The Top 3 Contract Roles in the Tech Industry with the Highest Pay Increase in 2022

Everyone in the tech industry knows that contract workers get paid excellent daily rates. It’s not uncommon for engineers to charge $500 a day or more. However, pay increases are going up faster for some contract roles than others.

In this post, we take a look at three contract roles where pay is increasing beyond all expectations in 2022. These roles in the areas of data science and network engineering are booming, thanks to massive demand from firms across the board.

Network Engineer

Network engineers have always been in high demand, but in 2022, their pay is increasing more than ever before. Employers need people with advanced skills to help them troubleshoot network performance issues, carry out network monitoring, and secure security systems, such as firewalls. Many organizations do not have the talent in-house, so rely exclusively on contractors for network engineering jobs.

In 2022, a contractor network engineer can expect to earn between $60 and $73 per hour, implying a daily rate of approximately $350 to $450. Some firms may be willing to pay more for urgent work.

Most contractor engineers report to a manager. However, some companies will allow them to work independently, as long as they commit to key deliverables by particular milestones. Senior managers will communicate project goal terms ahead of time.

To earn the highest network engineer rates, you’ll need to offer project area specialization. If firms believe that you have rare skills, they will reward you. To qualify, though, you’ll need more than ten years of related experience. Contractors should have a previous career as a company-based network engineer before taking on contract work.

As a contract network engineer, firms may ask you to:

  • Manage computer networks, virtual machines, virtual provide networks, and physical hardware
  • Implement disaster recovery procedures
  • Improve current security and networking knowledge and best practices
  • Monitor computer systems and improve network performance for all systems
  • Implement firewalls and update virus protection software
  • Establish data-driven security systems that protect communications
  • Troubleshoot network communication issues

To be a successful network engineer, you will need to demonstrate knowledge of firewalls, routers, LAN configurations, and printers. You’ll have to understand various protocols, including TCP/IP, EIGRP, and OSPF. Suitable soft skills include advanced time management and the ability to communicate technical information to non-technical colleagues.

Data Scientist

Companies are increasingly looking to digitize their operations. They want to leverage data on all levels to improve their decision-making and gain a strategic advantage over their rivals.

Because of this, there are now more data science jobs  being advertised than ever before. Firms need people who know how to crunch the numbers, bring datasets together, and help executives make better, more informed decisions.

In 2022, salaries for data scientist contractor roles are increasing. Google reportedly pays professionals between $158,000 and $538,000 per year for their services.

As before, most firms don’t have in-house technical talent that can complement work. Contracted data scientists often work on short-term projects that will give their firms new capabilities. Managers will set out key deliverables and time frames and then discuss feasibility with you. They’ll then pay you on a schedule for the work you complete, sometimes by the project, but more commonly by the day.

As a data scientist working as a contractor for a corporation, you’ll be expected to:

  • Communicate analyses and data findings with various stakeholders, including senior members of the company, via visualizations and other methods
  • Interpret data and look for patterns and opportunities in it
  • Provide complex analyses of data, seeking non-trivial insights that regular in-house analysts might have missed
  • Apply new statistical models and algorithms to data troves that allow for more robust data analysis
  • Cleaning and validating the data that companies collect
  • Creating multi-stream data analyses that let firms combine insights on data from multiple sources
  • Collecting large datasets and appending them for grouped analysis
  • Telling companies about the data sets that offer the greatest opportunities to the organization

If you want to be a data scientist contractor, you’ll need to build up significant experience in a regular corporate role first, usually ten years. You’ll then need to prove to prospective hiring managers that you have a suitable degree, have substantial work experience in the area the firm wants to target, and can communicate findings intuitively. On a personal level, you’ll also need natural curiosity to fire your interest.

Data Engineer

Contracted data engineers are also witnessing profound increases in their pay in 2022 as the market becomes white-hot. Firms hire these professionals to build out data pipelines so that they can adopt digital processes more easily.

Average hourly salaries of data engineers are between $46 and $61 implying daily rates for contractors between $350 and $550. Companies are often willing to pay engineers more for short-term work, though.

Unlike data scientists, most data engineers do not spend a lot of time working with data, analyzing it, or mining it for valuable insights. Instead, they design and build systems for collecting, analyzing, and storing data instead. Because of the high-level tasks they perform, contractors find employment across a broad swathe of industries: everywhere from healthcare to factory production.

Advertised data engineering jobs may ask you to:

  • Develop database pipelines that make it easier to add new information to business intelligence systems
  • Create new methods for validating data analysis tools
  • Ensure that data collection systems comply with regulations
  • Test data architectures
  • Collaborate with company executives to design data collection systems that help meet corporate objectives

Firms want contractors who have significant experience in regularly employed positions earlier in their careers. They will also ask for coding experience, understanding of relational and non-relational databases, and data storage. Some firms may also require experts in machine learning, paying extra for their services. Certifications, such as Cloudera Certified Professional Data Engineer, and IBM Certified Data Engineer can help, too.

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Shahin Fard is the founder of Bravr. a digital marketing agency based in London. He is a senior digital marketer with 20+ years experience with a keen interest in search marketing, data and technology.