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Tech Consulting Vs. Full-Time Roles: Which Is Right for Your Career?

IT Professional working on laptop and phone - Tulane School of Professional Advancement

Given the competitive median salaries and many rewarding opportunities, it's a great time to pursue a career within the IT industry. However, before deciding on a particular path, IT professionals need to weigh the pros and cons of tech consulting and full-time IT roles. These two types of work often differ significantly when it comes to career flexibility, job security, and day-to-day duties and responsibilities.

The Differences Between Consulting and Full-Time Work

One of the key differences between IT consulting and full-time IT work lies in their conditions of employment. Full-time roles typically continue indefinitely and offer greater job security, while consulting positions are meant to end after completing a project.

Contract roles tend to offer more flexibility, giving IT professionals the choice of when, where, and how they perform their work. Recent graduates may value this flexibility as they become more experienced, but they may also prefer the staff training and development that come with full-time opportunities.

Financial Considerations

In the long run, contract employees tend to earn more than full-time employees, especially if they have one or more sought-after specializations. However, contract employees also have to factor in tax implications, as well as the costs of travel, supplies, and health insurance. The expenses of commuting, frequently traveling, and covering other expenses can quickly add up and cancel out the higher hourly rates of a contract position.

Negotiating Benefits

One major advantage of full-time work is an employee's ability to negotiate attractive benefits. In addition to standard benefits such as health insurance and paid time off, employers may offer signing bonuses and the ability to work remotely instead of onsite. New employees may also be able to negotiate whether they will work a pre-determined, nine-to-five schedule or have a more flexible, slightly nontraditional schedule.

What to Ask Before Accepting a Contract Position

Before accepting a new position, IT consultants should know what kinds of day-to-day responsibilities to expect and when the project is scheduled to conclude. Contractors should clarify with their employer if they've been hired as a 1099 contractor (full pay without tax deductions) or a W-2 contractor (tax deductions from pay).

They should also ask whether their employment is set to end once the work is finished or if the position is contract-to-hire. In these roles, the contract employee works on the project for a set period of time, with the opportunity to become a full-time employee once the project is over.

Preparing for Flexible Roles in IT

Furthering your education is one of the most significant steps you can take toward a rewarding and flexible IT career. The Information Technology program at the Tulane School of Professional Advancement offers multiple degree and certificate options, including online Master of Professional Studies degrees in IT Management and Cybersecurity Management. To learn more about our IT degrees and certificates, request more information today.

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