I am currently working as a full time software developer in the USA. I have a B.S. in Computer Science and over 4 years of professional experience (so I'm still sort of in the junior developer phase). The idea of doing contract work as opposed to full time work seems attractive to me for a number of reasons:
- Not stuck at the same company/politics/way of doing things forever.
- Get to work on a large variety of projects using different technologies.
- Get exposure to a lot of different industries/other companies in the city.
- Get paid more. Even though I would have to pay for my own benefits, I am in my mid-20's and in good health, so I would only just need to purchase a basic health plan that wouldn't cost much. In the end, I would be getting paid a lot more than a full time person.
Obviously, some of the downsides are:
- Constantly having to find new work (after the 3, 6, or 12 month gig is up, it's time to find a new one).
- Constantly having to learn new technologies and getting ramped up on new code bases (I can see the good and bad in this though).
To those on here who are contractors: are these list of positives/negatives accurate from your experience? My primary skills are in C++ and C#/.NET. I've been searching on sites like Dice.com for contract opportunities and in some cases I see some that explicitly state that they are looking for a younger developer to work on a 6 month contract (my assumption is that they are hoping to find someone who could do the work for less money than a senior developer). Their pay rate offered is still much higher than my current pay rate. It was just one example that I found and I'm sure it's probably not the norm.
The thing is, as I said earlier ... I am in my mid-20's, in good health, do not own a home, not married, and do not have any kids to take care of. Even after all of that, I'm still sort of worried at the prospect of somehow not securing another gig after the first one is up. I'm worried that I would end up becoming unemployed for too long and then employers wouldn't take me seriously anymore after a while. From your experience, is this something to worry about? Otherwise, I find the prospect much more exciting than full time work and would be willing to take the risk if I knew I had a decent shot at finding new gigs each time.