A person who has chosen to pursue a career in computer programming has a number of options he or she can take in order to get ahead with his or her chosen path.
A computer programmer can choose to take full and regular employment with one particular company and enjoy a set salary bracket along with the entailing benefits of being a full and regular employee.
It is often the safe and stable route to take in career-building. However, if the computer programmer is ambitious enough and detests being confined to a regular office setting, he or she can choose to be a contract programmer rather than a full-time employee.
Contract programmers are independent entities who work with clients on a project-to-project basis.
They are tied to their client company only for the duration of the project they are working with.
Sometimes, a contract for a project will last only for a month or so, but there are projects that will give contract programmers a steady job to work on for a full year or more.
Contract programmers are referred to as consultants who specialize on a certain type of project or programming language.
They are considered as experts in their chosen specialization, and it is for their expertise that their clients hire them for the projects that they needed done.
They are also paid on an hourly rate that can range from $35 to $400 per hour.
Contract programmers fall into two general types: the W2 contract programmers and the 1099 contract programmers.
These terms are based on the forms individual contractors have to fill up with the IRS when tax filing time comes.
The difference between a W2 contract programmer and a 1099 contract programmer is subtle but vast.
A W2 contract programmer works with a broker that acts as his or her agent.
The broker is the one who finds the client for the W2 contract programmer and does the necessary paperwork needed before the W2 contract programmer can start with the project.
The paperwork that the broker does includes filing taxes and providing insurance for errors and omissions.
In return for all that trouble, the broker will get a fee above the payment given to the W2 contract programmer.
On the other hand, a 1099 contract programmer is his or her own agent. They generally earn more from the projects they work on, but that is because they do not have brokers to share their fees with.
However, as much as they get paid higher fees, they also get to do their own networking and their own paperwork. Contract programming is a perfect line of work for computer programmers who love to be independent and despise the typical office setting.
This frees them up from whatever corporate politics brewing within their clientsâ€™ premises. Aside from being paid more than a regular and full-time employee, they can also take as much time off as they want in between projects and their work is not confined to a single location.
They get to travel to wherever their work takes them.
But inasmuch as contract programmers get paid more and get to have more time off at their choosing, the one thing that a regular employee has over them are the typical benefits like health and dental insurance.
Networking is also crucial; if they do not land any clients to work with, they will not get any money to live on.
A bad feedback from one client can also destroy a contract programmerâ€™s reputation if he or she is not careful, and this will limit his or her options for work.