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Getting Started as an IT Contractor
Date: Thursday 12 October 2023
Employers are increasingly turning to IT Contractors to enable them to adapt to the rapid changes that are happening in every sector of the economy at present. Contract roles involve things like assisting with Project Managers, Developers, DevOps Engineers, and Customer Support Engineers. While IT professionals often wonder if they are suited to working independently and, if so, how they should go about setting themselves up as an IT contractor.
You can set yourself up as a limited company or join an umbrella company which acts as an employer for contractors. If starting out as a contractor, then it may be better joining an umbrella company which acts as an employer for contractors as they will have a backend accountancy function to take care of your taxes like a direct employee while you find your feet in the contracting world.
If you decide to set up a limited company, you will need to register the company, open a business bank account, organise insurance, and get your tax in order. Usually, it is a good to engage an accountant to help you with this.
IT contracting can be an excellent choice if you value your independence, want a particular type of lifestyle, and have the confidence to be self-employed. Short-term IT contracting can also help you acquire new skills that will enhance your ability to secure a permanent role in future.
Finding IT Contracting Opportunities
Registering with Ergo resourcing and similar will keep you informed about upcoming contracts that match your skills and experience. Ergo resourcing recruit both internally and for external based clients across various sectors and we have years of experience and specialty in this area. Embarking on an IT Contracting career will provide valuable varied experience in various innovative technologies across different industry sectors and will make you invaluable for future employment opportunities.
Building a Strong IT Contractor CV
As well as organising your business structure, you also need to think about how you will present yourself to potential clients. It is a good idea to maintain a portfolio of your work. You should also review and update your CV frequently with any additional courses and new skills.
1. Deciding on a format:
A reverse chronological resume is often the most traditional format, as it is extremely popular among all industries. This format involves sharing your work history, starting with your most recent employment, and listing other previous jobs after it in reverse-chronological order. This helps to emphasize your most recent experience and track your professional growth.
2. Place your contact information in a prominent place:
Placing your contact information, like your full name, phone number and professional email address, at the top of your resume in a larger font can assist hiring managers and recruiters be able to contact you during any phase of the hiring process.
3. Write a professional summary:
The placement of your summary is important, as it is a paragraph that hiring managers typically focus on to determine whether you fit their open position. Consider what differentiates you from other candidates who may apply for the same position. It could be the number of years of experience you have, the specific projects you have managed, any industry-specific certifications or licenses you have earned or the skills you have gained in previous positions. Explore how you can combine the most important achievements into one brief paragraph that a hiring manager can scan to learn more about you as a candidate.
4. Create a section for your skills:
Think about both hard and soft skills you may need in the role, and consider starting your skills section with the most pertinent one near the top. For example, you may highlight your communication, organization, leadership, and negotiation skills first, as these are important attributes for any successful contractor.
5. Include your Education:
Although you may hold a relevant degree for the position, like construction science or general business, not all employers will require a bachelor's degree for employment. However, if you have attended college, consider including the information so you can stand out from your competition who are applying for the same role. You can include the degree name, your grade point average (GPA), relevant coursework and any specific academic accomplishments of which you are proud.
6. Add your Certifications and License:
Most IT contractors obtain contractor licenses before they enter the field, as this qualifies them to work on specific types of projects. It can also be common for contractors to pursue specialty certifications in a particular skill or area of work, as this can increase their chances of securing specialty work. For each license or certification, you add to your resume, include the name of the credential, the company you earned it from and the year you received it.
7. Add Achievements:
Most people tend to just add duties on a CV and never highlight any key achievements they may have accomplished throughout their work history. Adding a section for any achievements or projects you successfully managed will show your competence and will set you apart from your competition. Your CV is your shop front window to ensure you get shortlisted and called for interview.
Developing a Specialized Skill Set for IT Contracting
If you are embarking on an IT Contracting career you need to have good technical skills in the area you plan to focus on, and it is important to keep your skills up to date with various certifications attained in your chosen area of specialty.
If you are taking on a contract, you may be working alone or with other people and having good discipline, confidence and communication skills which includes written communication and presentation skills will be a big advantage.
Contractors sometimes need to work long hours and there can be travel involved with various assignments which can be disruptive to home life, so these are other factors need to be considered when deciding if you want to become an IT contractor.
In summary the main IT specialist skills are the abilities and knowledge that help you perform various tasks related to information technology.
These can be broken down into Technical and Soft Skills. Technical skills are things like coding, network configuration, and hardware deployment and soft skills, such as communication, organization, and creativity.
Here is a summary of some common IT specialist skills from different sources:
1. Mobile development
As mobile phones are used for almost everything, so it is no surprise that mobile development skills are in high demand. Do some research into the most required and the most versatile mobile skills to ensure you learn the right things.
These days Data is incredibly important in all industries and companies are always collecting and storing data that will be beneficial to their success. Therefore, the demand for data architects, scientists and analytics specialists isn’t going anywhere.
3. Artificial intelligence/machine learning
AI is an area that is evolving and growing and, of course, for advances to be made, the industry requires skilled AI engineers. Artificial intelligence is relatable to all industries too, so it is an incredibly diverse skill to have.
One of the most popular and in-demand programming languages is Python. This gives you access to work on some of the most popular tech trends and due to this, it is often listed as a core-skill by IT contractors. This singular skill is incredibly appealing to companies.
5. Cyber security
Many companies are now spending more on cyber-security than they have ever before, simply because they are more aware of cyber-attacks and what these criminals are able to do. So, expanding your skills in this regard is undeniably beneficial.
6. Virtual reality
Virtual reality sector is booming and will continue to grow in the upcoming years. As this sector grows so does the demand for contractors with relevant skills and therefore, IT contractors may want to consider developing their VR skills.
7. Cloud/Amazon Web Services
Amazon Web Services are being used more and more in IT job advertisements in the field of cloud consulting. It's worthwhile exploring AWS, as it is one of the biggest names in cloud services.
8. Front-end technology
The advent of front-end technologies has evolved and accelerated rapidly over the past few years. This technology is undeniably something that benefits a vast number of industries making it worthwhile to expand your knowledge in.
9. IT Support
IT support contractors are always in demand, and it is a job that won’t be going anywhere any time soon. Nowadays there are numerous different ways to get into IT support, so it may be something worth considering.
Bitcoin became successful due to the advent of Blockchain technology. Both Blockchain Engineers and IT contractors that are skilled in blockchain technology are in high demand due to the continued use of this Software.
These are some examples of IT specialist skills that can help you excel in your chosen field. Depending on the specific role and company you apply for, you may need to have more or less of these skills. You can always learn new skills or improve your existing ones through training courses, certifications, or hands-on experience.
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