In Pictures: 15 tips for surviving - and thriving - as an IT contractor

Pundits are calling 2014 the year of the IT contractor. Here are 15 tips for setting up shop and making it stick.

Ups and downs come with the territory "You'll never be a [successful] contractor if you can't deal with uncertainty," Bad Dog Consulting's Deegan says. Sure, layoffs happen to full-time employees, but not with the same frequency that contractors encounter short-term insecurities, says Mattiuzzi, the career services director at Sacramento State.

Then there are the long-term uncertainties driven by economic changes, business cycles and technology trends. Mattiuzzi has met contractors who believe demand for their particular niche of services will last forever, when in fact it won't. Her advice: Plan for lean times by having plenty of savings and professional contingency plans at the ready. (And, in the words of slide #10, continuing education is key.)

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