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CPUniverse.com provides a wealth of resources for contractors

CPUniverse.com, the Web site of "Contract Professional Magazine," is one of the best resources in the IT contracting galaxy. Find out how this site can help you.


Contract Professional is a leading publication for IT contractors and consultants. Established in 1996, the magazine publishes in-depth articles on consulting and IT trends as well as marketing, law, and taxation issues that may affect you. The magazine’s Web site, CPUniverse.com, publishes only the table of contents for the current issue. The good news is that the site offers many other valuable resources, including both an archive of past articles and a roundup of IT consulting news. Read on to find out how the site can help you find the contracting resources you need.

The nuts and bolts of CPUniverse.com
The CPUniverse.com home page lists weekly headlines and feature articles. Recent articles covered such topics as client retention, pro bono work, H-1B visas, and helpful Web sites for contractors and consultants. You also can sign up to receive free newsletters via e-mail. Besides a general weekly newsletter, the site also offers such newsletters as E-Commerce, 1099 Tax Advisor, and Web Application Development.

Articles from the print magazine are added to the site’s archive about one month after publication. You can browse the issues, which date back to September/October 1996, by their tables of contents, but unfortunately, you can’t search the archive itself.

You can, however, search the site’s lively discussion boards. They cover a vast array of topics, including:
  • Charging for travel time and expenses
  • Offshore IT contracting
  • Oracle DBA certification
  • Attire for interviews
  • New technologies

You can also access a forum archive dating from November 1998.

If you’re curious about your peers, visit the site’s All Stars section, which profiles outstanding IT contractors and consultants. Each All Star is selected according to such criteria as excellence in technical skills, innovations in business practices, accomplishment in the face of significant challenges, and “client satisfaction above and beyond the call of duty.” You’re encouraged to nominate any outstanding consultant or contractor you know—even yourself.

How much should you charge?
What hourly rate should you expect for DBA work in Milwaukee? What’s the IT climate like in London? Find out in the site’s Contract Job Outlook section, which lists information on cities worldwide. You get not only typical rates and an overview of the area, but also such details as demographics, cost-of-living data, transportation tips, information on arts and recreation opportunities, and links to related Web sites.

CPUniverse.com also provides a Skills News and Rates area, which gives information on specific technologies such as Linux, Solaris, BroadVision, Lotus Notes, PowerBuilder, and Gigabit Ethernet. You can find out how much you should earn for working in Internet security, telecom, hardware engineering, data warehousing, and test engineering, and you’ll also get details on relevant books and Web sites.

Special sections
The CPUniverse.com Law & Tax Tips section offers advice and information under several headings: home-office deductions, non-compete agreements, domain names, avoiding bad contracts, and Web site user agreements. In addition, a Tax & Law special section provides links to relevant resources, and helps you answer such questions as, “Can you pass the 20 Factors Test?” and “What should you do if the IRS audits you?”

Other special sections include:
  • Business essentials
  • Travel
  • Technology tips and resources
  • Training
  • Insurance
  • Investments
  • Job strategies

Each area includes full-text articles and links to other Web sites. The Business Essentials section also gives an extensive list of links to technology industry associations, and the Training area includes a calendar of upcoming IT courses across the country.

Finally, if you’ve had enough work for the day or you want to clear your mind before tackling a tough project, check out the site’s Procrastination pages for cartoons and other fun stuff from the magazine.

Thomas Pack is a freelance technology reporter.

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