IT Contractors typically earn 2-3 times the salary of an equivalent “permanent” IT employee, and enjoy an enviable degree of career flexibility. Market analysis shows that UK IT Contractor earnings rose 6% year on year between 2013 – 2015, and this trend shows no sign of abating.
With permanent IT roles disappearing at an alarming rate, there has never been a better time to be an IT Contractor. Many IT Professionals are reluctant to take up contracting, perceiving it to be far riskier than it actually is, or believing that they haven’t got the skills or experience to be a contractor. Contracting is however, less risky than permanent employment, and no special skills are needed. Contracting does, however, require confidence and a particular mindset.
This course will take you through the transition from working in permanent roles to a career in UK IT Contracting. It is equally suited to those just starting their careers as well as more experienced IT Professionals. After working through both video and audio lectures, quizzes, exercises and worked examples, at the end of the course you will have the knowledge and confidence to get your first IT contract and begin a successful career in IT contracting.
A summary of what you'll learn in this course, section by section. There is also a personal message from the course instructor, Ian Patterson in the form of a downloadable PDF document.
A short audio-visual summary of what we'll cover, and what you'll learn in Section 1.
Some of you may already have an idea of what an IT contractor is, but for a lot of people it can be a bit of a mystery. In this section, you'll learn exactly what an IT Contractor is, and how they differ from permanent employees - and not just in terms of greatly enhanced earnings! By the end of this lecture you'll understand the importance of the business-to-business engagement model, and how it underpins everything you'll do as a contractor.
In this lecture, you'll find out who can be an IT Contractor, as well as the high level requirements for who can and can't set up a Limited Company.
In this lecture we have a look at the state of the market with regards to IT Contracting. You'll find out the average daily rates for three typical contracting roles, as well as overall average rates, and compare them to the same period one and two years ago. You'll learn how to read the market state yourself, and get an idea of your potential earnings as a contractor.
Here, you'll learn the reasons why contracting is popular with a large number of companies. At the end of this lecture, you will understand why contracting is no longer thought of as a short-term 'quick fix' solution, and that using contractors is a long-term strategy for an increasing number of orginisations.
The often-held perception of contracting as 'risky' is unfounded. In is lecture you'll find out the pros, cons and perceived risks of both contracting and permanent roles, and as such see that the real risk for IT
Professionals lies in allowing fear to prevent them from making a move into contracting.
By means of a very bad pun, by the end of this lecture you will have learned how old, 'redundant' ways of thinking may be holding you back from a rewarding career in contracting.You will see that you can earn far more as a contractor than the average UK redundancy payment, in a matter of months.
This quiz will test your understanding of the topics covered in Section 1. The Basics of IT Contracting.
A short audio-visual summary of what was covered, and what you learned in Section 1.
A short audio-visual summary of what we'll cover, and what you'll learn in Section 2.
The process of looking for contract roles is a lot more fast-paced than that of looking for permanent jobs. As such, contractors need to be aware of, and respond to, contract role advertisements as soon as they arise. In this lecture you'll learn the three main methods that most contractors use for sourcing contracts in preperation for Lecture 13 - The Jobserve mini-deep dive.
Here, we take an in-depth look at one of the leading IT contractor job boards - Jobserve. I'll take you through setting up your profile, searching for contract jobs, setting upjob alerts and saving your searches for future use.
Upon completing this lecture, who will know everything you need to know to begin searching for, and applying for real contract jobs.
The remaining lectures in this section will be primarlily short audio lectures, anchored around a roadmap which illustrates where they fit into your journey to getting your first contract.
We'll begin by looking at agents - are they the spawn of the devil or the contractor's best friend? By the end of this lecture you'll have an opinion one way or the other!
Negotiating a daily rate is one of the most important aspects of your dealings with agents. Contract negotiation skills are often not given the attention they deserve by contractors. In this lecture, you'll learn the importance of honing your negotiation skills long before you need them, and get tips on dealing with some of the most common techniques that agents use during rate negotiation.
By the end of this short lecture, you'll appreciate some of the key things that differeniate a contractor's CV from that of a permanent candidate, and what to expect with regard to interviews, and when you should hear back from agents.
Background checks can often take up to six weeks to complete. If you have secured a role involving background checks, you need to factor this into your timescales.
This quiz will test your knowledge of the topics covered in Section 2. How to Get The Contract!
A short audio-visual summary of what was covered, and what you learned in Section 2.
A short audio-visual summary of what we'll cover, and what you'll learn in Section 3.
This lecture is a preparation for the rest of the section. Operating through a limited company is the preferred method of contracting for the majority of contractors, so it is important that you understand how this fits into the business-to-business engagement that contractors have with their clients.
Setting up and operating company is straightforward, but there are many things that you need to be aware of, and they need to be done in a particular order. By the end of this lecture, you will know how to set up, incorporate and run a limited company, and have an awareness of thekey legislation that affects all contractors who do so.
The title of this lecture says it all - contractors who are fans of IR35 are as rare as hens' elbows. At the end of this lecture, you will have as much hatred for the legislation as the rest of the contracting community.
What the chancellor taketh away with one hand, he or she sometimes giveth back with the other - albeit in relatively small amounts. The VAT Flat Rate Scheme is one of those rare things that actually works to contractors' advantage. You'll learn the rules for joining, operating and leaving the scheme, as well as see a worked example of how it works, and what you stand to gain from it.
How much do you know about limited companies, The VAT Flat Rate Scheme and IR35?
A short audio-visual summary of what was covered, and what you learned in Section 3.
A short audio-visual summary of what we'll cover, and what you'll learn in Section 4.
As the name suggests, contract extensions are a seamless extension to your existing contract. By the end of this lecture you will have learned what's involved in securing a contract extension, and how to give yourself the best possible chance of getting an accompanying rate rise.
Sometimes agents will promise the moon and the stars when you are negotiating the terms of a contract , but not for the current contractb but rather when you get a contract extension. Given that extensions are by no means a given, you should never accept a contract on the basis of deals that will only materialise at 'extension time'.' Nevertheless, even the most experienced contractors can be seduced by the 'jam tomorrow' promise, and by the end of this lecture you'll know what to do if you fall into this trap.
Automatic rate rises, although once quite common, are now very much a thing of the past. Rate rises are still possible, however, and there you'll find out exactly how you need to go about preparing to ask for one at contract extension time.
As you approach your contract end, you need to ensure that you keep your options open as much as possible. You are under no obligation to accept an extension, and you should compare any offer of an extension with what is availible in the marketplace.
This quiz tests your understanding of the concepts taught in Section 4.
How to get the next contract.
A short audio-visual summary of what was covered, and what you learned in Section 4.
A short audio-visual summary of what we'll cover, and what you'll learn in Section 5.
This is a helicopter view of managing your financial arrangements as a contractor - you'll learn the value in keeping a prudent reserve and managing holidays and training effectively; a good accountant, however, is always the best source of detailed financial advice.
Your reputation as a contractor is one of your most valuable assets. In this lecture, we look at some key areas which you should keep an eye on to ensure that your reputation remains first-rate.
Contracting provides much more opportunity for role variety and gaining new skills than permanent roles. By the end of this lecture, you'll have an appreciation of how carefully chosen contracts, coupled with targeted training can advance you rapidly along your chosen career path.
The contractor mindset is fundamentally different to that of a permanent employee, and by the end of this lecture you'll have an appreciation ofexactly what the key personal qualities and attitudes are that you'll need to develop in order to make a success of contracting.
This quiz will test your knowledge and upstanding of the topics covered in Section 5.
The Keys to Successful Contracting.
A short audio-visual summary of what was covered, and what you learned in Section 5.
Lecture 37 provides a summary of everything that we have covered in this course. Please do take the time to have a look at it - as with the summary lectures at the end of each section, it is designed to help you commit to memory what you have learned.
Lecture 38 is in the form of a downloadable PDF. This document contains links to all the resources mentioned in the lectures throughout the course, as well as a few others that you may find useful.
Hi, my name is Ian Patterson, founder and Managing Director of Lonegenius Limited.
I’ve been an IT Professional for twenty two years now, and an IT Contractor for over twelve of those.
During my time as a contractor, I’ve worked as a Programmer, Business Analyst, Senior Business Analyst and Interim Project Manager for a range of clients including Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland, Hitachi Capital and British Airways.
Working as a contractor has given me exposure to a number of key projects such as Faster Payments and Bacs Systems upgrades, as well as the opportunity to work across all stages of the project lifecycle. Contracting has given me a fantastic quality of life – not only in financial terms, but also the flexibility to spend a year living in Paris, for example, three months in San Fransico and travel Route 66 on a motorbike. None of which would have been possible working in a permanent job.
Okay, that’s quite enough about me – how does this relate to you?
Through Lonegenius, my aim is to give you the benefit of my experience in the areas of Software Devlopement, Business Analysys and IT Contracting itself, distilled into straightforward, easy to understand courses.
Lonegenius’ headline Course: IT Contracting Bootcamp was developed in response to an obvious lack of clear and informative guidance availble to first-time contractors, and sets the tone for all the courses that Lonegenius will produce. Through a combination of video lectures, worked examples, downloadable resources, quizes and active discussion, my aim here is to help you get the most out of the course and make your learning experience an enjoyable one. Please shout out if you think anything can be improved, you don’t understand something or you want to point out anything that you’ve particulary enjoyed or found informative.
I ask that if you do have a problem with any of the courses, please tell me before you leave a review, and I’ll try to sort it out. I sincerely hope that you find the courses entertaining and useful.
Ian Patterson, MD Lonegenius Limited.