Why You Should Choose IT Consulting Work in Chicago

The Saint Charles bridge and Baltimore and Ohio Chicago Terminal Railroad Bridge over the Chicago River with the Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) and 311 South Wacker in the background under a clear blue sky, Chicago, IL September 12, 2018

In the Windy City, it’s not a question of whether there are IT opportunities, but which are right for you. Do you choose to work with one of Chicago’s passionate startups or at the regional headquarters of a top tech company? Should you dedicate your talents to a tech firm or expand into other high-paying industries? No less important is the choice between full-time work and IT consulting positions. As part of the local tech scene, you’ll find several advantages of IT consulting in Chicago, and here are three to keep front-of-mind.

Higher Compensation for the Right Talent

As a rule of thumb, IT contracts pay more than full-time positions. The lack of overhead from employee-related expenses loosens up hiring budgets to increase compensation. In the Chicago market, there are particular high-paying IT skillsets that tend to yield far more for contractors than full-time workers.

Application Developers are a prime example. On average, an App Developer salary in Chicago runs about $77,651. Contract rates can be $75 an hour or more (which translates to over $156,000 for a 12 month contract). In general, we are seeing an uptick in the demand for Developers, so you can expect IT contract rates on the upper end of the spectrum.

Cybersecurity is another great opportunity. According to Built in Chicago, the average salary for a local Security Engineer is $110,320. In our experience, the average IT contract rate is $98 an hour (or $203,840 a year). With financial and healthcare companies among Chicago’s top businesses, there is always a demand for tech talent capable of protecting highly sensitive data from cyber threats.

Not seeing your job title? If you want to calculate the average IT contract rate, you can use our 2019 IT Salary Guide as a start. We outline the range of full-time compensation for a variety of positions, which you can use a jumping off point to calculate your contractor rates (Monster provides a great resource).

The Chance to Test Other Industries

There’s more to Chicago IT opportunities than traditional tech positions. Long-established Chicago industries and disruptive newcomers need top tech talent to continue making their mark. For anyone eager to explore new technical challenges, IT consulting affords them with somewhat of a trial period to determine the right fit. These industries offer a particular advantage to Chicago IT consultants:

Trading Firms & Financial Companies

The work is fast-paced and expectations are high but the pay is almost unrivaled in Chicago. The projects range from building real-time analytical apps to analyzing complex data. If you can keep up with the industry’s brisk pace, there are often opportunities to transition from contract to full-time work.

Logistics and Supply

From railways and rivers to airports and highways, Chicago is a vital transportation hub. Now, companies in the logistics and supply space are looking to harness IT for higher performance and efficiency. Contract work in this space gives you opportunities to think from a holistic perspective, streamline your processes, and build a reputation with reputable brands.

Food and Consumer Packaged Goods

BizJournal predicts startups in the vein of Grubhub and Tock will continue to surge forward in 2019, and many will need contingent workers to scale with growing demand. Contract IT positions in this sector are often excellent boosters for your IT portfolio. You’ll get to immerse yourself in top coding languages and technologies, flex your tech muscles tackling different projects, and usually walk away with an eye-catching assignment under your belt.

Healthcare Insurers

We are seeing organizations in Chicago’s healthcare space reaching out for more contract positions (in both technical and nontechnical positions). As these organizations conceive tech-fueled ways to outcompete rivals, they are more likely to turn to IT consultants to give them a competitive edge. Working in healthcare IT contracts gives you a chance to problem-solve in a challenging field and broaden your knowledge.

Take Greater Advantage of the Local IT Community

By its nature, contract IT work is more flexible. Contracting may afford your schedule some flexibility but you will need to deliver project milestones within designated timeframes. That freedom empowers IT consultants with more chances to network and engage with their peers and local resources.

Where can you spend your time? Here are a few opportunities we recommend:

  • Built in Chicago – This IT organization not only helps tech professionals to stay connected with industry news but hosts a number of IT events that encourage networking, learning, and forging connections that lead to career growth.
  • Tech Bootcamps – If there is a specific skillset you want to build, you have the freedom to take time out of your schedule to take part in one of the local bootcamps. Whether it’s boosting your UX design or expanding into Project Management, you can more easily balance your ongoing education with your project workload.

Are you eager to make the most of IT consulting in Chicago? Reach out to our recruiters. We’re connected to top businesses in the Chicagoland area and can match you with opportunities that maximize your IT contracts.