant number of years of experience and with demonstrated competence in a leadership role.

    Accountability and Impact

    At the in-depth level, staff assume responsibility for a service area and may provide direction to other staff.

    Impact would be significant for a major client group (e.g. a faculty)

    Technical Expertise

    proficiency in hardware and networks with the ability to specify base system configurations to meet client requirements;

    in-depth knowledge and experience with the relevant desktop computing environment with the ability to track and make recommendations for improvements to supported environment;

    in-depth knowledge of a specialized application area with the ability to tracks and take responsibility for implementing improvements in application area.

    Requirements Analysis and Consultation

    maintains an in-depth awareness of how information technologies are used in assigned service area;

    assesses requirements of users

    Problem Solving

    in-depth problem solving skills would be required to tackle complex, non-routine problems in a wide range of supported technologies;

    Communications and Teaching

    in-depth communications skills with the ability to effectively communicate with individuals and groups; is persuasive, uses compelling arguments.

    excellent writing skills, required for the development of papers, reports and documentation with a campus-wide audience.

    advanced skills in course development and delivery.

    Organizational Skills

    participates in information technology planning sessions in assigned service area;

    participates in projects that may significantly change the computing environment of area;

    provides a linkage between service area and IST; identifying requirements, communicating changes.

    USG 12

    Highly skilled with a consistent record demonstrating excellent judgement. Staff would be required to demonstrate:

    Accountability and Impact

    At the in-depth level, staff assume responsibility for one or more service areas and take a leadership role in their ongoing development.

    Impact is generally University wide, with participation in the development and implementation of strategies that significantly contribute to the improvement of campus services.

    Technical Expertise

    proficiency in software development, for example, to enable the development of perl or java scripts, or the development of macros or scripts in the scripting language of a supported software technology;

    expert knowledge of a specialized application support area with responsibility for tracking, assessing and making recommendations for the ongoing evolution of their area of specialization.

    Requirements Analysis and Consultation

    applies knowledge of trends in technology to make recommendations for the ongoing evolution of the electronic workplace.

    Communications and Teaching

    expert communication skills, written and verbal, in negotiating and building cooperation to achieve objectives;

    an expert teacher with highly developed skills in developing courses.

    Organizational Skills

    expert organization, planning and leadership skills would be required in order to assume responsibility over service areas.

    takes a leadership role in projects that significantly change workplace technologies.

    may be assigned to provide guidance in various projects and committees and take an "expert" leadership role in projects.

    USG 13

    Highly skilled professionals, widely recognized for skills and responsibilities in their area of specialization. Individuals at this level have a demonstrated track record of successes with in-depth and expert level knowledge of a number of areas.

    Accountability and Impact

    At the expert level, staff provide campus-wide leadership. This professional has assumed a major role in the planning and provisioning of services of training and support services for the University.

    Depending upon the assignment, they may also have direct responsibility for assigning tasks and monitoring progress of more junior staff

    Staff are responsible for multiple service areas and take a campus wide role in developing these areas.

    Technical Expertise

    is a recognized expert and has primary responsibility for supporting the appropriate desktop computing environment and applications as well as in the specialized applications support area; tracks and assess the potential impact of changes in technology.

    Problem Solving

    has expert problem solving skills to be able to tackle the non-routine, complex issues that may arise through a complex interaction of hardware, networks, operating systems and applications that often require novel and unique solutions to uncharted problems.

    Communications and Teaching

    has expert communications skills with responsibilities for representing IST on University projects or committees.

    takes a leadership role in the evolution of training programs for the University.

    Organizational Skills

    has expert organization skills, with the ability to manage multiple service or support areas;

    has expert leadership and planning skills, in order to provide campus-wide direction in the development of training and support services.

    participates in the formulation of proposals that impact the universities support for information technology;

    demonstrates expert accountability by assuming primary responsibility for a strategic training or support function for the University.  

Working Conditions