Hi all and reality check for Newbie Hi all and reality check for Newbie
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  1. #1

    Nervous Newbie

    Lizardman has no reputation


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    Default Hi all and reality check for Newbie

    Hi everyone,

    like so many I’m new to contracting as well and have been lurking around the forum for a while now.
    So here is my official “Hello together”


    I’d already like to ask for some advice as well though:

    I have about 5 years of experience in IT support/networking/management (including 2.5 years of apprenticeship) within the years of 2010 – 2016 and references from Germany and Australia (just moved to Britain). Currently I am applying for 3 – 6 months contracts in London as Network Engineer, Service Desk Manager and Service Desk Analyst worth around 300GBP per day. Other than at previous attempts in Germany I'm getting literally no response at all for anything I send out (except the obligatory “we added you to our database and someone might get back to you”).

    To make sure I’m not wasting the coming weeks completely I hoped you could help me out with your opinion on my following assumptions/questions:

    Am I out of the IT business for too long to be even considered (3 years)?
    Do Europeans currently get a miss due to Brexit uncertainty?
    Do agents get flooded with CVs within minutes after posting which makes getting picked a point of luck?
    Do I have too less experience (5 years including 2.5 years apprenticeship)?
    Do other applicants undercut advertised rates and hence get preferred?
    Am I too impatient (over 20 applications in the last 2.5 weeks)?
    Does someone play on a similar level like me and got experience to share?
    Do any other ideas/advice/comments/related posts come to mind?

    Some more details:

    Who am I and how do I apply?
    - Male, 27, German, one general IT college degree, one apprenticeship as network admin in Germany
    - 2012: worked in enterprise environment in Germany as infrastructure technician (2012)
    - 2013: worked for IT service provider for small to medium companies in Australia as support and specialist
    - 2014-2016: worked in same company in Australia as Team Manager/Network Engineer
    - 2017 – 2018: founded Virtual Reality Service Provider Startup in Germany which I gave up end of 2018
    - In reality I traveled a lot between those positions and my real experience adds up to a bit over 5 years (incl. 2.5 years of apprenticeship, excl. my Startup) which are roughly 50% networking, 25% support and 25% mgmt
    - Got my CCNA, PRINCE2 Foundation and ITIL Foundation Certs over the last months (no practical experience with PRINCE or ITIL)
    - CV has 3 pages, no picture, no day rate and all CVs tailored to asked keywords in ads
    - Applications usually sent within 1h after job ad posting (some 10 minutes after) mainly through JobServe

    When applying for similar contracting roles in Germany last year about 5 out of 10 of my applications got forwarded to end clients and agents called me with offers etc. (didn’t end up getting a role either but at least I got to the interview stage). In my last Australian position I earned the 300GBP equivalent in a perm position, so I don’t feel too high up in the sky with my expectations. I tried to discuss my above assumptions/questions with agents as well but since none of them are ever available I thought I rather try it here.

    Tried a while to find answers to this in other threads on the board and got some bits and pieces of information here and there but nothing satisfies my growing uncertainty. Hope to have posted in the right forum, not offended anyone and am happy about every response ?

    Cheers,
    Lizardman

  2. #2

    My post count is Majestic

    northernladuk is always on top

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lizardman View Post

    I have about 5 years of experience in IT support/networking/management (including 2.5 years of apprenticeship) within the years of 2010 – 2016 and references from Germany and Australia (just moved to Britain). Currently I am applying for 3 – 6 months contracts in London as Network Engineer, Service Desk Manager and Service Desk Analyst worth around 300GBP per day. Other than at previous attempts in Germany I'm getting literally no response at all for anything I send out (except the obligatory “we added you to our database and someone might get back to you”).

    To make sure I’m not wasting the coming weeks completely I hoped you could help me out with your opinion on my following assumptions/questions:

    Am I out of the IT business for too long to be even considered (3 years)?
    Yes plus the fact that even when you were in the business you have very little experience. 2.5 years of full time work after an apprenticeship is just like the bare minimum for anything let alone contracting.
    Do Europeans currently get a miss due to Brexit uncertainty?
    Dunno but irrelevant due to your first post.
    Do agents get flooded with CVs within minutes after posting which makes getting picked a point of luck?
    Yes they do but getting picked has nothing to do with luck. It's about plenty of relevant experience. You've only got 2.5 years and haven't done anything in 3 of those. Time moves fast in IT
    Do I have too less experience (5 years including 2.5 years apprenticeship)?
    Most definitely. No one will count your apprenticeship as experience.
    Do other applicants undercut advertised rates and hence get preferred?
    Not generally as clients tend to use rate cards. There are more than enough experience people out there who will do exactly what the client wants for the money the client expects to pay so undercutting isn't really going to work. The person undercutting will also generally be good enough to get the gig. You aren't talking about undercutting, you are talking about getting paid a much lower rate to match your experience and situation
    Am I too impatient (over 20 applications in the last 2.5 weeks)?
    Well.. not really. I suspect you aren't applying to the right gigs and are using the scattergun approach which means you are going to have to expect a high number of applications coming to nothing. It's likely that 2.5 weeks is going to turn in to many months in your situation though.
    - In reality I traveled a lot between those positions and my real experience adds up to a bit over 5 years (incl. 2.5 years of apprenticeship, excl. my Startup) which are roughly 50% networking, 25% support and 25% mgmt
    So another issue appears. You are a jack of all and highly skilled in none. So lets say you've 2.5 years full time experience, you now say only 50% of that is in Networking..So technically just over a year in networking. Nothing else over a years worth.

    So looking at what you are applying for, lets match up your skills.
    Network Engineer - A year of skill 3 years ago... not good.
    Service Desk Manager - Can you even do this? I don't see any experience at all.
    Service Desk Analyst - First line support guy? Possibly.

    - CV has 3 pages, no picture, no day rate and all CVs tailored to asked keywords in ads
    How do you have a 3 page CV with just 2.5 years work????

    When applying for similar contracting roles in Germany last year about 5 out of 10 of my applications got forwarded to end clients and agents called me with offers etc. (didn’t end up getting a role either but at least I got to the interview stage). In my last Australian position I earned the 300GBP equivalent in a perm position, so I don’t feel too high up in the sky with my expectations. I tried to discuss my above assumptions/questions with agents as well but since none of them are ever available I thought I rather try it here.
    I'm wondering if you don't understand contracting in UK or if it's quite different to Germany which could explain the difference. I know nothing about contracting in Germany, or if it even exists as we know it.

    IMO you need to go permie and get yourself some skills and experience.
    Last edited by northernladuk; 18th January 2019 at 15:34.
    'CUK forum personality of 2011 - Winner - Yes really!!!!

  3. #3

    Nervous Newbie

    Lizardman has no reputation


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    Hi Northernladuk,

    thank you very much for your honest opinion, certainly not the answer I hoped for but its great to get some trustworthy feedback!
    Guess as the next step I will see if I can get some response for a more modest position/salary then.

    In response I'm happy to share some experiences and assumptions I made in this direction:

    I'm wondering if you don't understand contracting in UK or if it's quite different to Germany which could explain the difference. I know nothing about contracting in Germany, or if it even exists as we know it.
    I started my last business with a friend whom I did my apprenticeship with. After he finished that he worked for a bit over a year in the same company and then started to contract for Skype4Business projects. I think he started with dayrates around 350GBP and went up to 630GBP over the course of 2 years on and off. After we started our business together he picked up some consulting projects with his previous clients, which we then charged 880GBP per day, after he hasn't really been in business for 2 years (all in Germany).
    I gotta admit that when it comes to IT he is far above average smart, was specialised in a particular product and that the market is indeed very different in Germany (to which extend I begin to realise more and more).

    In regards to experience I would like to add that it highly depends on what people make out of their time. I'm sure most of the contractors here have worked with people having multiple times as many years in the bag than themselves, while they are still providing multiple times the value than those colleagues with more experience. When we charged those 880GBP dayrates my businesspartner didn't have more years of experience than me either. At my last job in Australia I earned those 300GBP as a permie with only 1 year of experience but that was/is truly a completely different market.

    In terms of the market landscape, contracting is a reasonable thing in Germany with the German counterpart to your IR35 becoming more and more of a threat though.
    I believe that the language barrier is a huge factor for German speaking countries in general in regards to specialised labour supply/demand - its a huge industry based on a language that no one speaks (globally). Compared to Germany competition seems to be extremely high over here, particularly with more approachable outsourcing options like India etc.

    I'm wondering if you don't understand contracting in UK (...)
    In regards to a contractor I believe the main selling point is a high level of expertise in a special field (initially proven via certificates and references about delivered projects), experience from other similar projects or companies and a high degree of speed, autonomy and self motivation.
    Aside that employers like agile "sourcing and disposal" of personell, not paying sick- or holidaypay or other fancy social stuff that the modern permie demands from an employer.
    This is how I understand it (plus many small points), please let me know if I'm missing out on anything essential

    *edit for proofreading, sorry to anyone who tried to read it before
    Last edited by Lizardman; 18th January 2019 at 20:18.

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