Is IT Consulting Right for You?


The beauty of working in Information Technology is that it gives you the opportunity to choose your own career path in many ways that other industries can’t.  There are many different positions and career opportunities throughout the IT landscape that give you the option of selecting what you want to do and where you want to go.  Speaking with IT professionals on a daily basis gives me insight on what they like and dislike about the consulting aspect of IT. Here’s what I’ve discovered over the years…


Pros of IT Consulting

You are exposed to many different environments:

Change can be good right?  As a consultant you have the opportunity to change working environments, experiment with different technologies and learn from new people/train in different areas when changing job sites. Often times your job responsibilities aren’t so narrow so it gives you the chance for faster growth opportunities as well as working alongside a variety of people that you would have never met before.

You can have more flexibility with your schedule:

You are essentially your own boss; sometimes you can even take extended time off between contracts if your lifestyle allows.  I find that a number of the consultants I speak with not only travel a lot for business, but also travel a lot for pleasure.  Sometimes your work hours can also be more flexible depending on the particular project, as you might not have to adhere to the corporate hours.

You typically make more money per hour:

It’s not rocket science to know that consultants typically make more money than full-time employees due to the fact that employers don’t have to pay for things like Social Security taxes, unemployment, workers’ compensation coverage, or provide employee benefits like health insurance and sick leave.  Also, a lot of contracts are project based and have a set budget that is typically higher for a shorter duration than a salaried position.  Lastly, a lot of salaried employees work more than 40 hours per week, but aren’t compensated for overtime whereas a consultant usually has the ability to charge for every hour worked, even over 40.

Cons of IT Consulting

Uncertainty between projects:

A good skill set for contractors to have is the ability to self-market themselves.  This is a necessity because contractors are constantly looking for the next gig (sometimes long before their current contract ends) and it can become difficult to find a new one depending on the present market.  Everything nowadays is “at will” employment of course, but more now than ever I see contracts being cancelled, put on hold, or delayed depending on a myriad of factors; this could include loss of budget, personnel count and waiting on sign-offs from the C-level executives.

Losing your benefits:

Companies that hire full-time have the ability to supplement a lower salary with many perks and benefits including: insurance, vacation time, sick time, PTO, 401K matching, education reimbursement, and more.  A lot of these perks and benefits are forfeited when you become a consultant and the rising costs of health insurance through COBRA and “a la carte” options can often cost several hundred or several thousands of dollars extra throughout the year.

The travel and lifestyle:

Being on the move from project to project can not only be taxing on you, but also your family.  It can become difficult to constantly be changing physical locations of projects, sleeping in hotel rooms, catching flights and being away from family and friends for an extended period of time.

As you can see, it’s a personal choice to decide to get into IT consulting or stay at a full-time position with many factors involved.  There’s also the third idea of contract to hire that you see many companies utilizing for their employment strategy and is becoming more relevant now more than ever.   As with any decision, always weigh the pros and cons and make sure whatever you do makes you happy in the long run. If you’re looking for work, explore what we can do for you.


About Craig Farley

Craig Farley spent the last 9 years as a Technical Resource Manager, staffing IT and EDI professionals nationwide, with a focus on the Midwest and West Coast territories. His industry experience as a senior technical recruiter is unmatched, and he has worked with candidates in full lifecycle recruiting for contract, contract to hire and direct hire positions through a variety of industries and technologies.

With all of this experience, Craig has transitioned to Director of Business Development for the Midwest Territory. He brings with him his technical recruiting knowledge and is ready to assist our clients in finding the perfect match for their technical needs. Craig is a graduate of the State University of New York at Albany with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. In his spare time he enjoys sports, working out, music and writing.

One Response to “Is IT Consulting Right for You?”

  1. Chichi

    This is a good article, which just hits all sides of consultant-life. It is not easy to be a consultant, and being a good consultant is even harder. Actually, this article brought me memory about some sentences to identify a good consultant…they are…

    When a customer has a problem…

    A software developer or system programmer would say: please tell me your coding language and I am going to try to write some code to resolve the error in your system. But, it does not guarantee work well.
    A BA, SA, or SD would say: according your description, I can draft a system flowchart and designing document, please hire some programmers to re-develop the system and you can resolve your problem at this moment.
    A project manager would say: according your description, I will initiate a project and recruit a team coming to resolve this issue permanently…if you have enough budgets.
    A consultant would say: After observation, I find that you have a problem. You need to initiate a project to resolve it permanently.
    A GOOD consultant would say: After observation, I find that we have a problem. We need to initiate a project to resolve it permanently. If we don’t have enough budgets now, it can be considered of some temporary alternatives to resolve the problem at this moment.


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