Is contracting becoming more popular than permanent roles amongst IT professionals?By admin | Comments: 2 | September 29, 2016
To contract or not to contract, that is the real question, when I think of contracting some words and phrases come t o mind; freedom, new technology, different ways of working, learning curve and I could go on.
We all know a couple of types of people in the industry, on one hand you have your average Joes, they are permanent employees, probably know everything there is to know about their employers systems, sat in the same seat for years, enjoys talking to the receptionist about her holiday last week and they’re happy, they’re in their comfort zone and they’re their own king. On the other hand, you have the go-getters, the IT professionals that are hungry to learn, grow and adapt, if they sit in the same seat for too long they’re feet start dancing, moving to the door, they want more, they want difference.
Contracting isn’t a job, it’s a lifestyle, some people enjoy the freedom of experiencing new environments every 3-6-12 months whilst others don’t. The contracting market is a funny one, sometimes it’s up and sometimes it’s down, when we see the market up we see a flood of new IT contractors and when it’s down I find LinkedIn plagued with contractors looking for that new permanent role.
If we look at the roles available, we find that the more specific your skill set is, the easier it is to find contract work through the normal channels, though the broader your skill-set the more difficult it seems to be to find available roles. IT contracting is popular amongst the younger generation of IT professionals, for instance, they enjoy the freedom to learn lots, experience different IT departments and give them a good grounding for their future careers, not to mention the extra money. But they tend to fall into the category of ‘broad skill-set’ so for them, the first/second line support role is what they’re looking at. The older IT professionals are perhaps skilled in specifics, let’s take a SharePoint Developer, now they’re more likely to be contracting for different reason, more money, perhaps, but maybe more so because the SharePoint development market is a short term market – are companies permanently hiring a SharePoint Developer, when their SharePoint project is only 6-months?
I have been a contractor for the last two years, I’m a Service Management contractor, I fell into the contracting world, let’s say down on my luck with a permanent role and a contract role fell onto my desk, I’ve never looked back, but why, well, I enjoy the freedom, the ever changing landscape and enjoy helping multiple companies rather than one. I am the ‘broad skill-set’ contractor, but I’ve always used that to my advantage.
The short answer to the initial question is, yes it is becoming more popular though only with the right people. The younger fresh talent of the IT world are turning to contracting for the experience and the older for the short-term skills gaps in the market. IT contracting is a gamble, but if you’re great at what you do and are hungry for a challenge, then give it shot, you don’t know what you’ll find out there.