Do you ever get tired of the same old hassles at your job? Had it with “Smarty Marty” in the cubicle on the corner and his endless lectures on the virtues of UNIX? Does the thought of chasing your team leader down the career path to retirement make you want to sob uncontrollably? It doesn’t have to be that way, you know. Perhaps leaving your job to become a career IT contractor is just what the doctor ordered. This article provides information you can use to weigh that decision.
What is contract work?
Contract work can be defined as simply an agreement to perform a task for a certain rate of pay. The contractor is usually either acting independently or is working through an agency. In the case of IT professionals, a contract could be established to, say, build a database, install some software, or participate in a battery of testing. The project variety is endless. Most IT contracts are for projects that last anywhere from two hours to two years or more.
Is there a need?
Why would a company want to hire a contractor? Well, for one thing, many IT endeavors involve project work requiring a task with a definite end point. Let’s say, for instance, XYZIndustries wants to install, customize, and test a large database. It may not be wise for XYZ to hire a permanent staff of IT professionals for a job like this. What happens when the work is completed a few months later? Does it simply lay off its employees? That is a PR nightmare. But if contractors are brought in to do the work, they simply leave XYZ when the contract is fulfilled. No hassles.
With a little imagination, the advantages to being a contract employee over a traditional permanent employee become clear. I will list a few to get you in the right frame of mind:
Sound too good to be true? Well, before I start to sound like a full-blown pitchman for contract work, let me say that contracting is definitely not for the timid. There are some downsides that must be considered carefully before quitting your current job for the life of a contractor. Here are a few drawbacks to contracting:
The decision is yours
As you can see, contract work is not for everyone. The rewards can be great, but the risks can be considerable. It is a lifestyle change as much as a career change.
If, after giving it some thought, contracting sounds interesting to you, my upcoming articles will help you chart your course. I'll help you conduct some important research before committing to this career change. I will also discuss some common misconceptions and pitfalls so that you'll be able to sidestep problems and maximize your experience.