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View Full Version : Re-entry to IT contracting after a career break



potatan
25th February 2011, 15:54
Hey up everyone, just wondered if any of you had any advice, tips, help, or abuse for me as I consider IT contracting again.

Potted history: I contracted from the mid-90s to the mid 00's then took a couple of permie jobs. In 2006 I started a full-time degree course, but carried on as a part-time consultant for my then employer, until about January 2008.

I finished my degree in 2009 (got a first in English Language) and after having pondered a few University-based options, teaching / lecturing etc. I think I've decided that the political cut and thrust of academia is not for me. I'm currently employed by the Uni library, on the issue desk. Nice as it is, it ain't taxing me enough and as it's part-time, the pay is not enough either. Plus, having spent almost 25 years in IT infrastructure, it's kind of in my blood.

Most of my IT career was in back-end sysadmin stuff, email systems, content security, Lotus Notes/Domino, IIS, Active Directory, SQL server, Exchange. Not too specialized (apart from Domino), but certainly able to find my way around a lot of commercial office software. Luckily, my last IT employer was an MS Platinum and IBM Gold certified partner, so even in 2007/8 I was using cutting edge software. Even though I'm officially 3 years out of the game, some of the stuff I was using back then might still be ahead of the game in some organisations.

So.... clearly, I'm not gonna walk into a 3rd Level systems support role, but equally I'd be wasted taking calls on a help desk. I've kept myself busy, playing with software at home, I keep up to date with the IT press and developments, and I've taken on a bit of technology-focused work at Uni. I even run a laptop repair business in my spare time - it's not as if I've not been near a computer for the last three years.

Any ideas about how to approach a return to IT? Apart from just scatter-gunning my CV to the job sites, I'm wondering if there are any better approaches that may not have occurred to me yet.

All advice welcome, cheers.

wantacontract
25th February 2011, 19:32
hate to be bearer of bad news, but you really couldn't have chosen a worse time to come out of academia...

although the market has really picked up now from Jan. I would say you need to get a job before end of April, as I am convinced a whole hoard of unemployed people is going to swamp the market come then and later on in the year.

My tip is to get on linkedin, find your old colleagues and ask them if there are any roles available at where you've worked in the past.

Good Luck!

Paddy
25th February 2011, 19:47
Contrary to you assertions; I think that a help desk position may give you a kick start. You will at least get to know how the industry has changed. It certainly has changed a great deal with the exception that end-users are still thick and IT managers know even less

BigTime
25th February 2011, 19:54
... Apart from just scatter-gunning my CV...

As a wise agent once said "Spray and Pray"

d000hg
25th February 2011, 20:28
My tip is to get on linkedin, find your old colleagues and ask them if there are any roles available at where you've worked in the past. WHS. From your description you know your onions but it might be hard to convince an agent so any kind of network you have would be worth chasing.

This should probably be moved to one of the serious boards...

potatan
26th February 2011, 09:14
There are serious boards?

Some good advice there, thanks. I think the biggest hurdle may be getting an actual interview, due to my extended "gap year".

Maybe I should sell myself short a bit, indicate I would take a lower rate, just to get a few up to date entries on my CV - though as I understand it, rates have taken a bit of a hit the last couple of years anyway, and I'd hate to be part of something that drives them down further.