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Contract Vs Permanent Developer Jobs: Which Is Best For You? 

Published: Tuesday 24th March 2020

The tech industry is booming. It’s a candidate driven market and there is no shortage of developer jobs out there. But with a choice of permanent developer jobs or freelance contract developer jobs, which should you choose? Before doing anything, it’s a good idea to acquaint yourself with the main differences between contractor jobs and permanent positions in order to understand fully how those differences will affect you. Both have pros and cons. 

Programming. Man, young developer Working On Computer In IT Office, Sitting At Desk Writing Codes. Programmer Typing Data Code, Working On Project

Contract developer – where you’re the boss 

One of the most obvious benefits of freelance contractor jobs is that they tend to come with a significantly higher wage. A developer with three to five years in London can expect can expect a salary in the region of £40-70,000, whereas a contractor in the same role can expect around £500 per day – a significantly higher wage. But, there is a very good reason for this.  

As a contractor, you won’t get any of the perks and benefits that come with permanent developer jobs. And these can be significant. You won’t have any PAYE working rights, such as paid holiday or sick leave. Then there’s the added headache of setting up as a sole trader, or limited company, and managing your tax affairs.  

handshake new employee or business partners agree to contract

On the upside, you should be able to benefit from more flexible working conditions, but, in reality, this isn’t always the case, especially if you’re expected to work onsite. However, in the current market, you should have a lot of choice over where and who you work forFor developers, the UK jobs market is experiencing a serious skills shortage, especially in areas such as SQL, JavaScript and C#. So the lack of security that often comes with contractor jobs won’t be big concern for most developers – at the moment, anyway!  

Looking to gain new skills? Look for permanent developer jobs 

Before leaping into the world of contracting, you’ll need a good work history and the skills that employers are looking for. The only way to get that experience will be through permanent jobs. It’s in these full-time roles that you’ll develop your skill set, and, in turn, your career prospects.  

Programmers cooperating on software development, working together in IT

Contractors are usually hired based on their track record and niche-specific expertise, so there will be little, if any scope for development in a contract role. On the other hand, a developer looking to gain experience in a new area should be able to negotiate a permanent job that offers training and development opportunities. Unlike a contractor, although, you may not have much control over the projects you work on. 

A lot will depend on your personal circumstances. If you’re the sole breadwinner in a family, for instance, the security and stability of a permanent role would be more suitable. As a contractor too, you may have run into issues if you want to apply for a mortgageBut, if you don’t want to be tied down and experience a lot of different working environments without too much commitment, then life as a contractor might just what you’re seeking 

For a huge range of both developer and contractor vacancies, start with a job search on Zoek.

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