What is Contract Programming? An Alternative to th

What is Contract Programming? An Alternative to the Conformity of Everyday Employment

by: Michael Nigohosian

What is contract programming, you ask? Well, when companies need specific computer programming expertise, for temporary periods of time, they generally hire a contract programmer or an employee of a consulting firm. Contractors almost always have a higher hourly wage than a salaried employee and are often paid for overtime. Contracts can last from one to three months to many years, depending on the situation. A contract programmer generally does one thing: program (code) for the duration of the contract. So, contract programming is just an area of computer consulting. Other areas of computer consulting include custom developers, network consultants and information technology (IT) consultants. The contract programmer can work via two forms of contracts: 1) ขW2 ข contracts and 2) ข1099ข contracts.
Thereกs the กW2ก contractor
The ขW2 contractorข receives the typical IRS W2 form at tax time and works as a temporary employee of a contract broker or some form of employment agency. The contract broker basically acquires a contract with a client company and hires the contractor to work on that contract for them. Brokers make their money by charging the client an amount over your agreed upon hourly rate. In this form, the contract programmer is a temporary, hourly employee of the broker’s company and this is the form that is easiest for the newcomer to obtain.
And the ก1099ก contractor
As a ขW2 contractorข, your broker a.k.a.: temporary employer or agency will collect taxes from your paycheck, just as if you were a regular employee. The ข1099 contractorข, can still work through a broker, but gets paid on an IRS form 1099 and must take responsibility for paying all applicable taxes herself. This ข1099ข form is for, in IRS lingo, ขIndependent Contractors.ข Independent contractors have more work to do before they get a contract: they have to market themselves like any other business. This includes brochures, business cards, web sites, networking, etc. They have to consider obtaining more forms of insurance that may include general business liability and errors & omissions insurance. They also generally have to form a corporation in order to work for certain companies. The pay back for this extra work is a higher hourly rate. To the beginning contractor, I always suggest starting out as a ขW2ข contract programmer because it is generally the quickest and easiest path to becoming a contract programmer and the best way to determine if contracting is the right career choice.
The กW2ก contractor is like a typical employee…almost
The main differences between a fulltime employee and an hourly, contract employee working for a broker are, the contractor:
1) Will probably have to pay for his or her own health and disability insurance, which amounts to very little compared to the increased income one usually sees.
2) Generally gets paid topdollar for his or her work. Many earn $100 or more per hour for 40+ hours a week.
3) Can take as much time off from work as he or she pleases, while inbetween contracts.
4) Has independence from corporate politics.
5) Has the chance to live wherever she wants or live in different places as determined by the particular contract.
6) Is often seen as an expert in his or her field.
More work for ข1099ก contractor
These points apply to the ข1099 contractorข as well, but the ข1099ก contractor has more work to do in filing taxes, corporate paperwork, advertising and searching for her next contract as opposed the ขW2 contractor,ข who basically makes a few calls to her favorite brokers and tells them she is ready for another contract and the brokers do the jobsearching for her. Now, everything I’ve said thus far is pretty cutanddry, so let’s take a look at a more elusive topic: what qualities make a good contract programmer.
Signs of a good contract programmer
Over the last decade, I have met and worked with many varied computer programmers. From this experience, I have devised the following list containing what I believe makes a good potential contractor programmer. A good contract programmer:
1) Makes computers an avid hobby of his. When he comes home from work he plays with or hacks the computer trying to improve its performance.
2) Tries to learn more about computers than his peers do and he also likes to program the computer to have it do ขcoolข things.
3) Has often dreamed of being an expert, highpaid computer professional.
4) Has learned how to master the art of studying computer science.
5) Spends his free time reading computer books and magazines — yes kind of geeky!
6) May like to build his own computer systems and enjoys tweaking and upgrading them to extract the most performance from them.
7) Is very professional and humble.
Youกve got to love to do it!
These really are just some of the basic qualities of someone who loves computers and loving computers is really the main ingredient for a successful career in contract programming. If you don’t love doing it, you will not survive. If you do love it, it will be a joy to go to work every day and to continually update your skills. The computer field changes rapidly and only someone who really loves computers and makes it his hobby will have the desire to continually upgrade his skills and be the best he can be at all times. If you possess most of the seven qualities listed above and like the idea of using your hobby to catapult yourself into a highpaid, fulfilling career, even if the economy is down, you should consider a career in contract programming.

About The Author

Michael Nigohosian is the author of the awardwinning and bestselling series, ‘the Secret Path to Contract Programming Richesก and instructor for the course กIntroduction to Contract Programmingก. He is also director of Rapid Mastery Technology™ at McGillis, Wilcox, Webster & Co., Inc.™ http://www.mwwcorp.com

This article was posted on June 15, 2004

by Michael Nigohosian

Web Marketers Get Some Professional Help!

Web Marketers Get Some Professional Help!

by: Tim Coulter

There is lots of freelance help available on the internet, from writers, editors, proofreaders and other professionals in the writing industry to software developers, graphic designers, web designers and all manner of other technical and business specialists.
Thanks to the increasingly popular outsourcing exchanges, such as Elance.com, SmarterWork.com and ContractedWork.com, it is now very easy to find and hire the right contractor for your project at the right price. If you need help with a technical project, such as software development or web programming, there are even exchanges like RentACoder.com that specialize in these disciplines and organize their participants according to their individual skills.
Using an outsourcing exchange is quick and easy. You simply post a description of your project requirements (in sufficient detail to allow a contractor to estimate its cost) and within hours you will receive proposals from a number of freelance specialists, each one eager to win your business.
You can even use an outsourcing exchange as a research tool, to get an idea of the likely cost of a development project that you may be considering. However, you should beware of posting repeatedly without awarding a contract, as this will earn you the reputation of a timewaster and may adversely affect the response you receive to future postings. As a buyer of freelance services, posting your requirements is usually free. It is the contractor that pays for access to the service, either as a monthly subscription or as a percentage commission on the value of contracts awarded.
If you decide to award a contract in response to a posting, you can protect yourself (and the contractor) using escrow payments. You simply prepay the contract value into an escrow account (an interim bank account provided by the exchange operator) knowing that it will only be released to the contractor when you confirm that the work has been completed to your satisfaction. Likewise, the contractor benefits from the reassurance that funds have been reserved to pay for his services. For complex projects, it is even possible to administer phased payments via the escrow account and, in the event of a dispute, take advantage of an arbitration service.
One of the benefits of online outsourcing exchanges is that they provide access to contractors from all over the world. Several countries (such as India and parts of Eastern Europe) have very low labor rates but a highly skilled and professional workforce, making it possible to buy highquality services very economically. Most of these professionals also speak and write English to a very high standard, making formal communication no more difficult that with a local contractor. The instantaneous nature of internet communication means that it is no longer necessary to collaborate facetoface.
Of course, the use of freelance contractors is not without its risks. To ensure that your project delivers the results you’re expecting, you should follow a few simple guidelines:

Create a budget for your entire project so that you know how much each aspect should cost. This will enable you to assess the overall feasibility before you start spending money on contractors.
Write a detailed specification for each of your freelance requirements.
If appropriate, use a nondisclosure agreement before sending out the specification to bidders. If so, it will be necessary to post a project overview in the freelance exchange and to operate a closed bidding process.
Get a fixed price quotation before assigning work to any freelancer. If a freelancer is unable to provide a fixedprice quotation, it may be an indication that your requirement specification is not sufficiently clear or detailed a warning sign of trouble ahead.
Administer your freelance assignment using a written legal contract that clearly specifies time limits, fees, dispute procedures, confidentiality, ownership and other contractual terms.
If possible, use the exchangeกs escrow payment service to protect yourself and the contractor.

If you take the freelance route, it is important to ensure that all rights to profit from the final product, or any materials produced in its creation, remain yours. If you do not, it is possible that a contractor employed to contribute to your project could claim the result as his own and use or sell it independently when it is completed.
You should keep a paper trail linking yourself to anyone with whom you discuss your project, including emails, letters, faxes, and even written records of telephone conversations. This will establish the relationship between you and your contractors, and will prove the source of any confidential details. Although this paper trail may never be needed, if problems arise youกll be glad you made that little extra effort.

About The Author

Copyright © Tim Coulter. All rights reserved.
Tim Coulter is a consultant and software developer who helps netpreneurs to harness marketing technologies.
He is also the author of กClickBank The Definitive Guideก The Ultimate ClickBank Tutorial & Reference Manual.


This article was posted on June 29, 2004

by Tim Coulter