Learn why IT Consultants Experience Success With Project-Based Work.
IT consultants have the upper hand in a competitive job market. Their skills are in high demand, and their project experience sets them apart from the crowd in a sea of technology professionals. However, the temptation to become a full-time employee intensifies during a booming economy, especially when companies offer above-average salaries and a good benefits package. So, IT consultants must envision what success looks like for their career ( i.e., what’s most important in the short and long term).
This year, IT spending is growing across most industries worldwide. The global budget forecast for 2019 is $3.76 trillion, according to data reviewed by I-CIO. Some of the fastest-growing sectors include banking, education, travel, and insurance. Global technology budget data also shows that business operations account for the most substantial portion of annual IT project spending within large organizations, with incremental business change close behind.
How company leaders spend technology budgets today is much different than a decade ago. Constant innovation and digital business change have led to an increased number of projects in nearly every primary industry, which requires more IT consultants — good news for many technology professionals. But the term IT consultant encapsulates many titles, so let’s review the positions that are most commonly managed by our team at The Carrera Agency.
Most In-demand IT Positions
A 2018 IT spending report from Gartner revealed that enterprise software, Software as a Service (SaaS), ERP and CRM systems, and cloud software receive the majority of the global IT budget. Similarly, TechRepublic listed the 10 most in-demand tech jobs of the year:
- Cybersecurity Engineer
- AI/Machine Learning Engineer
- Full-Stack Software Engineer
- Data Scientist
- Python Developer
- Java Developer
- Cloud Engineer
- Scrum Master
- DevOps Engineer
The relationship between where an organization spends its IT budget and the most in-demand technology positions is comprehensible, and skilled IT consultants are crucial drivers for the success of large-scale technology projects. So what’s the most valuable takeaway from this comparison? Mainly that IT consultants are maneuverable and likely to be in the right place at the right time to land the gig they want. That is, with a polished, well-rounded skill set, they can pivot to a project at any organization to remain on the leading edge of their profession.
IT consultants indeed, can seek well-supported projects backed by substantial budgets. But there are many more reasons why consulting offers a long and rewarding career path. Whether you are currently on a project or searching for your first, consider the following benefits associated with IT consulting.
The Benefits Package
There’s a misconception out there that consultants don’t have access to group health and wellness benefits. But the reality is that many talent management firms offer similar benefits packages that you would receive as a full-time employee. Coverage details vary, but here’s an example of how The Carrera Agency supports their IT consultants.
We offer a choice of six different plans from Blue Shield and Kaiser Permanente, including PPO and HMO options, with Carrera covering approximately 85% of the monthly premium for our lowest cost plan for employee coverage. Dependent coverage is also available, and as an added benefit, all employee premium contributions are on a pre-tax basis. We also offer a PPO plan for dental and vision coverage, with Carrera contributing 50% of the monthly employee premium cost.
Variety of Projects
Let’s face the facts: work and burnout go hand in hand regardless of your position title. To combat fatigue, many companies strategically engage their staff to provide opportunities that create long-term happiness. Other companies thrive by monitoring the well-being of employees daily. But consulting is a valid option for people who need more control over their work-life balance. Mainly by offering the resources to try something new, re-energize the mind, and create frequent change. Consultants also have the option to plan their downtime, for example, if they want to take vacation time during the holidays to spend with loved ones.
Many of the IT consultants we work with enjoy project variability because the change keeps them feeling fresh — similar to the feeling of landing a new job. Do you prefer a three-month contract, six months, or one year? The benefit of consulting is that you choose the duration that best fits your career goals and expectations.
IT Consultants Control Their Journey
We’ve heard another misconception that consulting is only for professionals who are either between careers or want a freelance lifestyle. However, the truth is that many IT consultants are equally as strategic as their full-time counterparts. The ability to choose their work — and the duration — means increased access to new opportunities, more people, and more extensive networks. Although most technology consultants specialize in one discipline (i.e., project management, data science, development), they work at more companies and on more teams, which is part of the career journey.
Consultants are rewarded for the successful completion of projects and strengthen their resume by executing challenging projects in short timelines. Times have changed, and it’s common to have multiple positions on your resume due to more employers and increased competition for top talent. If you live for the journey rather than the finish line, consulting offers the control that many workers desire. And you have the freedom to accept contract-to-hire if a more permanent change is necessary. Each employment model offers unique benefits over the other; the power is in the ability to choose the right one at any given time.
One of the most-talked-about subjects among talent professionals is skills development. As technology presents more challenges for organizations, workers must learn new platforms and tools to create solutions, which also increases their value to the company. The people that obtain new skills the fastest usually receive recognition and rapid advancement. But acquiring technical skills in the workplace takes time and requires opportunity.
IT consultants are indeed responsible for professional development, and that means upskilling without the support of an employer. But imagine managing two or three infrastructure projects in the time that someone else manages one, or serving as a SharePoint Developer at two companies in the same year. Consulting is an excellent opportunity to meet a variety of people and understand how companies use technology differently. The result is greater access to real-life learning, the type that looks great on a resume.
Build Your Brand
At The Carrera Agency, talent professionals interact with a network of IT consultants, some of which were built over two decades of relationship-building. We can confidently say that a person’s reputation impacts the opportunities that come their way. Sure, the same applies to full-time employees, but the difference is that IT consultants rely less on the employer’s brand and more on their own, especially when networking for a new gig. The personal brand assumes a similar role to a company’s reputation within the industry, shaped by work ethic, values, and success in the team environment.
Those who excel at consulting know that networking is invaluable, they utilize their connections to help them land their next project, perhaps with another big company in the same industry. The IT consultant understands that their reputation precedes them and that every interaction is an opportunity to strengthen their brand. Build it well, and it will last a very long time.
IT consultants and full-time company employees are more alike than different. But the nuances of consulting offer many benefits that get overlooked. As organizations evolve to meet the needs of digital business change, technology professionals have a clear opportunity to control their work — the projects they work on and the company.
Whether you are a seasoned IT consultant with a strong network (that knows your brand well) or only have a few projects under your belt, the Carrera Agency invites you to join a well-connected network that presents new opportunities for technology professionals. We look forward to learning more about you.