Top 3 Pros and Cons of Being a Contract Worker in Tech

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Contract and full-time job offers come with different salaries, benefits, and expectations. Choosing between becoming a contract worker or full-time employee requires balancing the options with your personal situation. To help you assess if a contract role is right for you, here’s a quick guide on the top three pros and cons.

The Cons

1. No benefits. Contractors are typically exempt from receiving the many perks and benefits that full-time employees are given access to. This means no company health insurance, no paid maternity leave, and no unlimited PTO. The extras, including fitness and health perks, may be off-limits as well.

2. Restrictions to advancement. When you work as a contractor, you may find yourself working independently with little oversight from company managers. With no one in a senior role to back you, promotions and full-time conversions will be more difficult to come by. Landing a managerial role will be even more unlikely, if not completely off-limits. Titles will be difficult to change too, even when your tasks and duties change.

3. Being marginalized. Contractors at large tech companies sometimes find themselves feeling segregated from their full-time peers and may struggle to find a sense of belonging in the workplace. However, some companies do a better job than others at integrating their contractors into the fold.

The Pros

1. Bigger paychecks. Contractors may not receive any benefits but their take-home pay can be 2-3 times more than the compensation offered to full-time employees. A software engineer contracting at a Silicon Valley tech company can earn $330K annually while a full-time equivalent may earn only $130K.

2. Freedom. As a contractor, you will have more freedom than full-time employees. You may be able to set your own schedule and take time off on your own terms. Perhaps you won’t have to attend most company meetings and even skip the performance reviews. Not being tied to an employer also allows you to work on different projects and jump from company to company with more ease.

3. Bypass the office politics. While there is the chance that you might feel like an outsider when working as a contractor, the positive side to this is that you’re less likely to get dragged into office politics. Because really, who wants to deal with that?

Whether the pros outweigh the cons will really depend on your current priorities. If you have a family or are looking to start one, a full-time position will probably be the stable and better route. But if having more freedom is what you’re looking for, becoming a contract worker may fit your needs. Both full-time and contract positions have their perks and drawbacks, and what really matters is which role best suits your life at this very moment.

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