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contract engineer

We always hear misconceptions and myths about working as a contract engineer in the Silicon Valley. Job seekers are quick to share horror stories with colleagues about layoffs in big companies, staffing agency relationships turned sour, or unstable start up jobs. While these situations do take place in the Silicon Valley on occasion, they are not the norm. CareerBuilder reported that companies over the next two years will be increasing the number of temporary jobs by 5.9%. With this increase of available contract jobs, we want to set the record straight on many of the misconceptions and myths that are associated with contract work.

Here are some myths about working as a contract engineer in the Silicon Valley:

  • You can’t make a career out of consulting work

Companies of all sizes can use a contract engineer to augment their projects. From large companies to early phase start-ups, contractors can be integral contributors to their project. With all of the available positions, you absolutely can make a career out of consulting. The majority of our consultants do make a career out of consulting work by taking a mixture of long-term and short-term contracts, finding projects that interest them, and continuing to expand their skill sets.

  • The Silicon Valley is in a tech bubble that’s about to burst

The major successes and growth of companies coupled with high housing prices have caused some chatter about another “tech bubble” similar to the dot-com bubble of 2000. Every time the term “layoff” hits a news headline, people become increasingly anxious because they remember the struggle of finding and keeping jobs during that time. It’s hard to say whether layoffs are a sign of a bubble or simply a sign of restructuring. It’s important for job seekers to stay in the game and find a good, solid contract to weather any storms. One of the first signs that we see when there is a turmoil is not layoffs, but a “hiring freeze” in which companies will not continue to bring others on board.

  • Contracts pay less and offer less benefits than permanent positions

This could be true, if you work with a consulting firm that doesn’t look out for your best interest. Companies like ERG work to get you the most competitive hourly rate in addition to our expanding benefits package. For example, on top of their hourly rate, our W2 consultants receive health insurance, paid time off, and a 401(k). Compensation for contract engineers is now on par with permanent employees, making those contract roles even more lucrative and sought after.

  • All contracts are short term

We often hear the misconception that all contracts are short-term projects that only last for a few months. What we are seeing in the marketplace is that many contracts are lasting well into the 18 to 24 month range. This contract length can end up being longer than you might’ve stayed in a permanent role. The belief that a contract offers less job stability than a permanent role may start to become a thing of the past.

  • Contract engineer work make your skill set dated and dry

Some engineers believe that if you’re continuously doing contract work for a specific technology that you won’t be able to expand your skill set. This is a MYTH. When you work as a permanent employee for a company for 5-10 years, you are applying your same skill set to the same problems year after year. With contract work, you are applying your skill set to new problems, in new environments, with exposure to new technologies. Contract work can absolutely expand your skill set, which is essential for finding positions down the line.

We hope this article clears up many of the myths and stereotypes of working in the Silicon Valley on an engineering contract. Working on a contract basis as an engineer can be very rewarding and offer most, if not all, of the perks of being a permanent employee. After over a decade of working with Fortune 500 companies, and well-funded startups, ERG knows the Silicon Valley inside and out. If you want to partner with a trusted consulting firm that can offer the expertise to expedite your contract search, give us a call.

Want to hear more about the opportunities that ERG offers? Contact me, Kristen Shumate, at kshumate@erginc.com, or give me a call at 408-260-2600.

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