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Three tips for people starting out in their career as an IT contractor

As the technological revolution surges on, people with niche IT or tech skills become more and more valuable as members of the workforce. It’s no surprise then that many IT specialists are choosing to develop their skills further still and manage their own time by becoming IT contractors. Of course, becoming a contractor or a freelancer can be hard to get into, and requires more than a qualification and some good experience under your belt. Here are three quick tips you should take into account when starting out in your career as an IT contractor.

Make sure your skill is niche

If you’re thinking about going freelance in the field of IT, then there’s a good chance you’re good at what you do. However, that in itself might not be enough. You’ll need to make sure that you can do something very few other people can do (or at least, make sure you’re better than everyone else that can do it). Whatever you specialise in, be it cloud computing or AI, you need to constantly be learning about your craft and making sure your skills are at the forefront of the field.

One of the main reasons businesses look to bring in freelance tech support is that they are dealing with a one-off problem that requires someone with specialised skills to come in and solve. Therefore, if you’re brought in as a contractor you will be expected to be the expert and be able to help the client with almost any problem that relates to your field.

If you can prove that you are one of the few reliable people who work in a specific field, or that you are by far the most knowledgeable, it will be much easier to find work and build a client base. If you don’t like to idea of constantly teaching yourself and learning about your specialty, then you will probably struggle as an IT contractor.

Let a recruiter help you find work

Becoming an IT contractor used to mean spending hours writing emails or making phone calls to get yourself noticed by potential clients. Certain specialist recruiters mean this is no longer the case. The ever-growing need for tech freelancers and clients who needs them has paved the way for recruiter sites like who specialize in finding IT contractors with incredibly niche tech stills, before putting them in touch with companies who need these skills.

Unlike typical recruiters who just take a quick glace at each worker’s CV, these specialist IT recruiters know exactly what type of IT skills are needed and find the perfect candidates. By registering on a site like you can make sure potential clients who are looking for your particular skills are able to find you with ease.

Understand and grow your client base

Any freelancer will tell you just how important it is to grow and maintain a good client base. This is particularly true when it comes to IT freelancers. As mentioned above, a key part of finding success as a tech contractor is to ensure you are one of the most knowledgeable people in your field of expertise. Say you are brought in to work on a small job that only takes one week, but thanks to your constant desire to improve your skills in this area you are incredibly successful in the temporary role and help your client – who do you think they are going to go to when they have a similar issue in the future?

Similarly, in this scenario the client is likely to recommend you to a friend in a different organisation if you do a good job, allowing you to quickly grow your client base.

To achieve this, you need to make sure you understand the needs of every individual client and bring your A-game to everything you work on. Whereas full-time employees can often take weeks or even months to get a feel for how a new company works, as a contractor you will have only hours to get to grips with everything. Our advice to deal with this extra pressure would be to heavily research the client before starting to work with them, and get as much information on the project you are working on so you can hit the ground running as soon as your contract begins.

It might sound hard, but the positives to this type of contractor work are endless. Once you have a good client base to work with you can enjoy the freedom of working for yourself and choosing what kind of work you do, so follow these tips and get off to the best possible start.

This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the editors or management of EconoTimes.

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