In  IT

Should you make the jump and become an IT contractor?

By admin | Comments: 0 | December 16, 2016

Deciding if you want to take a leap and become an IT contractor is a big decision and not one you should take lightly.

You may have had your head turned by the astronomical amounts some IT contractors earn. Maybe you want to have the freedom to pick and choose from all the available IT contractors jobs you see online.

Whatever the reason for you deciding to become a contractor, there are a few things you need to know before you can make the jump.

Job availability

The first thing you need to do is check the availability of jobs in your area. The fact is most contract jobs are concentrated in major cities. So if you live a long way from London or Birmingham, you might find contract jobs hard to come by. And if you find one, you might not find another. So check the local market for contract jobs and if there aren’t too many, you may need to consider moving closer to a major city.

Skills required

Now you need to make sure your skills match up. Being a contractor isn’t like working for a salary. Most contract positions are to make up for skills the company does not have in-house, so you’re going to have to hit the ground running. Contracting is not a place to learn on the job.

As a contractor, you will also be responsible for keeping your skills up to date. So make sure you factor in training costs when you look at that astronomical daily rate. That includes the time you spend studying for certifications.

Is the job seasonal?

As an IT contractor, you shouldn’t have to worry about seasonal work too much. But be aware that most contracts are awarded in the spring and summer and there is a lull in the winter months. This is something to think about if your contract is due to end in November.

What’s your financial position?

Before you become a contractor, you should consider the financial implications. Yes, you may earn a good daily rate as a PHP contractor, but there may also be times you are out of work.

So make sure you have enough savings to cover your expenses for at least three, and preferably six months.

Are you good at networking?

We don’t mean Cisco, we mean good old fashioned networking. You know, talking to people. If you are the shy type, you may find contracting more stressful.

As a contractor you always need to be keeping an eye out for the next job, so the better your networking skills, the easier you’ll find work. Even if you make use of an agent.

Also bear in mind that contractors attend job interviews far more often than permies. Sometimes they can attend interviews every three months. So if you’re the sort who gets stressed out at the thought of an interview, life as a contractor may not be for you.

On the other hand, being a contractor gives you the freedom to choose the work you want to do. Plus you’ll meet lots of interesting people along the way.

Best of luck!

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