Should You Consider an IT Consulting Job?
In the 1990’s, when Information Technology really hit the scene, it didn’t take much for skilled people to find jobs in the burgeoning industry. As time went on, things changed. After the Dot Com bubble burst, some of the earliest adopters found themselves struggling to find permanent positions. Over time, that evolved into a new segment of the IT world, creating a consulting market, which allows skilled professionals the ability to work with a flexible schedule and companies to have the talent they need without the high cost of hiring. If you’re looking at the future of your IT career, should you pursue permanent employment or a consulting position? Here are the questions to ask.
- What is the difference between employee and contractor? There are some legal definitions that are important to remember when making the choice. An employer is required to have their staff complete W-4 tax forms and will take taxes out of their paychecks. Contractors are sometimes self-employed, meaning they fill out a 1099 and are responsible for their own taxes. However, if you work as a contractor for a staffing firm, you will be an employee of that firm.
- How do I get paid as a contractor? There are a couple of ways IT consultants are paid. If you’re working as an independent contractor, you will invoice the company directly. If you are employed through an agency that is handling your contract, they will invoice the company and pay you regularly based on the terms of your assignment.
- What is the company’s responsibility? If the company is employing you as an independent contractor, they are required by maintain legal compliance. They cannot require you to work certain hours, in their office, or using their equipment. If you are being paid as a 1099 contractor, but have to adhere to these policies, you’ve crossed over into employee territory and need to be paid accordingly.
- What is my responsibility to the company? Your role, whether working independently or through an agency, is to complete the project to the best of your ability within the time frame required. This may be something you negotiate with them directly or that your recruiter has negotiated on your behalf. It is okay to occasionally reevaluate the project to see how it is advancing according to the initial agreement.
- What are the benefits to consulting? As a contractor, you will probably not receive the same benefits as a permanent employee. Working for yourself, you may have to carry your own insurance. Some agencies will offer benefits options, so talk to a recruiter to see if that would work for you. Consultants typically make more money than their employee counterparts, but they are also responsible to pay taxes, including the self-employment tax. But there are other benefits, too. You’re in control of your own career path, you don’t have to deal with office politics, and you have a chance to be more flexible with your time. These are all things to consider when you’re deciding.
Do you want to work with a staffing agency to find your next IT job, either permanent or contract? We have IT recruiters located in Phoenix, Orange County, Los Angeles and Denver, so call now to find out how we can help you today!