What the Gig Economy Means for the Future of IT

gig economy and IT

Many people are familiar with the gig economy and its influence on the transportation sector. Now, anyone with a car can apply to drive for Uber or Lyft and potentially make money with their vehicle by getting people in their communities where they need to go.

But, the gig economy is thoroughly disrupting the IT industry as well. Let’s take a look at some of the things already happening.

Companies Rely on Freelancers to Boost Innovation

According to a 2017 survey from Accenture that polled over 8,500 companies and IT leaders, 85 percent of executives polled planned to hire more freelancers over the next year. Plus, more than three-quarters of people chimed in to say that they feel extreme pressure to innovate within their organizations.

In many cases, freelancers could be the individuals who stimulate that much-needed innovation. That may be because a company does not have sufficient talent to work on a project that requires extraordinarily specialized IT skills, such as expertise in machine learning or virtual reality.

Then, they can hire freelancers for short-term projects that increase the establishment’s innovation and make them more competitive in the marketplace. Such an arrangement also makes sense if a company is eager to experiment with an emerging technology but won’t or can’t devote the resources required to bring full-time workers on board.

But, the gig economy is already crowded with tech freelancers who possess the necessary knowledge. So, success requires IT workers to continually network and make their capabilities known. They can get started by posting listings on sites where company leaders often go to look for people with skills that might not readily be available in the broader job market.

It Makes Skilled App Developers In Demand

The gig economy has resulted in an incredible amount of apps that let people earn money through their “side hustles.” Some of those individuals use several apps during specific periods of the day to increase the likelihood of consistent income streams, albeit from various sources.

Most people know about Lyft and Airbnb, but what about PeerRenters? It has an app that lets people list things they can offer others for rent, ranging from cameras to musical instruments. There’s also Dolly, an app and accompanying website where users can book people to help them do the heavy lifting during moves.

The point is that more apps appear regularly. App developers with the required know-how and time in their schedules can step up to meet needs.

It also means people who go through degree or training programs to learn app development don’t necessarily need to plan on working a 9-to-5 job for a consistent employer. They might decide to work from their home offices as freelancers who are simultaneously part of the gig economy and doing work that supports others in the same position.

IT Workers in the Gig Economy May Miss Out on Benefits Others Get

Despite the gig economy offering conveniences such as allowing people to work during odd hours and monetize skills or possessions, there are downsides to this way of working. Statistics indicate that temporary workers — the category most gig economy participants fall into — are as much as 72 percent more likely to get injured than non-temp workers. Plus, they don’t get sick days that allow them to recover without fear of going broke.

IT workers are at risk of repetitive strain injuries, especially if their duties involve lots of typing on keyboards. But, if IT workers from the gig economy know time off from work equals money lost, they might resist seeking treatment for their ailments. Then, what starts as a highly treatable condition that eases under the proper working conditions could turn into a problem that regularly flares up and causes debilitating consequences.

Plus, it’s not likely that a gig economy worker from the IT sector would get other perks such as paid vacation or retirement plans. Fortunately, the highest paying gig economy jobs are in tech. But, without job-related benefits that traditional workers get, candidates must think carefully about whether the rates they earn are as lucrative as they seem.

The Gig Economy and IT

Like most things, the gig economy has both positive and negative factors. One of the best things about it for IT workers is it offers them expanded possibilities, especially for those with highly sought after skillsets.

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Nathan P. Sykes

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