With the demand for technological solutions rising, so too is the demand for experienced IT professionals. While the need for specialists to work in full-time positions is growing, employers are also looking for tech consultants and contract-based employees as well. Why? This strategy provides employers with the flexibility they need to adapt to evolving project requirements, assess long term fit, and address various project phases that require different skillsets. As a result, tech professionals who pursue these opportunities are in a unique position to explore new employers, while building on their experience.
However, those unfamiliar with contract and consultant-based work might have some apprehension before pursuing these opportunities. “When we discuss potential contract and consulting roles with job seekers, they sometimes present concerns about making the transition,” says John Carey, a Director at ES Technology, a division of The Execu|Search Group. “When you don’t know what to expect, it can be easy to believe unfounded claims about these types of roles.”
Looking to separate fact from fiction when it comes to IT consultant work? Start here:
Myth 1: Steady work is not an option
When professionals hear the words “temp” or “contract employee,” they might be discouraged by the finite nature of the role. However, contract-based roles do sometimes provide professionals with opportunities to continue work past their original project. “While this is a normal concern, many employers will find ways to keep contractors they really like on staff,” says John. “Whether that’s building on the current project or shifting your focus to something new, there is a strong chance you’ll get to extend your time with the company.” Should your time with your employer end when your original project ends, there are plenty of new opportunities to move onto.
Myth 2: As a temp, I’ll be treated differently
When taking on a temp assignment for the first time, you may be nervous you won’t be as respected as others by colleagues and managers. However, that couldn’t be farther from the truth. “An IT contractor is expected to produce the same level of work as their full-time counterparts,” explains John. “As a result, you are going to be provided with all the tools you need for success. This includes technology and access to leadership.” Additionally, IT contractors are usually entitled to the same perks as full-time employees, and employers do put in the extra effort to make them feel like a welcomed part of the team.
Myth 3: Contract roles are short and have a set end time
“When people hear the term ‘contract role,’ they have a tendency to get nervous because they believe that they’ll have to restart their search in a couple of weeks,” says John. “However, contract roles can last between 3 months to multiple years. As a result, you do have a good chance of being with one employer for a considerable amount of time.” To explore this path, talk with your supervisor or the hiring manager to see how you fit into their timeline of work. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask about future opportunities!
Myth 4: It will be difficult to transition into a permanent role
You may be hesitant to make the transition to temp or consulting work due to a fear of becoming less marketable for full-time opportunities. However, working as a contractor can make you more attractive as a candidate for a full-time role. “Contract work can actually provide a ton of career benefits,” explains John. “Not only does it allow you to diversify your skills, but it also shows employers that you can quickly adapt to new environments and make an impact on the organization.” In other words, listing temp roles on your resume can increase your chances of landing a longer-term opportunity down the line. In some cases, a temp role can even become a full-time position if you impress the employer, and they determine that you are a great long-term fit!