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Rise of the career contractors

Sim Ahmed | Feb. 3, 2012
Confidence returning to the financial sector and greater desires to balance work and life, are contributing to a recent increase in the number of career contractors in the IT industry, according to recruitment firm Robert Walters.

Dando says moving into the contractor space is a career path followed by many IT professionals later in their career, and is usually a decision made to accommodate lifestyle choices, or to feel a level of freedom in their work life that a salary role cannot offer. But he warns that people need to be aware of what they are getting into when contracting.

"There's definitely a downside to being a contracter which people don't think about. It can be very lonely, and you often miss a lot of the comradre that comes with being part of a larger organisation," says Dando.

Scott Mayo, a .Net web application developer, says the isolation is especially noticeable when working remotely.

"You can really miss that interaction you have with people in the office," says Mayo.

Mayo works out of an office in his Wellington home, and is currently contracting as the lead developer for a company based in Auckland.

His advice to new contractors feeling isolated is to embrace social media, and make connections with like minded individuals through services like Twitter.

Mayo says new contractors often overestimate the improvement in their lifestyle, which can be determined by the client.

Mayo's advice to new contractors is to be wary of their reputations.

"I haven't found many jobs through agencies. Most of my clients have been through word of mouth, and I expect that is the same for a lot of others," says Mayo.

"You need to be careful because New Zealand is a very small country. The good things you do spread, and the bad things spread even faster."


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