Your CV must stand out! This is not negotiable. You only have a
limited amount of time to grab the recruiters attention- the way you fill out
the A4 to represent you can make or break your career.
Companies don’t just hire people just for the sake of having a
large number of people to add to their workforce anymore. Gone are the days
where applying for a job as a contractor was just a cellphone call, followed up
by an interview that determines your fate.
The curriculum vitae, or CV as it more commonly known, is a document that not only serves the purpose of signalling that you want a job, it is now the yard stick which your competence is measured with.
You can be a qualified and highly professional contractor, and still get it wrong when it comes to how you use your CV to represent your service to the employer.
With opportunities in IT becoming more accessible to everyone, the
competition for career positions in companies is getting harder by the day.
Recruiters have to deal with multitudes of CVs submitted to their inboxes or
physical address. You have to capture their attention with your application.
They literally go through heaps to find a perfect candidate. Here is a stress
reliever for every contractor on the hunt:
This is your name and your contact information, preferably your phone number, website, email address and other communication channels you use.
Adding social media is not really best practice. Your name must be used as a bolded headline at the top of the page. Highlighting the name by either bolding, italicising or underling is a very effective method of getting it noticed and remembered by the recruiter.
The font must be complementary to the size, this is a recommended to be set at
14 to 16 points on average. Capitalizing your name is just as effective as the
currently mentioned guides.
This is where most contractors fail to communicate their offer. Be as explicit as possible in detailing what you want to do for the client or company in a brief paragraph and what you have already done for other clients.
Highlighting your functional skills is very important to make an impression on your CV. The need to add a lot of information just for the sake of filling up the page must be avoided.
Employees and recruiters look through your resume for a very short amount of time, so you must make an impact.
The section that involves your work history, education, and your achievements must not be stuffed with irrelevant information. Adding very detailed and recent information helps the employer scanning through your CV understand exactly what it is that you can do for their establishment.
Job roles must be explained thoroughly by the candidate to show aptitude in the field of interest.
This is done by mentioning the daily tasks or recurring requirements of the work
environment that the subject has operated in. Using as many verbs as you can to detail the tasks as they were respectfully carried out.
There is no substitute for this, the recruiter needs to only see you in a positive light. You need to include not only your skills but how those skills are or were used in your project. For instance, mentioning your role in the IT company you worked for.
Including tasks, for example, like, how you were the web-based Test Lead for a large retail company, responsible for overseeing a team of 10 automated Test Analysts, using loadrunner... and so on.
The layout of your CV must be attractive to improve the chances of the recruiters scanning effectively over it. You must adopt a CV template that
is easily scannable and reader-friendly.
The format of your CV must be well organized in neat and orderly sections that embody their respective fields and must be labeled accordingly.
There are many fonts that are enlisted in typography that vary in degree of readability to each individual. The use of the font is paramount in increasing your visual appeal to allow for familiarity and "scan-ability" by the recruiter.
A font like The Times New Roman is the most frequently used format
in most CVs and does little to make your CV standout.
Using a traditional font style like Serif is an important factor in increasing the likelihood of your CV getting noticed by capturing the reader because of it’s stylish appeal. This font also has enough traditional implications attached to it to still deem it fit to adhere to a traditional format.
Serif format styles include Georgie, Old style and many more that you can easily find by using this reference.
Use visual aids like bullets and numbering to draw attention to key points about your expertise and other information that is relevant to the job you are applying for.
The need to outshine the competition is natural, but keeping your
information as brief and tactful as possible improves the chances of
communicating your value to the employer.
Include only information and details that is important to the give the company a clear picture of who they are reading about.
Literally, don’t use jargon on your CV. it paints a certain character to the reader that suggests that you are not ready for the workforce or that you have a way of not adhering to a civilized manner or lacking in professionalism
Creating a valuable CV is not rocket science, but it is very easy to get it wrong, use these simple tips to get the head start on your competition.
I receive a lot of requests for advice on how to create profiles that will increase your visibility, connections, and ultimately, the chances of scoring more contracts. As a contractor myself, I know how hard it can be when you lack connections or if you don’t know how to highlight selling points.
I got to thinking about how I present myself. I haven’t updated any of the information on my LinkedIn profile for at least two years. After doing research to improve my online business profile, I realised that a lot of other people could use the help. So here are 5 ways to use LinkedIn for a killer contractor’s profile.
Building connections through networking is time well spent. You must connect online as well as face-to-face, because those two vehicles are interconnected. LinkedIn is one of the best platforms in which to start.
Do you know exactly how much building relationships within social media matters? As you use LinkedIn, work to increase the number of your first level connections. Because of the associations, your second and third level connections will always include your name in searches.
Connections provide leads. If I need advice or help, I go to people I can trust or the people they trust. Make yourself available to referrals. Work on establishing trust with others too. Connections are more than just stepping stones to success. They’re give and take relationships without hidden motives.
Make a list of your business friends and relationships. Which ones are you taking for granted? Do something that shows them you remember the connection, whether that means offering a discount or providing a shining review of their services.
Updating your LinkedIn profile requires more thought than I suspected. You want to demonstrate what new skills you’ve acquired recently, but there are other items to consider.
Using keywords in your profile is a given, but search engines are keenly aware of the overuse of words to drive up a company’s visibility. Use them intelligently and strategically, particularly in your headline.
Instead of “Information Technology Specialist,” go for “Expert IT and Linux Professional.” It’s more precise.
LinkedIn asks members a lot of questions about ourselves, our work experience, our hobbies, and our goals. Take advantage of every opportunity it gives you to share information about you and your work.
Add professional groups to your profile. It shows you stay current within your line of work. When you receive a new certificate, update your profile. Ask for endorsements from people who are familiar with your work. Give then one or two keywords to use. Specific endorsements raise your visibility.
Don’t worry, I don’t mean meeting up at a local coffee shop. It’s about posting to millions of people and posting to the ones who are interested in hearing from you. You’re creating your brand.
Most people appreciate information that is practical, well-written, and provides tools or tips of some sort. When you read through online trade magazines or see an interesting article, share the link. Comment on what you found useful. Ask for opinions. This engages people.
Comment on the articles other people post on LinkedIn’s News Feed. Share your opinion on the information. One thing you’ll notice in doing this is other people will respond to your comments. When that’s the case, ask to connect. The worst they can say is no.
Read about what your connections are doing. If someone has a work anniversary, congratulate them. It’s a great, unobtrusive way to reconnect to somebody with whom you haven’t spent time.
One effective way to tell the world about your skills is by contributing articles. LinkedIn allows you to publish your own articles on their forum. Writing about your abilities isn’t enough, though.
People are always asking “WIIFM?” (What’s in it for me?) Offer useful advice in your article or a tip on how to do something more easily. Give yourself props at the end, including your contact information. If you act like an expert, and sound like an expert, people will go to the expert.
Everyone knows how to share your status on other social media platforms. You take pictures, you send funny memes, or say a few words about your day. LinkedIn is different.
News Feed is a simple way to give and receive all types of information. The drawback is that the information can often be too general or unrelated to your field of interest or those who want to know about your work. Posting articles will get you attention, but there’s a way you can narrow down your target audience.
Update your status within your groups. The groups you list on your profile should be related to the work you do and your various business interests. If you’re in marketing, become a follower of marketing companies and join groups associated with marketing.
When you update your status and share it with people in these specific groups, they’re more likely to be interested in what you have to say than other people reading the News Feed. If you ask an opinion, people respond more quickly, and it can even result in a quick chat via IM.
Keeping a highly visible profile on LinkedIn can feel like a full-time job, but it doesn’t have to be.
Set aside time specifically for connecting through LinkedIn. Spend an hour on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays commenting on posts and articles, updating your status, and posting your own articles.
Use LinkedIn’s analytic tools to find the best times to post. It will tell you when to limit your activity and when your post is likely to get the most traffic, readers, and responses.
If you want people to take you seriously, be serious about yourself. Invest in getting a professional photograph. A good one won’t cost more than $100, if that. Wear the type of clothing that would inspire you to hire yourself and smile.
Make sure you complete the summary field within your profile. Many people skip doing this, because they believe just attaching a resume will say everything. Providing a resume is smart but using the summary field to list five of your biggest achievements makes people take notice.
I used to think I’d done everything I could to make my CV and Linked in Profile shine. I know now that there’s more to it than a good heading and a nifty picture. If increasing the visibility of your LinkedIn profile sounds like a lot of effort, remember that it does produce results. Right now, there are over 11 million jobs.
Before April 2000, as a self-employed worker, you could receive direct payments, and you were allowed to use your company revenue as any small company would do.
In addition, company profits were not subjected to National Insurance payments; hence, profits could be distributed as dividends.
Moreover, you could set up a family business by splitting ownership of your company with family members and you would be able to save tax in all these cases. Due to the introduction of IR35, all these privileges were aborted.
IR35 was legislation introduced by HMRC (Her-Majesty’s Revenue & Customs) with the ultimate goal of stamping out any form of tax evasion, which was considered as fraud or abuse of the tax system. It was designed to tax the workers referred to as "disguised employees". Therefore, under IR35, they were considered as being employed. For instance, if you were receiving payments via an intermediary and you are being paid directly by your client, you would be considered as an employee.
IR35 was established to prevent workers from evading tax by setting up limited companies through which they would work effectively. Hence, to correct this anomaly, HM Revenue and Customs was set up to scrutinize any contractual arrangement between the worker’s company and the client’s so as to ensure that normal employment rules are applied.
This was so that every payment made to the worker’s company would be appropriately taxed. In addition, setting up family companies was also countered by the IR35 legislation. Consequently, company profits were subjected to National Insurance payments, hence, profits could not be distributed as dividends.
If you are running your own business and you heard about IR35, I know you would like to know if the IR35 legislation applies to you. The IR35 legislation applies to any worker, who supplies services through a registered private limited company or in partnership, receives payments directly from the client and pays himself dividends. Therefore, if you fall into this category of workers, IR35 applies to you so you are inside IR35. Otherwise, you are outside IR35.
Being inside IR35, you would be paying taxes as an employed worker. If you are outside IR35, you are not liable to paying tax as an employed worker pays it. Therefore, you are free to choose your payment method, either in form of salary or as dividends. Else, you may choose to be paying yourself a combination of salary and dividends.
Perhaps, you are outside IR35 if you registered your business on your own person but not the company account. However, this question may be difficult to answer explicitly. Therefore, try to consult HMRC guidance(https://www.gov.uk/guidance/check-employment-status-for-tax) to determine whether you are outside or inside IR35.
While addressing Employment Status disputes, the term Mutuality of Obligation is a common phrase that is always considered. If it is established that there is Mutuality of Obligation between an employee and the employer, the employer is under obligation to provide work for the employee.
On the other hand, the employee is also obliged to accept the work. Therefore, the employee is entitled, under obligation, to be expecting and accepting work from the employer until the contract is made redundant or they both agree to end the contract.
Under this condition, IR35 is being challenged and failing because the IR35 legislation can only be effective if there is Mutuality of Obligation between the contractor and the client, i.e. if a contract of service exists, the contractor is considered employed. If contract of service agreement cannot be established, the contractor is considered to be self-employed; and hence, outside IR35.
Therefore, if there is no Mutuality of Obligation between you and your client, you are outside IR35. Establishing this status is so complex as a result of this complexity, you are advised to seek professional legal advice to review your contract reviewed for IRS before entering into any contractual agreement.
The right of substitution is a major factor used to establish IR35 employment status. The right of Substitution is a legal term which gives a contractor the ability to send someone with the same skill or service experience to complete a contract. For instance, once you are providing a service and you are not employed, you can send another contractor with the same experience, who is able to provide the same service, to take your place.
Once you include the clause, “Right of Substitution”, in your contractual agreements, you may be helping your chances of remaining outside of IR35. Conversely, if the clause is not in your contractual agreement, there is a strong chance you are inside it.
However, this may not be valid in some contract cases. However, for this clause to be considered valid, the following key factors must be present in the contract:
According to HMRC, as a contractor, you are inside IR35 if you are deemed to be subject to control if your client is instructing you on what work you should do and how you should perform the task. In addition, you are under IR35 Control, if they also have the power to transfer you from one job position to a different job.
However, this rule is ambiguous. For instance, as a building contractor, a client gives you a building plan design which you cannot do but follow to the letter or a client set up a rendezvous for the contract agreement, and you must be present at the location and at the given time. Therefore, are you under control?
However, if you will be found by the HMRC to be under control you will have to be under the supervision, direction and control of your clients, then you are inside IR35. For further clarification on the term “control”, you will have to consult HMRC IR35 Guidance.
Once you understand all of the above-stated IR35 rules, conditions and terms, you will be able to figure out whether you are under IR35 or outside IR35, and you will know what to do if you are under IR35 so as to avoid facing any legal sanction.
In addition, as a contractor, you will know how to approach your lawyer for professional legal advices while you are setting up a contract agreement with a client. Nevertheless, we are here to help you out.
Another important rule to consider, is the 24 month rule...
As a contractor, while you are setting up a contractual agreement, there are some contract rules you need to be conversant with and understand before you seal the deal. One of the most important aspects of the contract rules you need to clarify is the Contractor 24 Month Rule.
For instance, if you are incurring travel expenses in moving from your place to your client’s site, you need to know what the 24 Month Rule means, if it applies to you and if you can legitimately claim any travel cost.I hope you have some questions. Here, we have covered the ground for you.
If you are travelling to your workplace and coming back, for you to know if the rule affects you or not, you have to understand the following:
This rule determines whether a workplace will be considered as a permanent or temporary workplace. So if you are working for your client in a temporary workplace, this rule applies to you.
According to HMRC’s EIM32075 a temporary workplace is defined as a workplace that a contractor visits for a limited period of time to perform a task or any other temporary purposes.
However, if the employee visits the place for a continuous task that lasts for, at least more than 24 months, the workplace will be considered a permanent workplace. Hence, in this case, the Contractor 24-month Rule is not applicable; see Section 339(3)ITEPA 2003 of HMRC’s Rule.
In addition, if you are working continuous and there is a change of workplace in the course of the contract but it has no substantial effect on your journey to work; such a workplace will be taken as the same workplace.
For instance, if a client changes the workplace of a contractor from Edinburgh to London, there will be a deduction in the cost of travelling from home to the new workplace. Conversely, if the workplacesare is treated as one, no deduction will be done (see EIM32280 and EIM32089).
However, in most cases, it is difficult to establish a change of workplace but the basic principle is that a change in a workplace is only recognised if the change has a very minimal effect:
If your client’s workplace is a temporary workplace as defined by the Contractor 24-month Rule, you are covered by the rule to legitimately claim your incurred travel expenses.
Otherwise, you have nothing to claim. For instance, if you are living in London and you are working for a client at a workplace in London, and it takes you 25 months to complete the task while moving from your home to the workplace there, you cannot claim any expenses incurred on transport because the site will be treated as your permanent workplace having worked there for more than 24 months.
However, if you worked at the place for less than 24 months, you are eligible to be paid for transport.
Yes, the same rule that covers the travel expenses also covers accommodation cost.
According to the HMRC’s Contractor 24-month Rule, since you are eligible to claim transport expenses, you may be able to claim accommodation expenses, once your workplace is treated as a temporary workplace.
Conversely, if your workplace is treated as a permanent workplace, you may not be able to claim any expenses for accommodation. Like in the example above, you may be eligible to be paid accommodation expenses by your employer for travelling to Manchester to work.
As a matter of fact, accommodation claims are not clearly stated in the HMRC Contractor 24-Month Rule, this claim is only being placed on the logic that there will surely be a change in the cost of accommodation due to the temporary change in the workplace. Therefore, a contractor may not be able to win this case if he takes to court.
This HMRC’s rule decides whether a contract will be treated as a continuous work or not. According to this rule, the period of work will be treated as a period of continuous work if you performed your duties to a significant extent. The term “significant extent”is determined by the percentage of time you spent as contractor at a workplace.
If the time you spent at the place amounts to 40% or more of your working time (Section 339(3) I.T.E.P.A 2003), your contract at the workplace is treated as continuous work, hence you cannot legitimately claim any incurred travel expenses.
For instance, you live in London and work for a client at a workplace in London, but at a point, your client begins to send you to work in Manchester for 1 and half days in a week, and this continues for a period 25 months.
Since the time you have spent at the site in Manchester is less than 40% of your working time, the workplace is treated as a temporary workplace.
Therefore, you are eligible to claim your full travel cost from your client but not for the rest of the week you spent working in London because travelling between your home and your workplace in London will be considered as ordinary commuting (see EIM32086).
Just like the accommodation claim, contractors are also debating that change in the workplace, though temporary, might have a significant effect on the lunch expenses and that they incur more expenses on lunch than working in their permanent workplace.
This claim is also not included in the HMRC’s Contractor 24-Month Rule. Hence, a contractor may not be able to proceed with this case in the court as it could be treated as a void claim.
As a contractor, these are some of the rules you need to understand and put into consideration before you seal a contract with a client so that you may be able to avoid any future misunderstandings. Nevertheless, if you are still incurring travel expenses, you are sure that you are working in a temporary workplace and not working continuously according to the Contractor 24-month Rule, you can legitimately claim your incurred expenses from your client.
Another important thing to consider, to protect yourself is insurance, lets discuss this further in the next section....
As much of an IT expert as you may be, there are always things that are beyond your control and might go awry. Contracts may go wrong for a variety of reasons and you, as a professional, have to be thoroughly prepared in case that happens.
That’s where IT contracting insurances comes into play: with a tiny investment,
you can protect yourself, your business and even your reputation –the core of
an independent contractor-.
And being as important as it is, I’ve found that insurance is sadly one of the most overlooked aspects of our career for several reasons: simply not knowing how insurances works, how expensive are they, if they are legally required, or even believing that insurance implies that you can do a subpar job without nothing really happening.
I’ve thought that myself! But there’s a great peace of mind you have when you can rest assured that nothing bad will happen to you if something fails on the other end of the contract or if the unexpected appears, which on this era of hacking and information leaks is always a possibility. In this article, I’ll run you through the basics of IT insurance and you’ll learn how many types and options are out there on the market, and you’ll certainly find one that suits your needs.
The real question is “why shouldn’t you?”. Far from being a bother or a burden,
insurance companies can cover you for everything you think of: from
unintentional contract breaches, confidence breaches, infringement of
intellectual property rights, defamation from unsatisfied clients or even past
Given our field of work, we are not failsafe –no one truly is at anything, we may work with technology but we’re humans after all– and the cost of giving bad advice or applying not-quite-accurate techniques is way too high for an independent worker.
And as you well know, there are pros and cons of working independently: while you are your own boss and you are ready to face the uncertainty between contracts, all possible mistakes that goes from technical to human ones, or even when clients have only you to blame and not an abstract company you work for should concern you.
Insurance companies provides you legal professional representation, indemnity insurances and even public liability insurance, in case something bad happens and you need them the most.
Trust me: as the saying goes, no one should leave home –or sign a contract– without it.
While technically not mandatory by law if you work on your own, it quickly becomes obvious that you should put some serious thought into it. If you happen to work alone, you may have faced on the verge of signing a contract insurance is not required by law but is a contractual obligation. So why not think ahead and go for it?
I should say that it doesn’t only feel safe, but it also looks good: most agencies nowadays consider insurance as a quality measure and is slowly gaining the status of best practice.
Ranging from 1 to 10 million pounds of cover, this type of policies are not something to be overlooked. Besides, if you employ people, even if you work from home, there’s a chance you may actually be legally forced to do so. It should be noted that Employer’s Liability Act from 1969 states that there are a few exemptions: if you are the sole employee of a company and own more than half of the shares, and if you run a family business and all your employees are close relatives.
Let’s start from the beginning: IR35, as discussed earlier in this article, is a specific set of rulings that affects all contractors that HRMC doesn’t qualify as self employed. It should really matter to you, since it can truly cripple your future: it states that you’ll face increased taxes and National Insurance liabilities in an effort to stop contractors from working as disguised employees.
The truth is HRMC is unclear, to say the least, as to which contractors could fall under IR35 hammer. With this level of ambiguity, IR35 insurances are special and handy policies that will assure you that you won’t be facing a potential investigation all alone.
HRMC can be a hard enquirer, so insurance companies thought of two different
insurance policies you should absolutely check. The first one is called defence only, which will cover basic tax enquiries and legal management in case that dreaded letter arrives at your door steps: legal experts will handle that matter for you.
The other one is named comprehensive and it doesn’t only cover
legal fees, but also any liability in case HRMC believes you should be held up
to IR35 ruling.
Since those demands can be in the order of the tens of thousand pounds, in my
opinion it’s better to be safe than sorry, and can also be an indicator of you
actually working on your own business, which a lot of your potential clients
might consider a good sign.
The answer to this question depends on your contract and the risk assessment. However, working on the IT field and handling sensitive information, I recommend at the very least Professional Indemnity Insurance, Public Liability and some sort of IR35 insurance (defence only or comprehensive).
The first one will protect you if you give advice that results in a financial loss to your client and the second one will cover you in case someone is injured or their property gets damaged as a result of your business. Besides, if you plan to run a company, even the smallest one will require Employers Liability Insurance as a legal obligation.
And why shouldn’t you think about it? If you are working independent you want to growing as much as possible, and being safe and prepared is the best way to do so.
Besides the ones we’ve already discussed, there’s a great variety of insurances to keep you safe from harm. In my opinion, being IT contractors, an IT equipment and laptop insurance should be mandatory: it covers you in case your trusty laptop breaks down and you have to replace it, or even if it gets lost or stolen.
Another interesting choice are Business Interruption insurance covers, that helps you in case you have to stop doing business for unforeseen reasons, such as damages to your equipment or buildings, protecting you from financial losses.
You should also consider Cyber and data risks insurance that protects you in case hackers breach into your system and leaks sensitive information, providing you legal representation and much needed reputation protection. And being an independent contractor, an Income Protection Cover is important to cover you in case you have to take some time off in case of illness or an accident.
Final Words on Contractor Insurance
The way I see it, insurances are an independent contractor’s much needed safety net: you don’t want to fall, but what happens if you do? After all those well-known scandals concerning information leaks and security breaches, IT field of work is in the eye of the public storm, and to make it worst, small companies and independent workers are more likely to be targeted by malicious hackers.
I find extremely useful to have an insurance policy in case unforeseen things go
wrong, and I believe no IT contractor should sign a contract without them. I
hope this article was useful to you and guide you towards making the safest
decision to keep your business running smoothly. What do you think about it?
Let me know in the comments if you liked it and feel free to share it with all
Contractors are seen as a short term investment with no employee benefits and limited rights. If your client wants to get rid of you, within reason you are gone.
Therefore, even though they seem that they are over paid, from a companies perspective, we are disposable assets, that they can bring in and get rid of based on project demand.
A question we want to comprehensively tackle in this article. If this is something you've been thinking about lately, well then, lucky for you because you happen to be just at the right place.
The main reason why contractors earn so much is because they charge more for their services than employees do. This is largely because contractors take on more risk due to the fact that they don't have secured full time positions, have other considerations like IR35, and have overheads they need to satisfy because they are self employed.
These overheads include the likes of income protection, insurance, unpaid holidays, critical illness, sickness downtime, unpaid holidays etc.
Another reason why they cost so much is because they have to consider "Bench Time". This is the period when a contractor has completed one assignment and is looking for another.
Undoubtedly, the most expensive part of the contractors life. Below we'll be determining which option really costs more.
Contrary to popular belief, it seems that the benefits factor doesn't really change much when it comes to permanent and contractual employment. Permanent employees get their dues even when on holiday, however the one with contractual payment doesn't.
Assuming the contractor and employee receives the same amount of holiday time, this eventually cancels out because the company accounts for the same cost yearly when making there payments.
When matters of sick pay are involved, most employers protect themselves by taking out some form of insurance. These costs are normally factored into the salary the employee is paid and accounts for an average risk level.
You, as a contractor, can get the exact same insurance these companies use, of which will align to your risks as you see fit and at a considerably lower fee at that.
A cost that is incurred exclusively and wholly because of your independent contractor business can be written off as a business expense. This basically means getting tax reliefs on these said costs.
Claiming these business expenses, some of which we are going to list for you below, could greatly reduce your tax bill, so you might want to understand them a bit if your thinking of getting into the contracting business.
The truth is, it depends on how long a contractor lasts. In the long term and employee is a larger investment for a company, because they cannot get rid of an employee very easy, and a contractor is given a defined end date.
The package given to each employee vastly increases the cost for an employee. You'll need to remember that the employee will become more and more expensive as time goes by.
The tax considerations involved will also help determine which option may generally cost more than the other. Each option has its own pros and cons when concerning matters of this nature.
Something that seems constant in the corporate world is that, more often than not, you will find that the permanent employee generally tends to dislike contractors.
It depends on where you go, and in some cases it can be very subtle. The most common excuse is that the pathological hatred comes about due to the jealousy the employee holds over the contractor. The big pay checks contractors receive is what gives rise to this jealousy.
Employees usually tend to feel that they work much longer and much harder than their contractor counterparts, however, still manage to earn considerably less for the same job as well as the skill sets required to accomplish the tasks involved in the said job.
Permanent employees should consider the fact that contractors have other responsibilities such as overhead costs and insurance policies to worry about. For the employee, these have already been taken care of by their employers
Many businesses, especially the small ones, rely a lot on freelance workers and independent contractors because they usually prove more flexible and because these business owners have the assumption that the costs involved with this option are relatively cheaper than those of permanent employment.
Hopefully, this lengthy article, has led you to the realisation that determining which option is more expensive than the other involves quite a number of mitigating factors.
It will sometimes look like the independent contractor is more expensive to employ, however, you must remember that the permanent employee will inevitably become more expensive as time passes on.
This subject is one that is generally complex in nature and depends largely on individual situations. What most companies should do is to provide solid framework systems that cover everyone, including the independent contractors.
Hopefully, you now have an idea of what really determines the cost of employing independent contractors. If you feel that you might have something more to add, please do not hesitate to share your views. Tell us how you feel and don't forget to share.
But before you head of, lets dig a bit deeper...
Employees have been considered as an essential asset to companies since the begining of time, well not quit, but you get me.
When you start a company, you can run it alone, but soon, ones sales go up, you will run out of time and become the bottleneck. You need some manpower to enable you to run the company effectively. This is one reason why companies need employees and contractors for that matter.
This is common to all companies including IT companies. Surprisingly, you will find that nowadays, many IT companies prefer to have contractors instead of employees.
But why is that?
I know that the question that is ringing in your mind is, “why would a company opt to hire contractors in place of employees?” this article will help you understand why this is happening and what are the reasons behind it. Read ahead to gain more insights.
In company finance you have two major expenses, Operating expenditure ("Opex") and Capital expenditure ("Capex"). Employees fall under the Opex category. And as discussed earlier, in the long term, can cost the company more.
If a company is under financial stress, and need to reduce head count, they may consider replacing long term employees with short term expensive contrators. Just so they can do the project, then got rid of.
That is the theory, but in reality, who knows when those contractors will go, IT projects are notoriously delivered late and contractors soon become valuable assets in delivering the project.
When a company is working with employees, it has to pay higher taxes to the
government. When they hire contractors, the taxes are less. This saves the
Employees need medical insurances while working with
companies. The company has to cater for these insurances. When the company hires contractors instead of employees, this expense is evaded. They can simply search on LinkedIn and look for a new potential short fix replacement.
It is possible for companies to work with only the CEO, contractor, subcontractor and even interns. With no employees at all. This gives the company flexibility.
The CEO only allocates work to the contractors. Since the company pays the
contractor to do the work, one does not need to stress him/ herself about
infrastructure, and equipment.
The contractor does the work given to him/ her using his/ her equipment. The company does not need to pay taxes for the equipment or the contractors. The only disadvantage would be lack of these contractors due to the location of the company. If a company is located in a cosmopolitan area, then they will get the desired contracting workforce because it will be large and huge.
An IT contractor works in their area of expertise. There no magic button that you can press and all of a sudden you become an IT contractor. If you have no skill in the area you want to have the contract, then there is a big possibility that
you are not going to be contracted by any one company.
You need to be very certain that there are so many people out there who are looking for the skill that you have. There is also need to understand whether or not after two years, your skill will still be marketable.
To be a contractor, you need to be ready to look for jobs on your own and also pay your taxes. You should ask yourself whether or not you are ready for this. Remember that you are hired for your skills.
Remember that people that are hiring contractors want to get the best skills in their work. They will look at your curriculum vitae to certain that you are worth the job.
As a company hires contractors, they know that they already are familiar with the job, and hence they do not need to be guided in any way. If you are thinking of being a contractor with no expertise, then I assure you are wrong. You need to first work on your skill before you can ever be an adequate contractor.
Do I need liability insurance? The answer is yes; you need liability insurance. Liability insurance will protect you against any claims that may be made against you, regarding your employee.
In some contractors, you may find that will not start your contract without it. And, in some cases, only a certain minimum amount of cover is acceptable.
It's good to be safe. If you lack a liability insurance cover and you are supposed to be having it, the penalties are very severe. Instead of taking this risk of having to pay very big fines, why don't you get your liability insurance cover as an IT contractor?
The question is, is hiring contractors better than hiring employees? Well, it matters with the gap that you want the contractor to fill. If you need some short-term work done, then go for them. If it's a long-term position, this might not be the best idea to make.
From my experiences, companies usually believe contractors are an excellent "quick fix", to get a project done. But for you and me, this is great. Because we both know, there is a good chance the contract will take a lot longer than what was originally expected.
Is IT Contracting better than a Permanent Job, I personally think so, yes. But please understand, it is not for everyone. For me, it is ideal, and there is a good chance it could be for you.
Understanding IT employment is one challenge IT experts face on a daily basis. While employers want to know where to get the right talent that will give them the most out of their bucks, IT experts have to deal with deciding whether IT contracting is better than getting an IT job on a permanent basis.
However, there isn’t a list of roles that IT experts use to choose on whether a contract is better than a permanent role. More often, companies needs and the overall goal is what determines who they need. Still, the question remains, is IT contracting better than a permanent job? Let us talk this through.
IT contractors make more money than those on a permanent basis. The reason behind this is that you get to set your charging rate. The more you charge, the better you earn; meaning you take home more than permanent IT employees.
IT contractors also get to deduct their expenses as well as pay less in taxes. Well, as a contractor, you won’t enjoy the sick pay, pension, holiday pay, maternity pay, and other benefits.
Although there are other additional costs, you still earn more than permanent employees.
There are other things that make a contractor earn more than an employee. Things like claiming expenses for all work-related equipment like laptops, broadband connections, office equipment, and mobile phones and so on. An IT contractor can also offset their input VAT changed, representing more discount compared to employees.
So it’s clear, you can earn more as an IT contractor than what you will make as an employee.
Accepting a job as an IT contractor earns you more money, but challenging at the same time. The primary goal of every person seeking employment, whether on a permanent or on a contract basis is saving money?
Understanding the pros and cons of an independent IT contractor will answer the question whether you need to save money as a contractor or not.
A contractor is usually not paid for certain things. Most IT contractors do not pay for vacation days and 401k matches.
When you call in sick or don’t work because of holidays, you will not be paid. Although you benefit from lower taxes and other things, you have to pay for your health insurance and other insurances.
The payments you cater for leaves you with one option, save money to pay for your insurance as well as pension, and other policies including your vacations and sick days.
Does IT contracting involve the payment of taxes? The answer is yes, although there are other things you need to take into consideration. The way you pay your tax matters most.
A contractor is a self-employed individual. According to IRS (Internal Revenue-Service) official website, self-employed individuals must pay a self-employment tax and income tax.
To figure out what you will be required to pay, the websites states that you need to understand your net profit or loss out of your business even before you can determine the extent to which you are subject to the self-empowerment and income tax.
As expected, this is done by deducting expenses from your income. Read through and know your rights.
Despite the above requirement by the IRS, should a contractor pays less than a permanent employee or should they be taxed the same as permanent employees?
When comparing permanent IT employees to contractors using the tax table, a permanent employee is paid $40, 000 as salary. When this is the case, the gross earnings will be $30,480 per month after NI as well as tax deductions. On the other hand, a contractor takes home $35,893 for the same payment.
A big part of being an IT contractor is making your own decision. It’s a giant step that needs to be taken seriously.
However, sometimes failure is inevitable. As much as we would like to be self-employed, some mistakes and false starts can lead you back to being an employee.
Although coming back to a world of policy after being in a free and more corporate environment can be difficult, it does happen. Most of us strive to become contractors, but getting that ideal permanent position after you fail as a contractor is an option.
For some people, preparation is the key. People who have been contractors have more experience than other employees. If you are a contractor, you most certainly have worked with a lot of companies, different systems, people, and process.
With the experience, you know which process and systems that have worked and the one that flopped. Use the experience to get work as a permanent employee. Also, consider taking a “Bridge job” as part of your preparation.
The life of an IT contractor is alluring. You get to work flexible hours and accept jobs you like. As an IT contractor, there is an opportunity for IT contracts from NGOs as well as government, companies and even individuals.
The period of a contract depends on the person offering them to you. For example, government IT contracts seem to last longer than individual IT contracts. Knowing the average time an IT contract can last is not easy as there are many fields when it comes to IT industry.
Most companies use standard team and conditions when offering IT contracts to contractors. For instance, we have noticed that company’s offer at least 6 to 12 months it contracts on average. The contracts can be less than 6 months or more depending on the nature of work, your skills and experience and the company offering them.
The answer to the question, "is IT contracting better than a permanent job?’’, in my opinion, yes. But it is not for everyone.
The fact that you manage yourself and your finances is the reason why being an IT contractor is better than a permanent job.
Sometimes failure is inevitable and going back to full-time employment might be your final solution. The dynamics of being an IT contractor has become increasingly popular.
As the market continues to grow, preparing yourself both as a contractor and permanent employee is the best option. If you think there is more that should be added to the list, comment below, like and share with others.
Before you go, lets go a bit deeper, If you decide to make that plunge, you will need some assistance on finding the best contract, lets go into this with more detail....
There are many people out there who are searching for manual testing contracting jobs. Many are asking the all-too important question, "How Can I Find Manual Testing Contracting Jobs?’’.
If you find pleasure in finding and fixing bugs in coding and programming, you are most suited for manual testing contracting jobs, for the simple reason that these jobs involve the basic testing of software manually. As a tester, you act as an end user where you have to follow a test plan that gets you to a set of other test cases.
Here is what you need to know before applying for a manual test contracting job:
As a manual tester of software, your role in the creating and the success of any software system you are testing is integral. You are involved in software development and deployment. The process includes analyzing software and systems in a bid to prevent or avert any software issues.
For instance, software testing is done from requirement specifications to coding, design and all the way to acceptance. The amount of experience you need depends on where you will be based and the company and software requirements.
You need experience in things like:
Smaller organizations may have a central team of testers working on multiple projects while large organization may need a software tester dedicated to only one project.
Depending on the company, you need to have some experience before finding a job.
If you are applying for simple testing jobs, the amount of specific qualifications you need might not be a big issue. Since the manual testing contracting job is more about software testing, subsequent development and quality control, you need to have some specific qualification if you are dealing with complex software structures.
Here are specific qualifications you should have before applying for a manual testing contracting job:
You also need to have a degree in IT or computer science. However, the role of a manual testing contraction expects is open to graduates with a degree in the following disciplines:
These are just some of the work you will do as a manual testing contracting expert, meaning specific qualifications are needed to accomplish your task.
Once you have the qualifications and experience needed, there are other things to put into consideration. Knowing if the employer will wait for your 30 day notice period is vital. This is something you need to check before you assign any contracting job and an employer.
According to Graduate Land, it’s important to check notice period before signing a contract.
With that said, for an employer to wait for 30 days before you can join them might seem like an eternity to them and to you as well. This is especially if you already found your dream job.
Many companies have that notice period before you can resign from your position. The period can be one week to 3 months. The chances are that the same company that has employed you having the same policy is high. Since the employer will always choose the best candidate for their positions, they are willing to wait for the 30 day notice period before you can join them.
Regardless of whether you have found a new job or not, the question of whether to tell your boss you are thinking of leaving or not is something you should consider.
Here are some questions to need to ask yourself before making a decision:
Remember, no one is obligated to tell their boss that they are thinking about leaving. It’s a personal decision that needs to should be taken seriously. However, if the answers to the above questions are positive, then it’s a good idea to speak to your boss.
Tell them what you are thinking to prevent damaging the relationship you have built for many years. Since this is a touchy subject, telling or not telling could hurt or help your career depending on the circumstances and situation.
A good CV is part of the process of how to find manual testing contracting jobs. In today’s software testing industry, writing a good CV is comparable to literally selling your proficiencies, skills, and talents. Learn how to write a good CV from various sourcing on the internet. Also do not neglect setting up a powerful LinkedIn profile.
For instance sites like Wikihow, offer a step to step guide on how to create a good CV. It also provides you with free samples CV you can use to compare with.
Other sites where you can learn to create good CVs include:
These are just some of the sites where you can learn to create a CV that will earn you that dream manual testing contracting job you have been searching for.
Finding a manual testing contracting job is not difficult as long as you have the specific requirement and experience needed. An ultimate manual tester is employed to find issues and bugs with a project before it’s deployed to users.
Also, remember, if you are still wondering if contracting is better than a permanent job, it largely depends on your appetite for risk, such as dealing with IR35 and tax issues, hunger for a higher pay and personal confidence in your skills.
Is there anything you would like to add? Leave your comment below and lets us know what you think.
A permanent job offers a sense of safety, comfort and a secure future. Nevertheless, we see people constantly taking the plunge into contract jobs, leaving their permanent position behind. So why do people do that?
Leaving something so safe and swimming into something perceived as an abyss of the unknown!
According to ITContractorsUK , the number of self-employed professionals has increased by around 43% in the UK.
Well, as someone who has been working as a contractor for over ten years, I can tell you that it had its rewards. As a contractor, I have been rewarded with higher pay, a network of clients, flexible work hours, and much more challenging work. The decision wasn’t easy, nor was it made in haste, but it was worth it.
So, you are ready to leap into the contracting world? The first step is to understand and plan the transition. Ask yourself this question: “how do I transition from a permanent job to a contract job?”
If this is waht you are looking for, you have come to the right place! Here are few tips that will help you make the transition successfully.
Polish your CV as much as possible with insights and advice from people willing to help you. Here is one thing that I learned the hard way: loads of people will be willing to give you free advice, but advice from people who have done it before extensively will help you most.
Honestly, the best thing you can do is get an example CV from a couple of established contractors, who have actually got contracts and have had regular work. Easier said than done, I know. But if you can, make that your plan A.
Talk to experienced contractors and learn from the success and horror stories they are willing to share. Growing a network of like-minded people at the start is key to preparing for the contracting world.
Most importantly, do your research on the current scenario in the market. Sharpen your skills. Get yourself acquainted with all the latest practices, standards, techniques, and technologies.
You need to be armed with a polished CV that is short, focused, and highlights your strength. You may even need to customise it for a more targeted approach towards specific clients.
Promote your profile on the contract job boards available in the market. You can make use of agencies or professional networks to get this done. You’ll need to follow-up with agencies and clients regularly to secure an interview.
Once you have secured the client interview, research what they do, what they need, and all the latest news related to them.
Be proactive in the meeting. Take time to understand the issues they are facing and show them how your skills can help tackle these issues successfully. The right pitch will help you come to an agreement on the rates with the client and close the deal swiftly.
I won’t recommend quitting the permanent job impulsively without a proper base. Lay a strong foundation and secure your position setting up as a contractor as you plan your exit.
Now the client may (or in most cases, will) not wait for you for three long months of the notice period, or even 30 days. Also, you don’t want to put yourself in a bad light in front of your employers.
You may need a positive reference from them. Talk to your boss, come up with a plan in which you can wind-down professionally with a phased handover, resulting in a shorter notice period.
Handing over notice period without any contracts in hand may be risky, but if you have done your research and preparations correctly, you will have no problems securing contracts after job.
Think of it this way, worse comes to the worst, you can go back to where you came from before or get another permy gig.
One cheeky technique I used, which minimises risk, but might upset a few agents, is I secured a perm position first, handed in my months notice, then kept looking for contract roles.
I actually landed a contract offer in that month window and took that offer instead. I figured worst comes to the worse, I will take the permanent role.
You don’t need to go all solo here! You can use an umbrella company or set up a Private Limited company. In fact I started out with an umbrella. Then later on I moved to a company.
Using an umbrella company will take away the headache of taxes, payroll, accounts, and VAT returns from you. Another vital benefit that an umbrella company offers is it might free you from IR35 worries as well. Less financial and administration annoyance will allow you to focus more on getting the work done, and rake in more money.
Setting up a limited company has its own benefits as well. A limited company will help you gain credibility with new clients, help you claim more expenses (compared to umbrella company).
It will also offer limited liability protection in case things don’t work out as planned. The only downside to this is you’ll be loaded with lots of paperwork and administrative responsibilities as well.
Choose your company set up based on your circumstances and requirements. Contractors prefer limited company for a long-term plan. If you don’t want to take too many risks in the initial stage, an umbrella company offers a viable short-term solution.
No contractor is perfect. When you start out as a contractor, mistakes are bound to happen. Don’t you agree with me when I say that it's better to be safe than sorry?
A professional insurance adviser can help you with a policy tailored to your business needs. Sound business insurance can provide financial protection as well as liability cover, and ensure IR35 compliance.
In fact you may find that it is mandatory before you are allowed to start some contracts.
Whatever you do, do not procrastinate on if you may or may not fail. Consider the possibility that you have worked as a contractor for three months, and you are out of contract. What do you do next? One option that can be considered is getting back to the old permanent job, simple.
That is a viable option, for the time being at least if you are out of resources and investment. Accumulate the resources and capital required over a period and then come back again. If money is not an immediate issue, it’s time to reflect on the following:
It’s easy to get discouraged when things don’t work out. The key is not to get frustrated.
I often find motivation by studying entrepreneurs who failed spectacularly before becoming successful.
I’ll be honest! I was worried about failure in my first contract! I actually got lucky and started with a really nice contract with great people, in fact if it wasn't for the location, I would of stayed a lot longer.
The key, for me, to a successful transition from permanent job to a successful contract job was a measured, an organised, and a customer-centric approach.
If your question before reading this article was “how do I transition from a permanent job to a contract job?’’, I hope this article answered that question. Just remember you stand a good chance of earning a lot more as a contractor.
Before you go, lets go a bit deeper, with sone Contacting best practices:
Working as software testers, we all can benefit knowing the best software testing practises. If we ask ourselves what the best practises are, the answer is not very clear, and in some cases subjective.
The truth is that there are many and many practises which can be easily used for testing software. Also, it depends on a certain project.
Naturally, every project is different and unique, therefore we cannot always
apply the same set of software testing practises. Luckily, there are few
practises which we can apply as transferable no matter what project we try to
In this article we will give you the insight into 5 software testing contracting best practises which will make you be a successful IT contractor in demand.
To understand a whole project sounds super simple, but is the most important practise you need to do as the first step of your software testing.
You will notice that the most valued workers, permy or contract, are the ones that have the most knowledge. If you are most valued you can set your own day rate and last a lot longer than any other tester, simply because you can become a valuable asset to the business, or as they say, "The Guru".
You also have to see the project from different perspectives (e.g. business or technical) to be able to get the right idea what exactly is expected from you. Do you have any question? Ask right away at the beginning.
The overall project objective understanding is crucial when you work in a team. Every team member has to their role and what part they take in a project but it is also absolutely necessary that you understand others’ job too.
Why? Because when there is any defect ascertained, you can
actively refer to this problem and help solve it out a lot faster.
When you are a part of bigger testing team, don’t hide behind the walls and proactively communicate with other team members on daily basis.
Why is communication within a testing team so crucial? Imagine a situation when there is a defect repaired by someone who works in a different department.
You can help triage and resolve an issue faster, by having that in-depth knowledge.
Basically, this practise you can apply on anything, really. If you want
to be a successful IT tester, you need to have a good plan. The right
planning and timing of tasks is everything.
You can make notes on paper, type them down on your laptop and make a time schedule which helps you finishes your project on time. It is important to know what sources and tools you will use.
Have a test schedule ready to use. Moreover, you have to identify all risks you might come across. Identifying all possible risks will prevent you from slowing down your workflow and will keep your healthy work pace.
The last but not least thing you have to do before you start working on your project is to find a suitable strategy and define it in details step by step how you will deliver a project in the best possible way. Planning strategy will help you
avoid unnecessary mistakes.
Now, when you have defined your work plan and work strategy, you might
know about a project scenario.
You barely can skip this step as it is crucial to test scenarios and several reviews. Do you remember I previously mentioned how good when you look at an overall project from different perspectives is?
So, this is exactly what I was trying to say by that. It is very useful and
practical when you have reviews from business perspective. Stakeholders often
see project scenarios from different point of view than a testing team. Reviews
boost your confidence with testing scenarios and ensure the tester´s
We are sure that as an IT expert you understand that every project is
unique in its own way. There are non-transferable universal tests you can apply
anytime. Unfortunately, software testing does not work this way.
In order to deliver the best project you have to develop many different types of tests. That includes positive and negative tests. When you start the test execution, you have to test data, too. When you identify the data, you might use several sources to get the data from, transform them or deliver them in different
This situation can cause few problems and slows down your workflow.
Thus, it is more than useful to identify data clearly even before the test
execution phase is started and get all the data ready for the
You know very well how much time you spent on each project. You tried to
finish them smoothly according to your time schedule while still keeping your
workflow and quality pretty high.
You know how much effort and energy you put in every project. So, what if we tell you that in your next project you can save some time and energy by using a template or trying to apply the automate script.
First of all, try to find what causes you the biggest pain and consumes
the most of your time and secondly, have a think about the automation of this
area. How would you make it easier and quit the manual? What do you have to do to make it work? Sometimes you are lucky enough to find the automation during the execution part and that is pretty sweet, isn’t it?
If you really want to be a top IT expert, you better keep our 5
practises in your mind.
Of course, there is no need to use all of them in one project but they surely will make your life much easier, save you time and energy which you can devote to other activities such as relax, building your portfolio or searching for new clients.
Transitioning from a permanent employee t a contractor is challenging, but when you do get there, you need to make sure you become a great contractor so you can have a long career in the game.
The difference between a face-to-face interview and phone interview is not much. In fact, the goal for both interviews are the same and that is to provide the interviewer with evidence that their criteria are met.
In phone interviews, your voice is the only channel you are using. Therefore, the quality of your voice should reflect your emotional being and can influence the result of the interview.
A phone interview is part of the selection process and usually comes after the candidate is shortlisted. It is a deciding factor whether you will proceed with the next interview or in some cases whether you are awarded the contract.
You have to ace this interview and to better prepare you for your phone interview, this article provides the guide for you to stand on a good stead whether you are applying for a local or international contract.
By taking note of these basic fundamentals, you are now ready to take your phone interview.
Whether you are the interviewee or the interviewer, you must also know the top five questions that IT Contractor asks when they are conducting the phone interview, obviously permanent employees could use these tips too, but it is even more vital for contractors.
This will prepare both the parties in navigating through the phone interview and getting what they want out of the exercise.
A common IT contractor interview features a lot of questions to probe the candidate competency. To have a better picture, we have grouped together the IT contractor interviews into groups.
There are the standard questions, which are common in most job interviews. There are the Curve Ball IT questions that are sometimes not asked at all. The answer to the curved ball question will show whether the candidate has thoroughly researched about the company they want to get into.
There are also conversational questions wherein the skills of an IT contractor will be put to test. Most of these questions are skill based and allows a back and forth conversation between the two parties.
You must be able to recall a relevant experience in trying to prove your competency. In addition, there is also an in-depth look into
the competency of the interviewee. Senior management most often does the
competency-style type of interviewing.
It is hard to predict the questions that you will be asked on your phone interview, but to help you navigate the
interview we have compiled the five IT Contractor interview questions that are
frequently asked during interviews.
Here are the lists of these questions that might help you get that contract on your next phone interview.
The questions listed above are merely scratching the surface and as of this writing may have mutated into probing the candidate further to get to know them better. The contract market is fast and furious and if you are not prepared to take the phone interview, you will be eliminated fast!
The best tool in acing a phone interview is to practice with these questions because it is not all about technology specific questions. The weight of the decision in granting you the contract relies more on your attitude and behaviour.
A software tester is a person who tests the software built by other developers and finds the bugs and problems in the codes, and fixes them for the developers. They are skilled in software engineering.
A software tester is an important person for developers because they are the ones who make sure that the software developed by the developers meet the intended requirements and meet the usages of the targeted audience.
There are many software testers and software engineers. Not many people, outside of the IT industry really understand what a tester really does, the motivation for taking the role or the benefits of being a software tester.
Whether you are a software tester or willing to become one, here are the 5 reasons why you should consider a software testing contracting as a career:
As we know, there are thousands of software developers. You can find software for everything, be it food services, financial services or insurance, they all require software. As the number of developers and the requirement of software has increased, there is an increasing need for Software testers too. In fact, there is a high demand for software testers.
The career opportunities are increasing and it would be easier to get a job. You don't necessarily have to be working for a company. What awaits you is a prosperous career with a high paying day rate and you will be in good demand by companies. You can even get a managerial post. All you need to do is to work hard.
You don't need to worry about the job being so boring like other jobs that you find. Many people quit jobs because they are fed up with doing the same thing again and again.
But a career of a software tester is so different. It is challenging. It is not always the same. There are many puzzles and problems to solve. If you don't want to have a boring job, then Software testing is the best career option for you.
You won't find it to be boring. You will face difficult situations and needed to solve them which make it more complex and challenging. You need to view the software in different perspectives and different angles. But the satisfaction that you get after fixing the defects and completing the project is incomparable. This is a professional career which needs thinking skills and logical skills along with the knowledge in software engineering.
It is a constant-learning career. There is always more to learn in a software testing career. You will come across different types of software and methodologies.
By testing and fixing the software you are learning new skills. You learn from each mistake you make and this will act as a knowledge bank when you do the testing next time. There will always be a team behind you to support you and ensure that you have all proper resources to learn.
You will be continuously growing and learn, thus improving your experiences and thus raising the chances for higher positions and better jobs from big companies. It throws challenges at you. You need to stretch your mind and think of different ways to find solutions. It is also about generating ideas. It is the only field in IT where you need to find different solutions and ideas and apply them to do your work.
You don't need to always work for someone without taking pride in what you have done. That is what generally happens for other kinds of jobs. They work and then they leave. They are not doing anything great. But for a software tester, you are going to help your company build a better product. You have the right to be proud of what you have done for the company or the people you work for.
If you want to do something different and become a person whom the team members values, then software testing contracting is the best career option for you. You make the impact on the project of the company daily. You will be an important and crucial member of the company. You decide the limit. You are in demand. So you will have more significance among others. There is a misconception that everyone can test. And thus the tester is having a rewarding career with satisfaction and happiness.
Software testers have a very strong community for them. They interact and discuss the problems faced. There are many members in the communities in Linked in and Stack Overflow to Twitter. They all have each other's back. They enjoy themselves by making new friends, discussing and also sharing their thoughts and messaging the members in their free time. The community is strong and insanely supportive and robust.
You won't face any problems while working. If you can't solve a problem, you can ask in the community, and members who have experienced similar challenges and who have found the solution for that will answer your query and you can get going.
The members always give a positive vibe while working. These communities are proven to be a real life saver, with motivations and job discussions. You will find many likeminded people. Sometimes these communities conduct gatherings for the members to relax and take a break from the work environment.
Software testing contracting is an amazing career for those with good analytic skills. A software tester can have a very good career life with daily challenges to keep you engaged.
Another major thing is, it pays really well. As long as you can keep in work, the rates are lucrative, scope to increase your rate, you can claim expenses, and gives you a great opportunity to provide for your family.
This career gives you a creative and challenging work experience and to support you with more resources to learn, you will have your team behind you.
Did you enjoy this piece of information? Was this valuable to you? Please let me know your opinions in the comment section below.
It was a long drive, I finanly got out of my 8 year old car, happy that it got me to the interview on time and in one piece. This was my first interview as a contractor and I had no idea what to expect, let alone how much I am worth.
2 days later, I got a call back saying they like me, and want to over me a 3 month contract. The next question was, "what is your rate?".
In all honesty I had no idea what to say, the agent gave me a typical range, and I decided to say somewhere in the middle. He said fine all to quickly, meaning he was happy because he got me at a rate that was lower than he was expcting.
If I was to do that again, after the years of experience I have now, I would have taken time to research the market and see my market rate. Once I established that, considering I was new to contracting, I would have pitched myself close to that.
Once you are established, you can obvioulsly go higher based on your skills and how closely it matches the role. The reality is, if the company has spent money on interviewing you, and made you an offer, they want to land you as soon as possible. Finding a good candidate is time consuming and costly for them, remember that.
Other things to consider before you make the plunge:
Being an IT contractor means you are self-employed. Have you ever come across the term IR35? If no, then it is high time you know what it is in order to
prosper in this field. Paying taxes is very important. Whether one is employed
or works as self-proprietor.
IR35 was designed to ensure that those working as self-employed do not evade paying taxes. The IR35 applies to limited companies and those who offer their services by the use of broker or middlemen.
The emergence of disguised employment by most of the organization led to the creation of ir35. Disguised employment is where a company employee works on a contract with the company by the use of the middlemen.
As an IT contractor. Knowledge of IR35 is vital as it brings to your mind that you will never evade taxes. By not evading taxes, you have to set your rates having at the back your mind that what you have set will sustain you after the tax-man has gone with his share.
After discussing IR35 brings me to another important question that a lot of new contractors ask, How can l increase my rates?
Increasing your rates as an IT contractor is important to maximising your potential income. Two factors should come into your mind when thinking of how to maximize your potential income.
First, it is important to understand the factors influencing the demand for your services.
Second, what is your personal potential to command a higher rate? This is based on the value you bring to the game.
Let us begin by looking at these factors :
After knowing some of the things to bare at the back of your mind on increasing the rate. Another vital question arises, as an IT contractor. Your work basically is based on contract. No permanent employment.
You may sign a contract with a given company. Start working, in the due working process or after the end of your contract, the company management may be impressed with your work. They may decide to prolong your task. This is what referred to as a contract extension. It entails extending your end date to secure more work.
In my experience I have known some contractors working at companies, on contract, longer than the employees, so it can be good practice to keep the client sweet to secure more work.
Working hard, receiving good recommendations from various people and contract extensions from various companies. is a sign of a positive growth, more cash is flowing into your business.
With the steady inflow of money into your business. There may be a need to employ someone who will help you in the management of your cash.
In my opinion, an accountant is best practise, it will save you a lot of headache and they can help you identify things that you may have overlooked.
Being a freelance or a self-employed person. The question, do contractors get raise? May sound ambiguous. Why? Because you are not permanently employed by someone.
But my answer is yes. But it really is in the form of rate increases, typically negotiated on an extension (see above).
Knowing how much to charge is just one part of the puzzle, understanding how to to structure your business, claim expenses, growing and retain your income are also important parts to master with the right knowledge and experience of contracting.
Once you master what to charge, the next challenge is understating how to negotiate a rate increase.
You may believe that you know about IT contracting and everything related to it. But do you know the 5 ways to negotiate a rate increase as an IT contractor? Don't worry, I've got you covered. We will be discussing that in this article.
As an IT contractor, negotiation is a vital stage in your career. Negotiation depends on several factors like your keenness to do the work, your skills, and experience, the demand as well as the complexity of the work. But whenever you negotiate, you should weigh the opportunity cost and ensure it is fairly higher. At the very least, never negotiate against yourself.
Let's begin the discussion, shall we?
It is never advisable to ask for a raise for the sake of it. It is very important to consider yourself as a client and think about whether it is really worth giving a raise to the contractor. This is our first and indeed most important point. You should have a valid reason for asking for the raise. Because nobody can get a raise without proving they deserve it. It is not that easy. When you are paying a dollar, it needs to be worthy.
So make sure that you deserve this raise before you ask the client for it, because there is a chance that the client will cancel the offer. If you have enough experience and skills to show your client as well as any previous works that you have done, and any good achievements, do not shy off from showing it as it will really count. The negotiation will also affect the competency in the market. Don't just wait for another offer with a higher payment, because that won't happen all the time. So make sure to utilize all the opportunities.
Whatever you do, for any price it is, always ensure to deliver quality work. Never compromise on quality, because that defines who you really are. Therefore, no matter what the payment is, if the quality is good, that will make a good reference for yourself. Always ensure the quality of your work is impeccable.
The more you provide a better outcome, the more the client will value your service. They will eventually become a regular client, then you can ask for a raise, considering the services that you have done so far because they will now be more dependent on you. Though you might have the skills, it might not expressly qualify you for a raise. What is important is to achieve the results. The rule of thumb is to always work for a good reference because that is what going to get you more offers from more clients. Always try to get the best results, no matter what’s at stake.
Often large contracts mean that you might even crossover the roles such that you might be doing what you didn't expect to do. It is often possible that you end up doing things that you didn't offer in the contract. As we know, flexibility is good, but always sure that you get paid for everything that you do.
You don't want to work for free so make a list of what you have done while working on the project. Mention them to the client while submitting the project and ask for the payment for the works done. If possible, ask the details and ensure you see to it that the employer is very specific about the tasks. There is no harm in telling the employer that anything else done other than the mentioned tasks would be considered as extras and should be paid for as such. This will help you in assured payment.
Another angle on this, is just getting on and doing this work, but keeping a note of the extra tasks you are taking on. Then when it comes to negotiation, you can use these extra tasks to justify the rate increase.
For an IT contractor, it is important to choose the right time to negotiate. Choosing the right time to approach the employer is vital.
For instance, you can't ask the employer for a raise during a time of recession or in any other situation where they are running short of money. Similarly, you can't ask for a raise within a few weeks of your recruitment. This is because it is more or less like asking too much without even deserving it.
Remember, there is a time that is required to prove your skills and quality of work, to the employer. So after achieving the set goals and objectives, it is okay to ask for a raise.
It is always better if you have a justification to get the raise and the general convention is that you approach your employer four to six weeks before the ending of the previous contract. This will give you enough time for you to show your works and skills and also get you the time to negotiate before the contract gets renewed.
If you ask for a raise and you happen to get a 'No' from the employer's side, then you will have two option to consider. If they can't provide the raise because they can't afford to pay you a higher amount of increased overheads, you better take that offer and notify them about having a conversation when times are better.
On the other hand, you can just resign from the job stating that it is not good enough for you. But the important thing to remember is that you need to be prepared for the outcome of this decision too.
If you are planning to resign, then you better find an alternate project or work, so that you can turn down the project confidently. You need to work yourself out the solution first as being idle is not good for an IT contractor. Remember that while the alternative job will take care of the rents and payments, securing it might not be easy without the points that we mentioned before.
Before you negotiate, be sure of what you want, what you deserve, and also be ready to walk away if you need to. If not, then don't ask for another chance at negotiation. I would say that handling the scenario without affecting the relationship between you and the employer is most preferred.
Value your employer the most. Don't trouble them in their hardest times. Just make sure to ask for the negotiation at the right time.
The above-discussed points form the golden rules when thinking of the best ways to negotiate a rate increase as an IT contractor. I believe this discussion will help you figure out the problems and confusions that most of you were facing. I hope it has given a clear view of what you required.
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In my early days of contracting, I will be honest, I really didn't fully understand expenses. I was booking expensive hotel accommodation, eating hotel breakfast and didn't really grasp that my own company was picking up the bill. After experience in contracting I learned more about this. So my aim is to help you save the headache I had learning, without the years of contract experience, with this article.
So the important question that we are going to discuss is can IT contractors claim expenses? And the short answer for it is yes, IT contractors can claim business expenses. As a matter of fact, it is one of the main benefits of an IT contractor.
Business expenses are the money or costs incurred while doing business and these can be claimed as an expense. You don't have to pay tax on the amount. You will have to pay some money at first for your business, but then your company will reimburse you.
So let us begin with discussing 5 reasons why you should consider software testing contracting as a career, of course, basing our arguments on the possibility of claiming their expenses.
Contractors face difficulty in getting a mortgage when compared to the full-time workers, but of course, you can get a mortgage as an IT contractor. When you walk into a high-street bank for a mortgage, you will more than likely have a sad experience, because they focus more on full-time job workers. Even if you have a large income and solid documentation for that income, you will not be able to get a mortgage from that bank.
But then, some banks are still prepared to give you a mortgage agreement in Principle. The mortgage providers calculate the annual income from the money you get per hour or per day, and with that income, they come to a choice of a contractor. Select the best scheme for you. Some mortgage schemes allow you to overpay while you work and then to use the equity when you are not working.
Just as in the case of a mortgage, it is unlikely for IT contractors to get maternity pay, when compared to normal workers. In fact you may as well assume that will never happen.
While you enjoy the full freedom as freelancers, life takes a twist and turn when you decide to settle and have a family. According to Victoria Phillips, head of employment rights at Thomsons Solicitors, you can get maternity pay only if you are entitled as an employee rather than a contract worker.
Contractors can receive a bonus while staying outside IR35. However, a simple word in the documentation can ruin your IR35 investigation. For example, according to contractorcalculator, if you mention bonus as 'bonus', it is deemed as a term for regular employees.
So a contractor needs to be careful with their paperwork.It is also important to professionally review your IR35 status by experts.
Apart from the terminology, it is important how you accept a contract with an automatic payment of 'bonuses'. Another thing to note is that you can't get bonuses in the period of the contract because it is implied that you are doing work in exchange for the incentive payment. T
Yes, contractors can get redundancy payment. The ruling can be used by IT contractors with fixed-term contracts of four or more years. If the employer fails to renew the contract after four or more years, then the contractor can get redundancy pay. An employee has to be made redundant by the employer, for getting redundancy. Just understand that a fixed term contract is different to the conventional contractor with his own company.
A contractor with his own small company or director of a company can claim himself as redundant but is still not going to work. And if the contractor agrees to the contract with a higher payment, they should agree upon not leaving or resigning to claim the redundancy pay.
These are the conditions to get redundancy pay:
Evidence that the contractors were expected to turn up at work and be provided with work Proof they were only allowed to work for the same employer
The existence of an employee working for the same employer in a comparable job Agency workers are unable to claim redundancy under the regulations
Attending a Christmas party is a potential issue with IR35. There has been well-known test cases that tend to suggest that this simple invitation can be be deemed as an invite to an employee.
Politically, it is good to accept and network at a Christmas do. It makes you feel like part of the team and build a bond with your co-workers. But it may be worth considering paying for this, so it is not seen as a an employee benefit.
Being a contractor is very lucrative, but you have to understand that the negatives are you really don't get any holiday or sick pay, along with other employee benefits. That is the risk vs reward of being a contractor.
A great benefit for contractors is claiming allowable expenses. This is a great way to reduce your tax and cover your expenses.
I had the feeling that everyone should know these best practices. Because there are very few articles or blog posts available on the internet based on this topic.
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When I first started contracting back in 2007 as a Test Analyst, I was battling with the thoughts, "Do I have enough experience to do this?". Then I met up with one of my ex colleages in a local chicken shop, we love these chicken shops in the UK, well at least we do.
He was explaining to me how he was planning to by a second hand Porsche in cash from the savings he made from IT contracting. I was gobsmacked! Here I was with just enough to pay for the chicken lunch and he was doing very well.
The thing that really got to me, I worked with him for years as a graduate tester on a permanent salary, and I knew I was just as good as him, if not better. It just made me feel, if he can do it, so can I.
The idea of becoming a contractor is appealing and enthusiastic especially for people who work as employees. However, it takes some steps before you become a professional IT contractor.
Ask yourself if it is the right thing for you. Before you resign from your current employment, research what other contractors in the industry feel about it. Find out if there is a possibility for regrets or there are chances of developing your revenue generation. It is apparent that contractors enjoy financial independence and freedom than what any form of employment can do.
New ventures have their ups and down and you have to develop enough strength to help you overcome them. You’ll be venturing into the business alone, and you must have the capacity to negotiate your way in the competitive industry. To make an informed choice, it is wise if you read and understand the pros and cons of IT contracting.
Get the right skills and materials before you start soliciting for contracts. IT involves technology and different companies and institutions that you will work for need professional data input and output experts. Acquire the best academic qualifications on Information Technology because potential companies hire contractors based on skills.
Just remember, most contracts are charged according to the level of skills required and the demand for such skills, but you must learn the best way to charge as an IT contractor.
IT is valuable in financial, human resource, logistics, business intelligence, and manufacturing industries, to be honest almost any industry these days. These companies need contractors that can help design different applications that will enhance efficiency in their businesses. As such, most of the organizations require IT contractors, to develop programs, install and maintain them.
IT recruiting companies are several, and they all look at the contractor's technical skills before hiring them. However, working closely with different recruitment agencies like oxford international can create greater chances of getting hired. Companies across all industries look for freelance IT contractors in agencies where if they are impressed by your skills they call you for an interview.
As a contractor, the company or people that have hired you look upon you to deliver their projects to their expectation. This gives you a sense of responsibility that drives you into giving your all in the contract.
In all honesty, being a contractor is really not much different to being a permanent worker, you do all the same tasks. The big difference is you don't have the security of long term work and typically get paid substantially more for that risk.
If you are working as an independent contractor with no company you are self-employed. It is mandatory for all companies to offer their employees sick pay when they go on sick leave. However, such a scenario cannot apply to you because you are not their employee.
So, the short answer is no, you will not get sick pay, this is part of the risk of being a contractor, hence the reason you are rewarded for this risk you take by getting a larger rate of pay.
A contractor is independent and does not share his or her financial responsibilities with company that has employed him. Just like you submit your tax returns and plan your contract finances, you are the one who is responsible for your holiday pay. The employer does not care on how you spend your money as long as you deliver the project as per the agreement.
Contractors are not entitled to most of the benefits that other employees get from their employers. Therefore, if you want to go for a vacation, you must do your math right to ensure there is enough money to complete the project and pay for the holiday.
I have worked for many years as an employee and nothing is more enjoyable than job security. However, As an IT contractor, the pay rates are so much more, in my opinion it just makes sense to contract instaed of being permamnent, as long as you feel confident in what you do and feel you can deliver value to your client.
You meet new challenges every day which makes you strong and motivates you towards performing better. You too can become a professional IT contractor if you believe and push yourself.
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