New research from pre-employment screener Powerchex in April has found that the recruitment of IT contractors ‘jumped significantly’ within the financial services sector, clearly showing that the number of IT contractor work opportunities is on the increase. There was also a 75% year on year rise in billings in this area. In fact, the only area of the financial services sector which saw an increase in job offers over March, apart from investment managers, was for IT contractors! Powerchex confirmed these findings by commenting that “The most marked growth is in IT contractors.”
With statistics like these, it’s easy to see why IT specialists would consider moving from permanent roles to contracting – but at this time of year, what about considering working as an IT contractor right out of University? It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds . . . You have a head full of knowledge and you know you want to pursue a career in IT, but why consider contracting? Here are a few reasons:
- Financial Benefits – as a contractor you could earn up to double the salary of a full time employee
- Flexibility -technically you are your own boss, which allows you more independence as you have the freedom to work when and where you choose
- Skills Development – choosing the work you want allows you to work in a variety of different niches within the IT sector, gaining experience from many different companies and giving you a more ‘exotic’ CV which is built upon a unique range of skills and experience
- Travel – many contract based roles are located abroad and these opportunities become that much easier to get, as you become more attractive to clients through your broader skill set and experience.
In addition to these benefits and many more, there are of course some downsides. As a contractor there is some additional work you need to do in your private time, but for a full list of pros and cons have a look at our pages on ‘becoming a contractor’ and ‘how much will I earn as a contractor’.
Which IT sector is for you?
IT is one of the most popular professions with various sectors, so to make sure you know which direction you wish to pursue, here is a summary of some of the most common roles you could potentially work in as an IT Graduate Contractor:
- IT Consultants and Planner – this field focuses on advising businesses on how best to use IT to benefit their organisation and meet their business objectives. Not only would you provide advice and guidance, IT consultancies often implement, deploy and administer IT systems on an organisation’s behalf.
- IT Operations Technician (Network Support) – a constant support for all communication and computer networks between and within organisations. You would operate, monitor, troubleshoot and resolve hardware problems for the enterprise networks in the central computer centre.
- IT User Support Technician (Helpdesk Support) – similar to an IT Operations Technician, you would solve faults and problems within a system, providing support and technical advice to users and possibly training users so that they can effectively use the computer software and hardware.
- Network/Systems Designers and Engineers – you would install and maintain communication networks within and between organisations, working to provide maximum performance and network availability for users.
- Software Designers and Engineers – just some of the job roles you could apply for in this field include applications developer, games developer, systems design and software engineer. This role involves designing, researching and developing computer software and software systems for clients as well as testing and debugging existing software and systems.
- Web developers and producers – as a web developer you would create and develop software applications, and as a web producer you would be responsible for driving traffic to the web pages and ensuring the content is presented in a way that guarantees a good user experience.
How do I find work?
Once you have decided which area you wish to pursue, the next step is how to find work! With IT being so popular, you may find standard IT job sites quite limiting, but there’s no harm in registering. Registering with recruitment sites will also help to get your CV circulated as a ‘newbie’ to the contracting trade. Remember to be open minded when searching for jobs, there is normally only one ‘golden’ IT job with your job criteria available on the more popular job sites, with up to possibly 100 applicants applying, making your chances very slim. So why not try looking at the more niche specific sites, such as:
Your skills will be more appreciated here and, with your thirst to learn and gain experience, they will be more open minded in hiring you. Do your homework and hunt these sites down, as they are not necessarily the most obvious job sites to new IT Graduates. The next step is to upload your CV and really sell what you’ve learnt in University. However, you’re not the only person with a degree so you need to think how your CV will be noticed first. Two important factors are the use of Keywords and the number of pages long your CV is.
With regard to Keywords, more and more employers are using job boards and recruitment site CV database search facilities to find candidates. If your CV doesn’t include ‘scannable’ keywords and industry buzz phrases your CV might not be found, despite the fact that you might be the best person for the contract! And in terms of CV length, there has been lots of research on how many pages the perfect CV should have, and all evidence points towards two. It’s about getting the right balance between giving just enough information to ensure the client wants to find out more about you, and not too much so they get bored reading it. These are just some of the things to consider when writing your CV. For more help on writing your CV visit our Contractors Career’s Centre page, this will tell you what the most important thing to remember in your CV is and learn the Top 5 Tips.