Savvy technology professionals know the importance of staying up-to-date on industry trends, skills, certifications and disruptive innovations. One way to remain current is through contract IT jobs. Taking on different tech assignments at various companies gives you the opportunity to expand existing abilities and develop new specializations.
Other benefits of contract technology jobs include the opportunity to:
Grow your professional network
When working a variety of contract IT jobs, you can make new professional contacts on a regular basis. Extending your network within the tech industry means you'll have access to other professionals with similar career interests. When it comes time to look for a different position or collaborate on a new project, you can start by tapping into your contacts. Also, being able to turn to an extensive network of professional resources for industry insights can help you keep up with the hottest technology skills.
Try out in-demand jobs
The improving economy and a new generation of technology advancements have many large and midsize enterprises reinvigorating IT-related initiatives they put on hold in recent years due to lack of resources. Many organizations are increasingly leveraging the wealth of information they're gathering through big data analytics, placing more emphasis on mobile technology for business enablement and upgrading their network and data security technology.
Many of these initiatives require hiring skilled contractors or consultants. Joining project teams exposes you to current business technology trends and could help you acquire skills you need to secure a full-time role in the future. It also gives you the opportunity to try on different hats. If you're an experienced IT manager, for example, you could lead a project team working on mobile app for smartphones.
Take advantage of free training
Recruiters who work at technical staffing agencies can suggest skills that employers in your field currently seek. Some leading staffing firms even offer free online educational opportunities to registered candidates. Robert Half Technology, as an example, has a course catalog that includes network and database administration and software development training opportunities. We also offer training to help you earn Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco or project management certifications.
Transition to a full-time position
While many technology professionals are content to pursue project-based work indefinitely, some choose contract IT jobs as a way to stay engaged in the workforce and earn income while looking for a full-time position. If you fall into the latter camp, the new skills you learn and the additional contacts you make while working on projects can help you achieve your goal. Hiring managers typically look more favorably on technology candidates who have kept their skills sharp through contract work, compared to those who haven't worked for an extended period.
Working as a contract employee for a technical staffing firm can be a wise career choice. The variety of projects and training opportunities can help you build in-demand skills. The key to getting the most from your relationship with a staffing agency is to be up front with recruiters about your goals. Having all the right information will help them to connect you with the right contract-to-hire and full-time opportunities.