Life as an IT contractor

Independence, job variability, earning potential, skills development. But is it worth it?

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In some cases, contingent work can lead to a permanent position. A short-term assignment can be viewed as a trial period for both parties. Hiring managers can use the assignment time to evaluate how a temporary contractor might fit in as full-time employee, and the contractor can evaluate if a company is one he or she would like to join full-time.

Contract-to-hire has become a popular option for IT departments, said Jack Cullen, president of IT staffing and recruiting firm Modis. “The option of evaluating talent over a longer period of time has proven beneficial for many companies,” Cullen said. “Companies that take this creative hiring route benefit by maintaining their project deadlines while evaluating a potential employee over a period of time rather than taking a gamble on a person over the course of the interview process.”

For IT workers, contracting is “a good route to go if you’re trying to test out a new area or field of expertise,” Nath agrees. “It’s a good way to test the waters.”

For techies who are curious, entrepreneurial and enjoy variability, the push to acquire new skills comes naturally. “I love difficult jobs, jobs that are really technically complex. I love a good challenge. That’s just my nature,” Bass said.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to include current data from staffing firms related to the 2017 job market for IT contractors, including corporate hiring plans, the number of available jobs, and average contract rates. Statements from IT contractors have not been altered from the original version of this story, published in 2014.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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