The market for IT contractors in 2017 remains strong if the candidate has the right skill set and the ability to handle the challenges of freelancing.

As we move into the first quarter of 2017, the prior year’s trends in the job market for IT contractors toward higher pay and increased demand for specialized skill sets continue to grow. IT contractors looking to ride this wave of high demand will benefit by capitalizing on the skill with data analytics or cyber security while they must continue to navigate the many challenges of freelancing.

IT Market

Entering the new year, the demand for IT contractors continues to center on those individuals with two particular skills sets: data analytics and cyber security. The need for data scientists is driven by the tendency of low-cost digital storage to allow businesses to accumulate data without understanding how to use that data to create business value. A skilled business intelligence analyst with experience in enterprise resource planning (ERP) can add value to an organization by helping the company reduce expenses or utilize their data to increase their customer base, and these potential drives demand IT contractors with this skill set.

Similarly, the need for cybersecurity experts continues to grow. Indeed, a report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies found that cyber security jobs paid as much as 10 percent more than related positions. Some skills within the cybersecurity umbrella are particularly in demand, including secure software development, intrusion detection, and attack mitigation. Much of the business need for cyber security contractors is driven by the fact that as many as three-quarters of companies in the United States feel that the government is taking small steps to protect against cyber security threats.

Regardless of their particular skill sets, all IT contractors face the difficulties of navigating the freelance market. Marketplaces for freelance talent continue to grow in popularity on the business side, providing increased options for IT contractors. Platforms like Upwork provide some benefits for IT freelancers, including payment facilitation, a rating system and project management capabilities. One Upwork contractor, Stephen Kidwell, was able to hit the $250,000 revenue mark last year and notes that Upwork’s clients are becoming more comfortable agreeing to end-to-end projects.

New IT contractors still face some challenges despite the overall boom market. Before taking the significant step away from a full-time position, potential contractors need to consider those potential issues that don’t fade even in an active market. Pricing, scope management, the requirement to have general liability insurance and the need to build in reserves for benefits often prove to be stumbling blocks for new IT contractors. Still, for those who enter the world of contract work with their eyes wide open, the market is in a prime place to see success as an IT contractor.

Interested in learning more about the opportunities available for a skilled IT contractor? At Washington DC, Northern Virginia & Maryland’s Nachman Networks, we can help you understand the current freelance market and the options available to those with the right skill set. Contact us today at (703) 600-3301 or to learn more.