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How can I become a contract software developer?

By kveratis ·
I have been working for small businesses as a software engineer for over 5 years making less than $30k. I am looking to become a contract software developer since I hate being a wage slave working for incompetent managers and all the corresponding office politics (but then again who does). The problem is I don't know how to find this type of work, especially since I am stuck in a backwater state like South Dakota. I have a B.S. in Computer Engineering and lots of experience developing custom applications for small businesses, but no Certifications. I have thought about getting a MCSD.NET certification, but I'm not sure if it would really help or not. How do I transition from a wage slave to independent contractor and get better pay in the process.

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South Dakota is part of the US last time I checked.

by royhayward In reply to Nice link but

So the link is very appropriately also for a company here.

Are you looking for some similar links to companies in your location?

Please let us know where you are.

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Very good advice

by Tony Hopkinson In reply to Your Second Job - Salesma ...

Don't fall into the rolling contract trap, where you are simply an extra resource to correct a temporarily permanent shortage. It's OK to do this is as a stop gap, but don't think 'employed now'.

I fell into this one, you need the time to keep your skills current. Very easy to end up years out of date, I know one guy been doing Fortran 78 for 15 years on a rolling contract, not a lot of call for that out side the people he's working for!

Don't forget to budget (time and cash) for training etc, as a contractor you are meant to be the finished article, very rare your current 'employer' will pay for it, especially a core skill.

I missed out getting on the .Net bandwagon, that cost me big style.

Can't give you much advice market wise because I'm in the UK, but remember you aren't working for them but for you. Contract developer isn't permanent devloper with more money.

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My biggest mistake

by General C# In reply to How can I become a contra ...

After working on a big contract I had some money and decided to take some time out to develop an accounting system of my own. It took me a bit longer than I planned and I ended up broke. I tried to find an easy way out and selling a software package is not easy.

Now I'm back to customized solutions, and I'm giving my software away for free. I charge for installation, training, and support. The good thing is that companies that have implemented it now give me jobs to integrate add-ons, which is easy especially since I have the source code.

My biggest problem is marketing. I spend a lot of time going through the yellow pages and it's not very effective. Most of my business comes from recommendations. I worked for a consulting firm and I didn't have to do any marketing, which was cool, but I only received 50% commission. All they did was marketing and I handled the rest of the work. I felt that 50% was too much to give away and now I'm alone.

Try to work with existing system like Oracle Enterprise, and SAP. If you can integrate applications into those sort of systems, you'll be rolling in the dough.

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by jefferyp2100 In reply to How can I become a contra ...

The best method is to go through a consulting/contracting firm.

First, post your resume on If your skills are in demand, you'll get some calls or emails. Usually, you won't get an offer until the firm can place you at a client for a contract.

You may have the option of being a full-time salaried employee, a W-2 hourly employee or a 1099 contractor. Be aware that none of these positions should be considered permanent as your job will end when your billable work ends. Benefits can be hard to purchase if you're a contract (1099) employee, so this is't a good option for many people.

Try to find the market value of yours skills before you give anybody a salary request or hourly rate. You should be able to earn more than a full-time (permanent) employee doing the same job. If not, you're being underpaid.

MCSD certifications can be helpful in getting your foot in the door if you don't have a lot of experience with .Net. I haven't found certifications to be very useful in general, mostly because the tests don't teach you how to properly apply the technology.

If you don't get any calls or emails, you're skills aren't in demand in your area or you don't have enough experience. You can also call some local firms and ask to speak to a recruiter.

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Some info

by nymmers In reply to How can I become a contra ...

I have minimal experience with the computer side of things, but I am looking for guidance in this aera and a potential employee to do what you are looking for. If you could give me further infomation or if I you wouldn't mind me picking your brain to see if your skills are what I am looking for, that would be really helpful. Thank you

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by WindDroid In reply to How can I become a contra ...

After reading this I felt like I read nothing more than a rant. Words and phrases like incompetent, "office politics," stuck, "back water state," slave tend to make me envision somebody who is feeling sorry for themselves. Typically this posting would be worthy of ignoring, yet I felt compelled to give my $.02.

I've worked with computers (software developer, network admin, dba, system admin) since 1978, starting with Unix (c/bsh) programming on a DEC PDP 11/44 and Apple II (CP/M O/S) Pascal programming. My current knowledge is primarily C# .NET with over a decade in C++, some Java, but very little web development...For the first time since, I've been out of work for over two years. If I find myself looking at my situation in much the same light as you see yours, I know that things will only take longer to get better, if they get better at all.

If you are over 50 like me, landing a job is extremely difficult. If younger, is still is very difficult--these are the times, and like in the past, these times shall pass. Most importantly we, including myself, often forget or fail to believe that where we are in our lives are caused, for the most part, by our decisions. And with that, we have the ability and knowledge to change. Often not trivial.

If you want the best help, then don't rant, don't get emotional and don't be inflammatory in these forums.

I wish you and others in the same boat fair winds and following seas. Good luck,


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pay scale in software development contracting

by GabiFlorea In reply to How can I become a contra ...

What sites do you all know that would give pay scales for working as a software developer through contracting/self employment?

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