Should You Take a Contract Position?

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Imagine yourself in this scenario: Your phone keeps ringing with calls from recruiters telling you about new contract opportunities, but because you've previously worked in full-time roles, you turn them down. Until one day you get a call that checks off all of the boxes - say, working in a particular industry with brand-new technologies on a sizable project. You want to learn more, until you find out that it's a contract position. What do you do?

This may be uncharted territory for you, but you may have friends and colleagues who work as professional contractors, and they seem quite happy. So you think to yourself, why not? While there may be certain factors to consider depending on your situation, chances are that the rewards of trying something new may far outweigh the risk of not exploring contracting at all.

First, there may be an exciting opportunity to work in a challenging and leading edge environment you would otherwise be passing up by not considering a contract. This can result in long-term career growth and getting well-known companies onto your resume. Living in a large city like Los Angeles affords tech staffing agencies the option to work with amazing companies in the entertainment industry, insurance, finance, auto, and many mid-sized business that don’t exist in much of America. These industries utilize contractors to fulfill the work that their full-time employees are unable to accomplish, either because of a lack of skills or a lack of time. This can range from a short-term project to the possibility of several years of work.

Depending on your situation it may also be more profitable for you to take an hourly contracting position than a full-time opportunity. You may ask how this is possible, as you are aware that as a contractor you may be without benefits for a period of time and you may be looking for a new job in six months. The rate you receive as a contractor and the possibility of overtime may outweigh this worry for you as you are paid for every hour you work and contracting also increases your marketability for that next opportunity in a full-time role. It may be a little scary to consider not receiving a full-time salary, but the hourly rate you would receive should mitigate that worry and further your long term career potential. In addition, many tech staffing and recruiting firms such as Technical Connections offer health insurance to contractors.

Another factor to consider is the possibility of doing such great work that the company would not want you to leave at the end of the contract period, or that they may offer you a contract-to-hire opportunity from the start.  This gives you the chance to test the culture and long-term possibilities with the company without having to make a firm commitment right from the start. Also, at the end of the contract you may have been contacted about a new opportunity you want to explore and are ready to take on that next challenge. Being a contractor - whether it’s short-term or not - gives you the flexibility to gain new experience and further your career growth.

As the market in IT becomes more competitive and good employees become scarcer, the opportunities in contracting will increase further. Every individual has a different set of circumstances when considering a contract position, but to not consider one at all may potentially keep you from experiencing great satisfaction in your technical career.

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