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Should I become an IT contractor?

What is an IT contractor?

IT contractors are workers who are hired on a contract basis rather than a permanent basis and they specialise in various IT-related professions. Although most of the IT contract work happens in medium to large companies, IT contractors in the UK offer vital services to businesses of all sizes.

Understanding the pros and cons of the contracting lifestyle is crucial if you're considering working as an IT contractor. We've put together some of the positives and negatives that contractors could face.

Is there an increase in the demand for IT contract jobs?

There are several reasons why there is an increase in IT contract jobs. One of the main reasons is the growing demand for flexible work arrangements in the IT industry. Contract jobs offer companies the flexibility to hire specialised talent for projects without the long-term commitment of permanent employment. This is also a more cost-effective option for many companies.

Another reason for the increase in demand for IT contract workers is the rapidly evolving nature of the IT industry, which requires companies to stay agile and adapt quickly to changing technologies and market conditions. Contractors can offer a fresh perspective and specialised skills that can help companies stay competitive and innovate faster.

What are the benefits of IT contract work?

IT contract work offers several benefits for professionals in the industry, including:


IT contract work provides greater flexibility in terms of work arrangements, allowing individuals to choose their projects, work schedule, and location. It offers the freedom to take breaks between contracts or pursue personal projects.

A variety of projects to get involved in

Contract work exposes professionals to a diverse range of projects, technologies, and industries. This allows them to continuously learn new skills, gain valuable experience, and broaden their knowledge.

Higher earning potential

IT contract work often offers higher hourly or project-based rates compared to permanent positions. Contractors can negotiate their rates and have the potential to earn more, especially for specialised skills and in-demand roles.


Contract work allows professionals to be their own boss and take control of their career. They can choose the clients and projects they want to work on, set their own goals, and enjoy a greater degree of autonomy in their work.

Networking opportunities

Contract work exposes professionals to different organisations and industry contacts, providing networking opportunities that can lead to future job prospects or collaborations. Building a strong professional network is beneficial for career growth.

Skill development

By working on various projects and with different clients, IT contractors continuously develop their skills and expertise. They can stay updated with the latest technologies and trends, which enhances their marketability in the industry.

Work-life balance

IT contract work allows individuals to have better control over their work-life balance. They can choose when to take time off between contracts, prioritise personal commitments, and maintain a healthy work-life integration.

Entrepreneurial opportunities

Contract work provides a platform for individuals to explore entrepreneurial opportunities, such as starting their own consulting business or offering specialised services to multiple clients.

What are the negatives of IT contract work?

While IT contract work has its advantages, there are also some potential pitfalls to consider:

Lack of job security

Contract positions are typically temporary, which means there is no long-term job security. Once a contract ends, there is no guarantee of continued employment, and contract workers may need to search for new opportunities often.

Variable income and benefits

Contract workers are often paid on an hourly, daily or project basis, which can result in income fluctuations and uncertainty. Additionally, contract workers may not receive the same benefits as full-time employees, such as health insurance, pension plans, or paid time off.

Limited career advancement opportunities

Contract work may not provide the same opportunities for career growth and advancement as permanent positions. Contract workers may have limited access to training, mentorship, and development programs offered to permanent employees.

Lack of company loyalty

Contract workers are often seen as external resources rather than integral members of the company. This can result in a lack of inclusion in company culture, limited networking opportunities, and reduced sense of belonging.

Constant job searching

Contract work typically involves moving from one project to another or transitioning between different companies. This requires continuous job searching, negotiation, and adapting to new work environments, which can be stressful and time-consuming.

Uncertain work-life balance

Depending on project demands and deadlines, contract workers may face long working hours, tight timelines, and limited work-life balance. They may need to adjust their schedules to meet project requirements, which can impact personal and family commitments.

What are some of the most popular IT contract jobs?

IT contractors are usually brought in for large scale company projects whether they are looking to launch new products, or softwares such as cloud-based solutions, or cyber security solutions. Some of the most popular IT contract jobs include:

IT contract work is ideal for those who enjoy taking on new projects, who want to continuously learn or for those who consider themselves an expert in their field. If you are self-motived and enjoy managing your own time, as well as networking with new people then IT contracting is potential a route you should explore.

Find all contracting job opportunities here