Contracting as an IT Graduate

You're fresh out of University and you have a head full of knowledge! You know you want to pursue a career in Information Technology but why consider contracting? Well…

  • Financial Benefits
  • - As a contractor you could earn up to double that of a full time employee.
  • Flexibility
  • -Technically you are your own boss, this will allow you more independence, you have the freedom to work when and where you choose.
  • Skill Development
  • - Choosing the work you want allows you to work in a variety of different niches within information technology, gaining experience from many different companies will give you an 'exotic' CV building up a unique range of skills and experience.
  • Travel
  • - Opportunities aboard become that much easier and you become more attractive to clients if you have a broader skill set and experience. Many roles aboard are contract based.

Now we are not trying to paint a rainbow on the fact that in addition to these benefits (and these are just a few of the benefits, yes only a few!) does come some downsides. As a contractor there is some additional work you need to do in your private time, but for a full list of pro's and cons visit becoming a contractor and rates of pay.

What 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 Planners

This field focuses on advising businesses on how best to use information technology to benefit their company or organisation and meet their business objectives. Not only would you provide advice and, guidance IT consultancies often implement, deploy and administer IT systems on a business's behalf.

  • IT Operations Technician (Network Support)

A constant support for all communication and computer networks between and within a company or organisations. You would operate, monitor, troubleshoot, and resolve hardware problems for the enterprise networks in the central computer center.

  • IT user support Technicians (Help desk support)

Similar to an IT Operations Technician you would solve faults and problems within a system providing support and technical advice to users of the programme, possibly training users or cliental so they can effectively use the computer software and hardware.

  • Network/systems designers and engineers

Install and maintain communication networks within and between organisations. This role means you would work to provide maximum performance and network availability for clients.

  • Software designers and engineers

Applications developer, games developer, systems design and software engineer. These are just some of the job roles you could apply for in this job field. Designing, researching, and developing computer software and software systems for clients. This role also involves testing and debugging existing software and systems as well.

  • Web developers and producers

As a web developer you would create and develop the software of a particular application, creating the template structure etc. 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. These are just some of the factors covered within these roles, both require technical expertise with graphic design.

Hopefully this has helped you 'de-bug' any areas you were considering.

How do I find work?

Now you know what area you wish to pursue, the next, if not obvious question is how do I find the work? This is one of the most important, if not the most important question next to 'how much will I earn as a contractor'. Firstly think how can I be noticed? Where can I find work?

Well, with IT being so popular you may find your standard 'IT JOBS' site quite limiting, but of course there's no harm in registering. Registering with recruitment sites, such as Technojobs, will help 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. 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, these are not necessarily the most obvious job sites to new IT Graduates, our little secret for you.

So you've registered with your recruitment site, you now need to upload your CV and really sell what you've learnt in University, however you're not the only person with a degree, you need to think how your CV will be noticed first. Consider the following for your CV:

  • Key Words- 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 words for your particular industry, your CV might not be found, despite the fact that you might be the best person for the job/contract.
  • Two pages not ten- There has been lots of research on how many pages the perfect CV should have. All evidence points towards two. It's about getting the right balance between just giving 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.