So what is IT contracting in a nutshell?

04 Apr 2022

First of all a lot more goes in to being an IT contractor than simply setting up a company. IT contracting is all about delivering services and not specifically based on results. An IT contractor should offer their skills on demand to help their client do what’s most important for their business.

You could compare contracting to being like the backbone in today’s economy. As the backbone allows the body to bend and move to around its surroundings, contracting gives the economy the flexibility it needs to adapt to the changing environment, especially with the recent pandemic and travel restrictions from state to state and internationally.

Clients can get the skills they need, when they need them. This can help the client remove themselves from harsh financial burdens when they don’t require full time candidates. In the global economy where skills gaps are growing, talented individuals aren’t tied down and can share their expertise with multiple organisations, giving freedom which is especially helpful to the nomad lifestyle which has become more and more popular in the last few years. It makes for win-win all round.

So what is in it for you?

The company culture of the last century was partly defined by the ‘job for life’, where individuals entering the job market would stay at one company for their whole career, working their way up the corporate ladder. Giving job security, this is not how the world is changing in most areas.

A new generation of workers don’t want to work in the same place for a decade or longer, particularly millennials. People are looking to gain more experiences and work in international teams, which will often necessitate an increase in moving job to job or working multiple contracts and projects.

Becoming an IT contractor will give yourself the flexibility to choose when and where you work. You will almost certainly make more money than in a permanent role, as clients will be competing for your skills and aren’t confined by the same burdens they have when taking on permanent staff.

For clients to compete for your skills, you need to have something they want. To be a successful IT contractor, you need to work in an area of expertise that is in high demand or a great niche, and that a client organisation would struggle to recruit for in a permanent job. Why would they pay you more money to do a job that one of their current employees could do?

Speaking to an experienced recruitment professional is often the first step in working out if your skills are in demand in the market, and if becoming an IT contractor would be beneficial to you.

As an IT contractor, you can expect to make good money in a flexible working environment and sometimes remotely, depending on the role. On top of this, you will be developing your skills, knowledge, also expanding your network.

What’s the typical profile of an IT contractor?

You’ve got to have the skills that clients want. If it’s difficult for you to find permanent jobs, then you may struggle even more as a contractor. Make sure you have what the client needs.

Even if you are an experienced contractors, learning new skills and keeping up to date with the latest trends, software, legistlations etc is critical to success. Businesses needs to invest in its infrastructure, people and products, an IT contractor needs to continually invest in their own business (invest in yourself) to survive and grow. You do have more control over how you develop yourself and define your own career path which is a huge plus.

IT contractors need to implement the risk vs reward dynamic in their working lives, be able to handle pressure from clients, and have good social skills to quickly integrate themselves into new teams.

It shouldn’t be overlooked that you’ll need to be an adept salesperson if you’re calling up clients and pitching for business and developing leads. This is where growing your network from previous contracts will help generate work in the future. Working with an experienced recruiter can also help in this as we already have a large network of contacts and can take care of the difficult and time-consuming task of finding companies recruiting for your role/skills at the right time. You just need to turn up for the interview.

A top IT contractor has a strong entrepreneurial mindset; they’re willing to travel to where the work is, they’re business minded, they take care of their finances (tax, admin etc) and they create a ‘financial airbag’ for when they’re between projects. Some IT contractors even go on to own their own companies with a few employees, passing down their skills and knowledge.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in exploring, then you could be ready to move into the world of IT contracting.