CIAT Resource Library

Employment Options: Full-Time vs Contract vs Consultancy

employment options for tech workers full time vs contract vs consultancy

Are you getting ready to enter the workforce? Or maybe you’re starting to look ahead to after graduation.  Regardless of where you are in life, you’ve likely encountered a number of different job opportunities, and it can be overwhelming to decide what kind of employment to take on.

Contract work, consultancy, and full-time employment each have their pros and cons; before you make any large career decisions, it’s important to weigh each option. Doing so will help you determine which type of employment best suits your individual needs and wants.

In this article, we’ll delve into the pros and cons of contract work, consultancy, and full-time employment to help you make an informed decision about your career path.

Getting Started

Everyone is different and has varying priorities. Your interests, skills, perspective, and career goals all factor into which type of employment best suits you.

Gather information from career websites and professional associations, talk to colleagues who work in the industry, use social networking sites, utilize career services – do whatever you need to do in order to make an informed decision that ultimately suits you.

When evaluating the pros and cons of contract work, consultancy, or full-time employment, ask yourself:

  • What type of workplace environment am I most productive in?
  • Am I looking for flexible hours or a more stable routine?
  • Am I willing or interested in going back to school?
  • Do the wages offered align with what’s expected/needed?

Taking all of these answers into consideration will help ensure that you choose a job that fulfills both your personal desires, as well as your financial requirements.

Contract Work (Freelance)

Contract work may be a welcome choice for individuals who prefer more flexibility in their workload or those just starting out in the workforce. In contract work, you are employed by an organization through a contractual agreement to complete specific projects.

Where full-time employees are typically paid for their hours on the job, self-employed contract workers are paid for specific projects or tasks. Financial compensation, therefore, typically comes from completing a job rather than by adhering to a schedule.


  • Flexibility: Contract work offers individuals the flexibility to choose when and how they would like to complete projects outside of the normal 9-5 workday.
  • Autonomy: As you have control over your own workload, you can take on as much or as little work as you’d like at any given time, allowing for fluctuations in income while a company searches for contracts that match your skill set and needs.
  • Variety: With contract work comes more variety, due to the fact that companies offering these types of opportunities are always looking for new employees with different skill sets or experience. Contracting can open many doors (and introduce more people) than full-time employment alone ever could!


  • Less stability: This type of working relationship is often viewed as short-term by employers. Even if the job was successful, there’s also no guarantee it will be renewed after completion, regardless of how well you may have done.
  • Tax obligations: As a self-employed contractor, you are solely responsible for reporting income and expenses to the government; meaning you are obligated to save money throughout the year in order to cover taxation liabilities come return season.


Consultancy work offers individuals a great opportunity to work on specific projects (with stipulated fees) that will contribute towards career growth. Unlike full-time employees or freelancers, consultants could be hired for a week or for years of ongoing collaboration. Once completed, you can move on to pursue other projects with different employers.

The primary benefit of consultancy is that it serves as an intermediate between contract or freelancer work and permanent job roles. With consultancy, you often have the advantage of selecting pay rates that match experience and education, collective bargaining rights, and even some limited benefits (e.g., travel expenses).


  • Lower risk: Unlike with full-time employment or freelancing, you are not tied down to a single job and can take on an array of short-term projects that will help build your portfolio.
  • Financial reward: Many consultancy jobs require high levels of experience. Employers anticipate this and provide large financial rewards and recognition in exchange for excellent work done.
  • Options: Consultancy moves you around various employers, offering prospects that may be more attractive than those found within single organizations or employers. You’ll find possibilities to explore new settings while building relationships with businesses in an industry.


  • Limited duration: Typically, the duration of consultancy work tends to last for a limited time. This means that the job’s overall length could range from months to just a few days, and you’ll regularly need to renew or find new work.
  • Lack of benefits: As companies largely class consultants as ‘self-employed,’ most consultants are not offered important benefits typically given to full-time employees (e.g., health insurance).

Full-Time Employment

Full-time employment with a single employer offers levels of security and stability that can’t be found in either contract or consultancy work. As a full-time employee, you are given a set list of job responsibilities as outlined by your employer and are expected to complete them within predetermined timescales.

In exchange for fulfilling similar (and often repetitive) duties each day, full-time employees are given valuable opportunities that can serve as stepping stones towards higher roles/career paths within the organization.


  • Security: A full-time job typically offers a steady paycheck which allows for large purchases and investments that may not be possible in more contractional working environments.
  • Benefits: Health insurance, retirement savings accounts, and sick days can be a lifesaver – it’s much easier to gain access to these benefits with full-time employment.
  • Professional development: Full-time jobs often offer employees the chance to advance their skills through training programs, as well as mentoring opportunities and advanced tools/equipment needed to hone their craft.


  • Routine work: Full-time employment can be repetitive, with the same job tasks on the table day in and day out.

Final Thoughts

When it comes down to deciding what form of employment you’ll take on, your wants and needs are more important than any wage or salary. Assess your lifestyle needs and preferences, and make sure you do your research before accepting any type of offer. Although no two jobs are completely alike, understanding how each role works can be beneficial in determining which one is right for you.

Take the first step.

Building a strong coding portfolio takes hard work and dedication. Whether you’re just starting in the field or advancing your career, learning how to create an education plan that aligns with your career goals saves you time and money. This also delivers the most significant return on your investment.

Career Planning

You’ve chosen an education plan with a goal in mind, and now you’re focused on making the most of your educational resources to ensure you’re setting yourself up for success in the job market. The most impactful recommendation we give to all new CIAT students in the tech field is not to wait until graduation to start their IT career planning. When you begin your career planning steps from day 1 of your program, you graduate career-ready and are more likely to find your first job quickly, with competitive salary ranges.

Let us help you achieve your career goals.

When landing your dream job, CIAT supports its students every step of the way – ensuring you graduate with more than just a degree. Our IT career services team focuses on both your professional and personal development to help prepare you for a career in web development, mobile app development, information technology, cybersecurity, networking, and more.

Get certified, earn your degree, and start your path to a new career with:

  • Personalized career coaching
  • Industry certification workshops
  • Resume building
  • LinkedIn profile optimization
  • Mock interview practice
  • Job placement support
  • Dedicated job board
  • Specialty career-building workshops
  • Technology career fairs and employer “meet and greets”
  • Work study and volunteer opportunities

Talk To An Advisor

Subscribe To Our Blog

Get the latest updated information on courses, degree programs and more…

Suggested Articles

What is the Role of a Certified Ethical Hacker in the Federal Government?
CIAT offers program paths for people seeking a career in software development and cybersecurity. U.S. Federal Government agencies engage in ... Read more
Quacking the Code: The Power of Rubber Duck Debugging
All programmers have hit the same wall before – staring at our code; brow furrowed, trying to decipher the root ... Read more
Mastering Debugging: A Beginner's Guide to Flawless Code
Debugging is an essential skill for every programmer to master. It involves finding and fixing errors, mistakes, or bugs in ... Read more
What is Cloud Computing?
Unquestionably, one of the most critical developments in IT over the past decade is the development of cloud computing services. ... Read more


Talk to an Advisor

Request an appointment with one of our IT expert Admissions Advisors for personalized guidance on building your education plan. You’ll be able to book an appointment instantly for a time that fits your schedule. 

Enrollment Deadline - July 24, 2023!

Oops! We could not locate your form.

*By submitting this form, you are giving your express written consent for California Institute of Arts & Technology to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone or text – including our use of automated technology for calls and periodic texts to any wireless number you provide. Message and data rates may apply. This consent is not required to purchase goods or services and you may always call us directly at 877-559-3621. You can opt-out at any time by calling us or responding STOP to any text message.