IT Contractor Ability
So where do you sit on the 5 Levels of IT Contractor Ability scale?
Contractor ability Level 1 – The Beginner
You are at the start of your contracting career and you are taken on as a IT Contractor on a large team during a boom in IT Contracting.
Either that or you became an IT Contractor because you didn‘t make it as a permie. You may have been at your first site for many years and had not had a whiff of promotion.
As long as the market is good you will have no problem in getting work.
However, when companies are cutting back on staff or a downturn is approaching you will be one of the first to go.
In good times you will be able to get work easily enough elsewhere. In bad times you will spend long periods of time on the bench.
Your contracts tend to be short and you don‘t often get a renewal.
You would have to live in one of the major cities. If not, prepare yourself to travel all over the country, to make a career in Computer Contracting.
Many Level 1 IT Contractors disappear from the profession during a severe downturn. Either that or they must to take a permanent job several levels below where someone of their age should be in a company.
The skillset of a Level 1 contractor tends to be out of date.
Advice – If you are a new contractor keep going. If you are one of the others then save hard. You will need to have something put by for the rainy days that are coming.
There is a very good chance that you‘ll have tax problems and your company could go under.
Contractor Ability Level 2 – The Extra Body
You are usually an extra body on Project Teams that are looking for multiple contractors. You seldom pass interviews where there are multiple candidates for the one position.
However, you are decent enough. You are able to make a career out of IT Contracting, albeit with spells on the bench most years.
Sometimes you get a renewal and sometimes you don‘t. This will depend on if they are keeping their contractor numbers the same on the project or cutting back.
You are usually able to get contracts in a one and a half hour radius where you live, However, sometimes you have to take the occasional contract away from home.
Your skillset is reasonably good and you tend to have mass market skills.
Advice – You can have a good long career as an IT Contractor. That’s as long as you realise that you will not usually be earning 50 times your weekly rate on an annual basis.
You are likely to be working 35 to 45 weeks in a normal year and less in a downturn.
However, you need to put your money away and not become a spend, spend, spend contractor.
You are going to have some problems at various stages with the HMRC as you will spend the money you have put aside for them during your periods out.
Get a good Accountant!
You may start to struggle once you get into your 40s or 50s if you stay at the bottom level.
Contractor Ability Level 3 – Continuous Worker
You have a good skill set and you often pass interviews where there are multiple candidates for just one position.
On a project you will be one of the better contractors. So, you will tend to get your contract renewed.
You would normally have quite long contracts. You would normally only not get renewed when the IT Project is over or when they are getting rid of all of their contractors.
Advice – You should have a good career as an IT Contractor and should be able to earn enough money to have a good lifestyle and may well be able to get out of the game in your 40s or 50s.
You won‘t be pushed out because of your age, though, as you will probably be getting more senior contracts by then.
Contractor Ability Level 4 – The Expert
You are hired for your expertise and the other contractors, permanent employees and IT and User Management consider you to be a bit of a guru and you are the one that they would normally come to when there is a problem.
Also, you may spend years at a particular site and are considered too valuable to let go.
You have been asked several times if you would take a permanent job at the company but have always turned them down.
You are on the best rate of any contractor on the site.
Advice – Make sure that you invest your money wisely. Too many contractors put their money into the Stock Market just as it is nearing its peak and can lose vast amounts of their hard earned money.
Property is probably a better and safer investment.
Barring that you should be able to earn a whole pile of money during your career and may be able to get out (if you wish) in your 30s or 40s.
You can stay on till any age you like though.
Contractor Ability Level 5 – The Consultant
As an IT Consultant, you have an expertise in a particular area and you may well have multiple clients. Either that or you are a high level contract IT manager or are the Project Manager of their mission critical Project.
You command a huge rate but are well worth it to the companies that use you. You will be getting paid far more than even the top managers at the company but even they see that you are worth it.
If you have multiple clients you may even have other contractors or permanent employees who do work for you at one or more sites.
You are able to talk to your client company as an equal and they probably need you more than you need them.
Even if you are the Project Manager of their mission critical project you will still have arranged to have one day off a week when you can service your other clients.
You really have arrived as a contractor and you will be one of the few who have actually become rich just through IT Contracting.
Advice – You don’t need any from me.
So, where do you sit in the levels of IT Contractor?
Don’t worry if you are not at levels 4 or 5 – most of us aren’t – but you can aspire to it.
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