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The Tech Professional’s Guide To Choosing Between IT Contract & Full-Time Employment

Are you a tech professional on the job hunt and curious about your options? IT professionals all over are considering whether contract or full-time employment is right for them. You have an exciting opportunity to carve your own career path–and we can help you decide!

Your Tech Career Path: IT Contract or Full-Time Job?

You are in a thriving industry and there’s room for everyone. Take a deep breath, brush up on a few tips for navigating the tech industry, and relax. You’re in the right place at the right time!

Weighing your options can be daunting, but this handy guide – complete with The Tech Pro’s Contract vs. Full-Time Scorecard – will help you decide what option is the best fit for you.

It’s All About You

Take a moment to consider what you need in order to be fulfilled and excel in your job. What kind of lifestyle will make you happiest? What sort of perks and benefits are most important to you?

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How would you stack rank these four variables from most to least important?

  • Compensation
  • Stability
  • Flexibility
  • Collaboration

You should consider all these factors to determine how they contribute to creating YOUR ideal work-life balance.

The Rundown on IT Contract Jobs

Flexibility is a major perk. Contractors can consider which companies they’d like to work with, the size and type of projects they’d like to take on, and how much time they’d like to take off between engagements. However, while they can take personal time between projects, there is no guarantee that another contract will be there once vacation ends.

IT contractors often select assignments that are compatible with their interests. They’ll likely still collaborate with a company’s full-time team, but they are less obligated to take part in team-building exercises and social events. Because every contract ultimately has an end date, contractors eventually pass off the day-to-day maintenance to a permanent team, which is a bonus for many IT professionals.

Contractors charge for every hour they work and must decide between W-2 hourly or corp to corp relationships with the company they plan to work for.  W-2 hourly contracts may offer some subset of the company’s benefits, such as health and dental and insurance.  Contractors who choose to set up their own corporation or LLC are responsible for obtaining their own benefits and handling their taxes.

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Is IT contract work right for you?

Are you the kind of person who:

  • Is self-motivated and prefers to work independently
  • Chooses to be less engaged with office-centered social activities or culture-building events
  • Prefers to self-manage work-related taxes, insurance, and expenses

And would you prefer to: 

  • Establish your own working hours
  • Pick the projects/engagements that are most exciting to you
  • Decide when you work, and have the freedom to take time off for extended periods of time if you choose
  • Work wherever you want as long as there is electricity and Wi-Fi
  • Organize your assigned tasks in a way that suits your work style

… then pursuing an IT contract job might be the path for you! But you won’t know for sure until you consider the benefits of full-time employment.

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The Rundown on Full-Time IT Employment

Full-time employees are commonly working in a more collaborative environment. Participation in the office culture is common for full-time employees. This can include anything from company-hosted social activities to working with a team on a project assignment. Employees rely on teamwork and strong communication to ensure mutual success. It’s important to consider an employer’s reputation and how well their values align with your own when considering a full-time role. Many companies offer continuing education and training programs.

Most organizations have well-structured procedures, allowing full-time team members the advantage of becoming internal experts on these systems and processes.

Stability is a major factor for those considering joining a team full-time. During your employment, you can expect to have paychecks deposited regularly in your bank account.  Most full-time employees receive a benefits package, to include medical/dental/life/disability insurance, paid time off and 401(k), along with their salary.

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Is full-time IT employment the choice for you?

Are you the kind of person who:

  • Enjoys developing friendships and enhancing the culture and core values of the organization you work for
  • Benefits from the support that comes with being a part of a team
  • Performs best with structure and standardized procedures
  • Is more comfortable working with a team, or is early in your career and not ready to be totally independent
  • Prefers to focus on one project or engagement at a time
  • Doesn’t care to personally invest in the hardware, equipment, software, and other tools necessary for you to do your work

And do you prefer for your employer to: 

  • Provide healthcare benefits, disability, and life insurance policies
  • Contribute to retirement savings plans with potential 401(k) matching
  • Provide a consistent paycheck, to include pay on holidays, sick and vacation days
  • Provide mentoring, continued education, and training
  • Manage income, social security, and Medicare tax obligations
  • Maintain your potential eligibility for unemployment in the event of layoffs or termination

… then you might flourish on a full-time IT team!

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Try The Tech Pro’s Contract Vs. Full-Time Scorecard

Check off the benefits that best suit you. Use the totals as a roadmap on your tech job search journey.  Place a checkmark next to each item that resonates with you.  Add up the check marks in each column to help you determine whether contract or full-time employment makes more sense for you.

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You Can Do It!

The scorecard results will be helpful for comparing contract vs full-time employment on a surface level. You must consider which variables hold the most weight and importance in your life. Keep your lifestyle and career goals in mind while evaluating your decision. If you’re still on the fence, try working with a recruiter. Recruiters are fantastic resources that regularly help tech professionals evaluate their options and can make beneficial recommendations and introductions.

Good luck on your professional journey. Be sure to explore the IT opportunities available with SOLTECH here.