Becoming a computer programmer is one of the more well-paying jobs in the market today.
Our society is becoming more and more dependent on technology and the people who choose to be part of those who cater to this need and pursue computer programming as a career are expected to be highly skilled and more than able to handle the demands and complexities of coding.
But while computer programmers are people who generally receive better than average wages, even within that field, pay rates are stratified between those who are fully employed by one specific company and between those who do contract programming.
Contract programmers earn more than full-time employed computer programmers.
Contract programmers are contractors who work on a per-project basis with a company or companies for a specific duration.
Contract programmers are also called programming consultants and are considered experts in their chosen field. Just how much is a contract programmer paid?
Contract programmers are paid by the hour, and their hourly rate typically starts from $35 per hour and can go up as high as $400.
An independent (1099) contractor will generally bill on the higher end of the spectrum while a W2 Contractor will be on the lower end.
That rate, however, depends on many factors such as the budget of the client, which is the company hiring the contract programmer; the broker or agency with which the contract programmer is affiliated; and the complexity of the project and the programming language required.
Contract programming jobs are negotiated. Some clients regardless of size can have deep pockets and are willing to pay much to get a certain job done.
Conversely, there are clients who stick to what they think is a fair price for the project they are contracting. Naturally, the more complex a project is and the programming language it requires, the more expensive it is and the higher the rate that the contract programmer may demand.
Eventually, the fees paid to the contract programmer are a result of the project negotiation. The fees paid to the contract programmer may or may not go to the programmer in full; if he or she is affiliated with a broker or an agency, this broker gets a cut for finding the work for the contract programmer.
Contracting can be the best way to go if you would like a large income while needing a lot of flexibility with your work situation.
You should think carefully before making a decision about going full time vs contract programming. As implied, there are contract programmers who work with a broker while there are those who fully work on their own.
Contract programmers who have brokers are called W2 contractors; those who do not are 1099 contractors. These terms are based on the IRS forms these contractors fill up during tax time.
W2 contract programmers are almost like full employees in that their brokers deduct the taxes from their salaries and do the paperwork required by the IRS on their behalf, the way companies do with their full employees.
The broker may also grant the W2 contract programmers with health benefits and the like, but these benefits are not at par with those received by full employees.
On the other hand, 1099 contract programmers, while more highly paid and get all their fees in full, have more work in store for them.
Since they do not have brokers, they have to do their own networking, negotiating and paperwork. They will also have to obtain their own errors and omissions insurance and other business liabilities.
To learn more about finding a contract programmer position, negotiating the best hourly rate or increasing your current hourly rate, begin to read “how to master computer programming“