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Freelance: The Way Forward In IT?

ITAre we seeing the end of the concept “Job for life”? If yes, is freelance work and contracting the way forward when it comes to information technology?

The option of working as a contractor or a freelancer is always open for experienced IT professionals. The main reason as to why many of them take up contacting is that it presents them with an opportunity to increase their earnings. The daily rates that some of the IT jobs they undertake can fetch thousands, far exceeding the incomes they can earn as salaried employees.

However, there are a few disadvantages which should also be recognized. Freelancers or contractors are not eligible for sick pay, holiday pay and pension. They will also have to take care of training on their own. They need to actively hunt for jobs on a regular basis. Therefore, freelancers are required to be good at networking. This is because opportunities are almost always presented because of word of mouth publicity. Ultimately, freelancing is all about risk versus reward.

Even though they are expensive, employers make use of contractors for the simple reason that they will be helpful when there is a surge in demand or there is a need for specialized skill for a short period of time. Generally, some skill transfer does take place because of their involvement which helps employers’ permanent staff members gain some additional knowledge.

Many people are of the opinion that the concept “Job for life” is outdated and that the jobs of permanent employees in organizations are not more secure than that of the freelancers or the contractors. It is, therefore, very likely that more and more individuals are likely to operate as contractors or freelancers in the future.

What does this mean to those who are already involved and those that would be entering the IT industry in future? They will have to proactively develop useful as well as marketable skill sets. Instead of being a jack of all trades, they will have to highlight their portfolio of experience and skills to employers.

The skill sets that freelancers develop must align with the sort of work that they want to do or apply for. For instance, a freelancer applying for a position in the project management area would find that a qualification like prince 2 is a pre-requisite. When called for an interview, the freelancer may find it helpful if he/she had experience in associated areas such as change control, risk management, etc. On other hand, the freelancer would find that extensive knowledge in Cisco networking is not of any use for a project management role. The key, therefore, is to know and acquire the skill sets, both required and associated, for the role that you want to apply for. The CV must reflect this in order for the individual to be successful as a freelancer.

It is, therefore, important that a person who wants to become a freelancer should start thinking about acquiring the required skills immediately.

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