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Engineers who have only heard horror stories of contracts gone wrong can be skeptical of trying one out for themselves. As recruiters, we hear it time and time again…

“I’m only looking for a permanent role at this time – I’ve heard of bad experiences with contracts from other colleagues.”

We asked some of our engineering consultants to weigh in on this topic – one is an Embedded Linux Developer, and the other is a Board Bring-Up Engineer. They’re each seasoned consultants who have worked through ERG at a variety of tech companies in the Silicon Valley over the course of our history. Each of them have spent the majority of their career in contract roles, so they shared some positives of contract work that people may not consider.

Here are some reasons these two engineers gave for why they choose to make a career out of contract consulting:

1. The hiring process can move much more quickly
Many large companies have long, drawn-out hiring processes for permanent roles. With contracts, you can get on board much more quickly. Managers, often times, prefer hiring contractors because they allow the flexibility to get them on board quickly. When you don’t have layers upon layers of HR to go through, they can get you from an interview to in the chair within the span of a week.

2. Engineers become more nimble and adaptable
Let’s say you’ve spent your whole career at one company, working on the same technology for 25 years. Now let’s imagine, that that technology becomes less popular in favor of new cutting-edge technology. Unfortunately with the nature of the tech industry, it could be difficult for you to transition into a new role. When you’re a consultant, you almost never get stuck in that “rut” that many employees experience. Whether you spend 3 months on a contract or two years, your wheels are always spinning. You don’t have time to get complacent with your skill set. You are constantly challenged by the ever-changing demands of the market. That’s an exciting feature for those who have that drive.

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3. The work consistently changes (in a good way)
When you’re changing industries from aerospace to storage to medical devices, you get exposure to all sorts of new things. Not only do you remain an expert in your craft – but you get to learn the nuances of each industry. Let’s say you’re a Python developer who was at a company for two years using Djanjo. When you change roles you might get to work with Sanic or Uvloop. You definitely avoid getting pigeon-holed into one skill set when you’re working contracts.

4. Contracts offer similar stability to full time roles
Permanent roles are not the only way to work in the Silicon Valley. Consider this – California is an at-will employment state. That means, unfortunately, that even in a “permanent” role, you can be let go at any time without cause. With the dynamic job market, contracts now offer very similar stability in terms of job security as a permanent job would. The majority of our senior consultants have actually made a full career out of contract work. While some people still view contracts as being short, temporary or unstable jobs, in reality a contract can last a few years! Even more good news: over half of all employers in the US said that they planned to bring on contract workers in 2017. This is a great time to consider contract work!

5. Financial Aspects
One of the things that used to make consulting less appealing was that many consulting firms didn’t offer benefits! Now, companies like ERG are offering things like health insurance plan options and paid time off. We even offer a 401k! And, since most contractors are paid on an hourly basis, there could also be an opportunity for overtime pay. That’s certainly not something you’ll typically receive in a salaried role!

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6. Avoid Office Politics
One of the things our consultants particularly liked about being on contract is that you become immune to office politics. You are free to voice your opinion and new ideas without fear. On top of that, you’ll often be able to skip meetings designated for full time employees. This gives you more time to focus on your work and less on the happenings of the company. Of course, your manager will always provide you with any applicable and relevant information you need.

When you’re looking to make your next career move, don’t limit your search to just permanent roles. Branch out and try contract work! Not only will it enhance your career by exposing you to more technology, but you could also find your next role more quickly.

If you’re considering a contract, check out our job board at jobs.erginc.com, or send us an email at quickapply@erginc.com!

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