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Is a career in IT contracting for you?

22 Nov 2016

Derek Smyth

A job doesn't have to be 'for life' anymore. You can read more about IT contracting here.

A career in contracting can be highly enjoyable and incredibly rewarding for IT professionals. A contractor works for a client – company and essentially provides their skills for an agreed period of time. Working as a contractor works well for both the client and the contractor as a company gets the skills they require on a temporary basis, while paying contractors on a daily rate – it’s a win - win for both sides. Contracting appeals to people for many reasons - not only do you get the opportunity to gain broad experience working on a number of different projects. IT contractors are generally very well paid.

More and more highly skilled tech professionals are leaving permanent roles and choosing contracting as the next step in their career. The transition from working in a permanent role to a career in contracting can understandably be quite daunting but don’t worry, we are here to advise you along the way and to answer any concerns you may have.

If you wish to follow the path of an IT contractor, there are a few obligations that you are required to adhere to.  As contractors invoice for their services, they are in turn responsible for their own financial affairs. The process of setting up as a contractor is relatively straightforward and once you have set up as a limited company, you will be ready to go!

Limited Company

A limited company is registered with the CRO and it does have limited liability. Setting up as a limited company is more advisable as a lot of companies will only deal with limited companies. Operating as a limited company limits your liabilities or debts to the trading entity that is the company and also protects your assets.

  • Tax benefits
  • More allowable expenses
  • Must submit x4 P30 return, x6 VAT3 return, x1 VAT RTD return, form 12 tax return, CT1 and a form B1

Once the hard part of setting up as a contractor is over, the rewards of contracting can be very advantageous.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Contracting

Advantages

  • Opportunity to be your own boss and to choose your clients
  • Increased financial benefits – likely to be earning more per hour than permanent employees due to the short-term nature of the work, most employers are prepared to pay substantially higher rates to contractors than employees
  • Variety– the freedom to change jobs on a regular basis without the formality of notice
  • Holidays - Having freedom to take extended holidays between contracts and the option to take your holidays whenever you please 
  • Benefit from a reduced tax burden
  • Excellent way to broaden your experience in IT 
  • Travel - experienced contractors are marketable in many locations, both at home and overseas, which may give you the opportunity to travel

Disadvantages

Of course contracting is not suited to everyone and there are some disadvantages associated with contracting:

  • Less job security  - not protected with the secure blanket permanent employees benefit from
  • Greater uncertainty – there is no guarantee your contract will be renewed
  • Hidden costs – as your own boss you are responsible for many of the benefits that an employer may have previously taken care of (health insurance and pension etc.)
To summarise, IT contractors must be willing to work in new environments and take on new challenges, look after their own finances and tax affairs and have strong business acumen.

Click here to see what IT contracting roles we currently have on offer.

For any recruitment requirements or if you’re interested in a career in IT contracting please get in touch with Derek Smyth on 01 - 6621000 or email d.smyth@brightwater.ie