Tracing My Career Path as An IT Contractor
Once I complete my college education, I plan to seek a career opportunity as an IT contractor. This decision stems from my observation and detailed research of the fast pace with which the IT world is creating lucrative job opportunities for contingent workers. For example, a recent report by TEKsystems indicates that 26 percent of managers in the IT sector was projected to increase the headcount of contingent professionals during the last six months of 2017 (Bednarz). As an IT contractor, I intend to contribute niche skills to various teams, secure my financial security through savings and investments, and be part of a network of professionals with valuable insights for the future.
In the words of Jason Hayman, a TEKsystems’ manager in market research, “the current environment for IT workers is one of opportunity, as unemployment remains low and demand continues to rise” (Bednarz). At a time when unemployment is on the rise in many industries, Hayman’s analysis is of great motivation for me as I look forward to filling a gap in the provision of IT skills to the industry players who often prefer contractors.
In order to maximize my opportunities for growth in the IT profession, I will avoid complex projects in the early stages of my career and progress gradually as I gain more experience. Although I expect to enhance my IT skills and knowledge through rigorous training and working with those with established careers in the field, I will choose contract rates and projects that will allow me to grow at my own pace. Moreover, contractors enjoy great flexibility in terms of their choice of work, the companies they work for, and what they consider as reasonable compensation (Keeble). Therefore, I will maximize this flexibility to ensure that I deliver the highest standards of service as I become more marketable among the clients.
According to Ken Rubin, an IT consultant at High Road Data in Orange County, “I like the freedom and flexibility to set my own schedule” (Bednarz). Indeed, this is one of the most attractive aspects of working as a contractor. However, there is no job security, paid vacations, and retirement benefits that one should expect to enjoy as full-time employees do. In this regard, I will secure my financial stability by having a culture of saving and investing my income in different long-term ventures such as real estate and government bonds.
As an IT contractor, I expect to make earnings of between $60 and $80 per hour. Despite such an attractive package, the workflow is not guaranteed because companies seek the services of contractors depending on workloads, the urgency of a project, and the need to get key expertise or skills. Therefore, I will develop personal discipline when it comes to the management of my income because I will be responsible for my healthcare needs, payment of taxes, vacations, and financial security after retirement. These are huge responsibilities that I intend to prioritize so that I can get maximum benefits from my profession.
Working as an IT contractor will also require a strong initiative for personal and professional growth because there is no employer to organize training programs, seminars, or workshops on my behalf. Furthermore, I will be my own boss. Therefore, I will take advantage of the flexible working hours to not only market myself to potential clients, but also enroll for further studies or improvement courses whenever necessary. By so doing, I will tap into the current IT knowledge and opportunities since my choice for further training will be informed by a strict analysis of the skills that I need to progress in my career. In other words, I will expand my knowledge based on the relevance and the potential to improve service delivery to clients.
In order to be fully committed to professional excellence and to maintain the momentum of continuous improvement, I will be part of a network of professionals with similar interests. Moreover, the IT profession is highly dynamic and one must be a team player in order to overcome the challenges of this profession, especially when working as a contractor. Without being part of a team of professions, career progression can be much slower because contracting depends a lot on knowing people and establishing good relationships with them.
One of the most important benefits that I shall derive from being part of a network of professionals is the opportunity to market myself. It is important to appreciate that I may not be trained in marketing by the time I begin my career as an IT contractor. Even when I eventually get this training, I will still need the business network because that is where professionals meet, discuss, and learn how to grow as a team through referrals. Therefore, I will prioritize my membership to the appropriate group of IT professionals so as to increase my prospects for contracts. At the same time, I will seek to develop my own marketing skills by enrolling for the relevant training in IT contractor marketing.