Monday, April 30, 2007

Database Consultant
  • Start-up cost: RM5,000-RM13,000
  • Potential earnings: RM40,000-RM100,000
  • Typical fees: RM100+ per hour
  • Advertising: Referrals, publications, trade journal advertising
  • Qualifications: A high level of skill in database management and analysis, possible programming skills, awareness of business information needs, excellent communication skills, project management skills
  • Equipment needed: High-end computer, database software, modem, printer, fax, office furniture, business card, letterhead, envelopes
  • Staff required: No
  • Handicapped opportunity: Yes
  • Hidden costs: Business insurance, need to incorporate to protect your assets against risk, updates on software, training to keep up with developments in field
  • Lowdown: Companies develop databases to perform a wide range of essential functions; they need information that cross-references their data to make critical decisions and develop corporate strategies. An effective database can reveal all kinds of vital information. For example, an organization can effectively use a database to garner interesting information about its customers, such as what they purchase by mail, what time of year, week, or day they call to place an order, what sizes and quality selections they make, and the types of mailings they find most appealing. If you have the knowledge to create a database system that will present the needed information correctly, efficiently, and accurately, you can sell your services for a very high hourly rate. It may be your responsibility to write the program yourself or you may recommend other programmers—or you may supervise the customization of existing software.
  • Start-Up: You will need computer equipment to support your work, even though much of your time will be spent at client companies. This could run you in the neighborhood of RM5, 000 or more, since you’ll need a powerful computer that can handle and manipulate huge amounts of data. But, since you’ll charge at least RM100 per hour for your services, you should be able to see a profit in a short period of time.
  • Bottom-Line Advice: This is an enormously challenging business for people who love working at a high level with abstract ideas. Central to your success will be your ability to understand what information your clients really need. This involves learning in detail how the business operates and having the imagination to realize what a database could do to support that mission, now and in the future. The downside is the size and length of each database project. Some of these people have different agendas and may not share your commitment to making the database work effectively.

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