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mobad
3rd April 2012, 08:02
I have been in IT since Graduating 5 years ago.

Initially from graduating, I took a very basic contract entry role as a 1st level technical support role for an established internet service provider.
Unfortunately within 6months we were all let off as the call centre moved to another country.

My next role was working with Fujitsu as a global service desk analyst as a contractor.
The pay was not great, I had to travel 1.5hrs each way per day and again within 5 months due to the exact same reason of the desk moving to another country, I was forced to leave.

Within 1-2months of looking I finally found an IT 1st/2nd Line Desktop role in a law firm.
The role was more technical, client facing and permanent.

I was finally able to demonstrate my technical desktop skills in this role, work with basic server administration/deployments and between me and the practice manager, support 16 branches of around 100 users.

Unfortunately with my luck again, within 6months they had to let me go (made redundant) as they couldn't afford to keep me on due to the economical situation at the time.

At this point I was pretty much looking for only perm work and within 2 weeks of leave, I had an interview for service desk role that paid again minimal pay but it was an established organisation's in UK.
Although it was a step back in terms of work, I took it on the chin in hope that in the future I can prove my worth and get back into a desktop role.

Guess what - 8 Months into the job, I was told they were having a change over and the desk was going to be ending however as I had proven my worth, my manager wanted to keep me on.
Long story short now, I got talking to the desktop head while negotiating a pay rise at the service desk and desktop were able to offer me a contract job (no head count for perm) and pay was nearly double!

I took the desktop role with open hands and worked like I had a point to prove.
Within 6months my manager recognised I had a very good user relationship and involved me in incident management, change analysing during the change accessory board and made me lead for VIP's for any requests/incidents.
Within a year I had another pay increase and I was heavily involved in many key project to the organisation.
Although no training was provided - I was leading a small desktop team at few different venues, I was solely responsible/in charge of technology requests, incidents and changes of a few venues and I was lead for mass technology moves which involved staff numbers exceeding 800.

A period of 2years and 3months I was involved in this type of work load and was able to excellent references of all users (inc many executives).

However the workload has significantly decreased in the last few months and I will be forced to leave by the end of the week as they will no longer need my services or of any contractors for that matter.

During my 2+ years with this organisation, multiple times they had approached me to become perm however the pay decrease was too great to accept.
I do not regret going perm as I had done many Out of hours jobs and if I was perm the most I would have got from it would be time in lieu.

So now I am forced into seeking a new venture and I am honestly struggling as to what role would be suitable while maintaining the type of pay I had.
I do not really have any time of Qualifications in IT apart from a degree and my proven track record.

ITIL V3 and Prince2 are courses I am thinking of taking immediately after this week so I am more employable.

What would you all suggest I do in terms of options?

northernladuk
3rd April 2012, 09:45
Firstly, you need to understand how you work. As a contractor you do not get 'Pay' you get a rate. You will probably be well within IR35 but I am not going to get in to how you run your contracts. That sounds like a painful discussion for later..

It is possible they gave you a contract to make you easy to bin when they needed to rather than having to make you redundant. This option might look good to you but you have to think about why they do it.

From what I see here, and being brutally honest, you fell in to a contract role rather than won one with skills and knowledge. You do not as you say appear to have any marketable skills that would make you stand out from a crowd when you go for more contracts. Also you need to have solid skills to show, you have raft of roles you were moved on from for one reason or another, this also won't help your contracting career. When clients look for contractors they want specialists that can hit the ground running, not all rounders that have a 'can do attitude'.

Reading this quickly I would say you need to go back perm and get yourself a skill. Be an expert and a certain role that you can make a career of. So far you have pinballed from role to role. Keep plugging at the permie element and get a couple (3-5) years in a role and specialise in that. After that then you can look at going back to contracting.

Falling in to the contract to suit the client means you are highly unlikely to maintain this level of pay. By all means apply for roles but do not ignore the permie element to build up your skills. You are going to have to take a cut to build yourself up for the future.

5 years of general stuff does not make you a skilled contractor I am afraid.

SimonMac
3rd April 2012, 11:41
As NLUK say's I think the contracts you have had has been for the the clients benefit not yours, of the qualifications you say PRINCE2 will be a waste to you, as it will just be a paper qualification so any position that would benefit from the certification would be unavailable to you without any experience, there are lots of PM's on here with years of experience struggling to secure a contract in this market.

In my opinion you need to find a specialty, as general jack off all trades don't make good contractors, or should I say rich consultants. Based on what you have said I would maybe go down the Service Desk Management route, there is certainly a market for the skill of setting up service desk's, or reviewing existing services desk maybe as an alternative to outsourcing. Find a role as help desk supervisor/manager (which should be well within your grasp with your experience) bone up on a few quals for 6 months to a year and you will be set.




5 years of general stuff does not make you a skilled contractor I am afraid.

Can you please post that same comment in general as I have to be professional in here!

northernladuk
3rd April 2012, 12:06
Can you please post that same comment in general as I have to be professional in here!

Do you? I thought it was more relaxed here than in the prof forums? Maybe not to general standards of course. You are not going to be mean to little old me are you?

Support Monkey
3rd April 2012, 12:37
Agree with both replies, you can make a living being a jack of all trades and there are contracts but for longevity as a contractor you need to specialise, think about the roles/projects you have been on and then find the thing that interests you the most and has a future and then push the qualifications and find a perm role doing it to get the experience then go back contracting

mobad
4th April 2012, 06:18
Thanks for the replies.

I am thinking of either continuing desktop while getting trained on newer technology which in the long run I can try and specialise in or Service Desk Supervisor or Assistant to Service Desk Manager or Team Lead.

Would these be options good for career progression?

northernladuk
4th April 2012, 10:40
Thanks for the replies.

I am thinking of either continuing desktop while getting trained on newer technology which in the long run I can try and specialise in or Service Desk Supervisor or Assistant to Service Desk Manager or Team Lead.

Would these be options good for career progression?

You don't have a career in contracting generally. You tend to be taken on to do the job you are specialise in. You tend not to get free training at clients and need to be very lucky to get roles above your station just because you are a good person. There are of course exceptions and it is possible to migrate between roles but this is by no means a career progression IMO. That is for permies.

pmeswani
4th April 2012, 12:09
You don't have a career in contracting generally. You tend to be taken on to do the job you are specialise in. You tend not to get free training at clients and need to be very lucky to get roles above your station just because you are a good person. There are of course exceptions and it is possible to migrate between roles but this is by no means a career progression IMO. That is for permies.

What NLUK said. If you want Career progression, go perm. Seemples.