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What is the Difference Between Software Consulting and Software Contracting?

The answers on the internet vary from forum to forum, job descriptions, and websites. I'd like to know what the difference between both of these jobs are, and what each role entails? #softwareengineering #career # #jobs #career-counseling

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John’s Answer

Aun independent professionals go by many names: consultant, contractor, self-employed, and small business owner may be used to accurately describe a non-employee that performs work for a company for an agreed upon price.

Independent contractor is a legal term that encompasses all independent professional workers who are not considered employees under the law. The general rule is that workers are considered to be independent contractors if the client controls only the result of the work that is done, not what or how it will be done. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS): “people such as doctors, dentists, veterinarians, lawyers, accountants, contractors, subcontractors, public stenographers, or auctioneers who are in an independent trade, business or profession in which they offer their services to the general public are generally independent contractors.” Use occasionally, only in reference to the legal definition of independent contractor.

Some independent contractors may refer to themselves as independent consultants, as this term more accurately describes the nature of their work. Independent consultants seek to enhance aspects that are already working well for their clients while redefining, eliminating, or changing aspects that hinder the overall operation of the client’s business. This may include making recommendations for merging departments, adding or eliminating positions within the client’s business.

Individuals generate income by owning their own business. When self-employed, an individual must set their own work schedule, find their own customers, and acquire the knowledge and skills needed to operate the business. Those who are self-employed sometimes need to work weekends, holidays, or long hours to turn a profit. Self-motivation is a must to succeed in operating a business. Self-employment usually requires a great deal of independent learning, trial and error, and creative problem solving. Education or experience in entrepreneurship or business administration is helpful. An understanding of the laws and taxes associated with running a business is necessary.

Independent professionals exist across a variety of industries and areas of expertise. These workers can be graphic designers, IT professionals, writers, procurement specialists, or in another field entirely—consultants are only limited by their ability to have a clearly articulated area of expertise that can be packaged and sold to clients. Companies that engage an independent professional are seeking a strategic problem solver—an expert with the ability to diagnose an issue and develop and implement a plan to cure it, not just a body to complete a specific task. Some independents enjoy the intricacies of this level of strategic detail while others prefer to simply work in their area of expertise. The idea is to make a conscious choice about how your services are positioned to your clients.

Hope this was Helpful Aun

Thank you so much, that was very helpful! I hope to become as knowledgeable as you one day! All the best! Aun M.

Your Welcome Aun. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. John Frick

Thank You Dhairya. No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. John Frick

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Jon’s Answer

Consultants tend to engage with employers at a higher level than contractors. This can be all the way up to the execute suite. Generally consultants are used to guide a business or solve high level problems. They can be used to manage projects or give advice on how a project should be structured or run. At a lower level they overlap with contractors as many consultants are used as staff augmentation for coding and running projects.

Contractors on the other hand tend to focus on design and coding aspects of projects. Again there can be an overlap with consultants with highly skilled or niche contractors. But generally they are used for coding.

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Satinderjeet’s Answer

Consultants usually provide the guidance on the road map on how to solve a problem or the path organizations can take to achieve the goals.

Contractors usually do the actual work for the roadmap like coding etc.

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Angel’s Answer

John’s Answer is really on point. I think you can use one of those definitions to describe yourself or introduce yourself. However, because these terms may be interpreted slightly different among companies my recommendation is simply: ask & explain.

- When you look at job postings put less attention to the job title and more attention to the responsibilities listed for the position
- When having an interview don't assume things and clarify what the job is about.
- When talking about your self, pick the term that you think represents best what you are/want to become but also describe that that means.