Public Sector move to Contract IT Developer

dee1011

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Living in Dublin and there are loads of IT developer contracts around now. I'm thinking of making a move from a secure developer job and applying for a 12 month contract. It would probably mean doing more interesting work and its almost double your money. But you lose all the perks of a public sector job which I've been in for 6 years.

I'm 40 years old and with 15 years developer exp I would expect there will be work contracting for a few years anyway. But looking for work in your twilight years would concern me.

Am I too late to go into the shark infested waters of contracting?
 
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dub_nerd

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I know multiple people doing IT contracting at over 40. I've turned 50 and wouldn't expect to have too much problem if I was looking for work. Can't see the demand for jobs drying up either, barring some incredible cataclysm. Back when I was a nipper at school in 1979 a careers guidance bloke told me that the then growing demand for IT jobs was expected to last until "at least the mid eighties". :D I fully expect we'll be saying the same in another forty years. You need to be good, though, to earn the higher end wages.
 

Boyd

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It's the lack of perks for me. No pension, no health insurance, no paid holidays etc. Plus, in my experience, contractors are sometimes treated as second class citizens by companies. I cant warm to the idea of a switch to contracting. Just my two cents.
 

dee1011

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I suppose I can always try it out and if I don't cut the mustard I can always aim to get back into a permanent job in the private sector.
 

PaddyBloggit

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Can you avail of a career break?

Take a year out, see what happens, you can always return to the PS if it doesn't work out.
 

Jim2007

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It almost double your money and it would probably mean doing more interesting work.

You need to start by figuring out what is your minimum hourly rate. Some of the things to factor in include:
  • Pension contributions both employee & employer needed to get you a decent pension
  • Loss of income insurance to give you a decent payment as opposed to the min you may get from the social services
  • Incapacity insurance if you are not covered by the pension insurance
  • Allow two weeks unpaid for training plus costs
  • Allow 5 weeks holidays unpaid
  • Allow 10 to 12 days unpaid for public holidays
  • Allow an average of say 2 weeks down time per year for switching contracts
  • Allow another week for unpaid sick leave
  • Allow some kind of payroll cost or commission
In the end you will have about 1,500 billable hours per year to cover everything. By comparison an employee has got 2080 plus to bill their employer. I can tell
you most people grossly under estimate their minimum rate. Remember that commission agents, payroll companies etc... have pension and insurance options that
are designed to legally put as much cash in your and their pockets rathe than provide you with good cover.

Another thing to remember is your relationship with your client or clients. You are not there to be popular, your there to get a job done, so:
  • Don't expect to be treated like an employee
  • Expect to have to pay for free or cheap stuff employees get: coffee, canteen facilities etc..
  • Expect to be left out of the loop about what is going on
  • Expect to be blamed when it all goes pear shaped
  • Expect to have to step over employees to get things done (that is what you are paid the big bucks for)
  • Don't expect to be high on the priority list when it comes to time off etc.
And finally there is the mentality thing. You need to comfortable working in such environments and also by comfortable about the unknown when it comes to where
your next pay check comes from. You also need to be sociable, repeat work depends on the relationships you build both with the clients and the agents you do
business with. I once new a guy that had the same contract position for 17 years, in fact he was there longer than most of the employees. He was not particularly
good at what he did, but he got on with everyone and as a result was able to get the job done, so he kept getting repeat work.
 

dee1011

Registered User
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Thanks for all the tips . lots to weight up. not too sure they'll give me a career break but it would be a safest way if I got it .anyway I think if i don't like contacting, i should get a permanent job in the private sector so that somewhat acts as a safety net anyway.
 
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