From Full-Time to Contract Developer?

noobman

[H]ard|Gawd
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Has anyone made the jump from being a full-time employee as a software developer to a contract developer who hops from contract to contract?

What's involved in making that jump? Currently I'm a Senior Developer / Team Lead with a financial institution. While I have a decent amount of experience, the vast majority of experience is with two teams within the organization. All things considered, it's not that diverse a set of experience.

While I consider myself a strong developer, I worry that not having a rich diversity of experience might be an impediment to me landing a contract job. Has anyone found that this is the case?
 

tonyyy

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Nov 10, 2009
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wouldn't you be giving up your benefits if you shift to a contract only role?
 

noobman

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wouldn't you be giving up your benefits if you shift to a contract only role?

Yes, but many companies here offer supplemental coverage for spouses and dependents. In this case I would fall under the former and still get coverage while increasing my earning potential and exposing myself to a wider array of challenges/problems to solve, albeit in a more volatile environment.
 

Crax

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Good luck to you. If I did have a wife/kids and dire need of medical, I'd like to do the same thing. I'm probably too chicken to do it though.

What kind of development do you do?
 

Dogs

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wouldn't you be giving up your benefits if you shift to a contract only role?

Yes, but you should be able to charge a high enough hourly rate that after purchasing benefits yourself you're coming out at or above where you were at as a salaried employee.
 

aL Mac

Gawd
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Why do you want a contract job? If you want more diversity of experience why not get another full-time position somewhere where you can diversify your experience? You know, one that is non-temporary and includes benefits?
 

noobman

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Good luck to you. If I did have a wife/kids and dire need of medical, I'd like to do the same thing. I'm probably too chicken to do it though.

What kind of development do you do?

I'm a .NET developer, mostly. I'm comfortable across the stack but specialize more on the back-end of things... IE working with databases, building APIs / service layers, performance optimization, etc. I can write Javascript / jQuery and if you ask me to build a UI I can put something functional and responsive together, but I'm not the kind of guy who can make an absolutely stunning webpage.


Why do you want a contract job? If you want more diversity of experience why not get another full-time position somewhere where you can diversify your experience? You know, one that is non-temporary and includes benefits?

There are a number of reasons:

1. Fear of multiple short-term gigs in full-time roles reflecting poorly on me. I don't know if this is the case but in hiring people for my team in the past my boss has thrown resumes out for this reason.

2. Much higher pay for contractors in the .NET development space as compared to full time employees.

3. Flexibility to work short-term gigs as an instructor, for example.

4. Opportunity to work on solving different types of enterprise problems with many organizations.

Currently I'm a full-timer working on enterprise software with prior experience doing software with actual software companies of various sizes. I'm still contemplating my next move, and for now I'm fairly confident that I don't want to be full time at another enterprise. Instead I'm looking at either working as a contractor in the enterprise .NET development space, or stepping into a development role with a software company again.
 
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Crax

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I'm a .NET developer, mostly. I'm comfortable across the stack but specialize more on the back-end of things... IE working with databases, building APIs / service layers, performance optimization, etc. I can write Javascript / jQuery and if you ask me to build a UI I can put something functional and responsive together, but I'm not the kind of guy who can make an absolutely stunning webpage.
That is pretty much my situation as well. I've been doing full time development(both web and windows) since around 2004/5 in .NET(also did some Delphi before that). I'm currently "Lead Web Developer" at my job. We have a lot of older code(web forms) and it's a struggle to try and get some things changed as the higher ups just want to focus on new things and not take the time to do optimizations/performance adjustments.

I don't consider myself a designer either, but am also proficient with CSS/Javascript. Lately I've been doing a fair amount of Angular communicating with Web API 2 on a side project.

If you need some part time help on a project sometime, let me know.
 

bebble

Weaksauce
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
Messages
127
Has anyone made the jump from being a full-time employee as a software developer to a contract developer who hops from contract to contract?

What's involved in making that jump? Currently I'm a Senior Developer / Team Lead with a financial institution. While I have a decent amount of experience, the vast majority of experience is with two teams within the organization. All things considered, it's not that diverse a set of experience.

While I consider myself a strong developer, I worry that not having a rich diversity of experience might be an impediment to me landing a contract job. Has anyone found that this is the case?

AFAIK, the benefits of switching from fulltime to contractor is 1) tax benefits because you will have more tax-deductable if you are self-employed; 2) higher salary because employer doesn't need to pay you benefits like health insurance. This will work if you think yourself as a strong developer and your spouse can cover your health insurance.
 

noobman

[H]ard|Gawd
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Oct 15, 2005
Messages
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That is pretty much my situation as well. I've been doing full time development(both web and windows) since around 2004/5 in .NET(also did some Delphi before that). I'm currently "Lead Web Developer" at my job. We have a lot of older code(web forms) and it's a struggle to try and get some things changed as the higher ups just want to focus on new things and not take the time to do optimizations/performance adjustments.

I don't consider myself a designer either, but am also proficient with CSS/Javascript. Lately I've been doing a fair amount of Angular communicating with Web API 2 on a side project.

If you need some part time help on a project sometime, let me know.

It sounds like you and I are one and the same. I'm actually in the midst of building a little recipe database app to learn AngularJS.

AFAIK, the benefits of switching from fulltime to contractor is 1) tax benefits because you will have more tax-deductable if you are self-employed; 2) higher salary because employer doesn't need to pay you benefits like health insurance. This will work if you think yourself as a strong developer and your spouse can cover your health insurance.

Thanks for the info. It's something I'm looking at more and more these days.
 
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