Putting my P.Tech. to Work

According to Forbes.com, one of the top workplace trends for 2014 is the normalization of freelance/consulting work. 

28, Nov, 2014

Today’s workplace is vastly different from 25 years ago, especially in Alberta. The rise in technology, the focus on key industries in a particular region, and the differences in generations has shifted what a typical workplace looks like. The standard work week of yesteryear is being transformed to suit today’s economy and workforce.

According to Forbes.com, one of the top workplace trends for 2014 is the normalization of freelance/consulting work. Hiring consultants can be very beneficial for companies, providing experts for specialized projects without the added expense of things like benefits provided to full-time employees. People working as consultants love the opportunity for higher compensation, and more flexibility in their work schedule.

One of the things I like most about consulting is the ability to focus on a project without having to worry about other corporate distractions that client employees might face,” says Roger Fluter, P.Tech.(Eng.). “On the flip side, sometimes you can miss out on the fun opportunities with a client company if they do not include you as part of the company.

As a graduate of the Engineering Design and Drafting Technology program at SAIT, Fluter had no idea where his career as technology professional would take him. Starting work at a small oil and gas engineering company, he moved up the corporate ladder taking a variety of technical and management positions.

“Most of my career was spent working at three companies where I started as a consultant,” recalls Fluter. “Each consultant position got my foot in the door and led to staff positions with higher responsibility.”

With the opportunity to work abroad in South Korea, Indonesia and Australia, he gained technical expertise that he was able to bring back to Canada.  In addition to new positions in different industries, it gave Fluter the opportunity to mentor his colleagues and watch them grow.

“One of the challenges of working as a consultant is to keep a strong network while still focusing on a client’s needs,” states Fluter. “Being able to pass my knowledge to others provided me with a chance to build a network beyond the company I was working at.”

As a result of his innovative technical solutions, leadership and professionalism, Fluter was recognized as the 2014 recipient of ASET’s Technical Excellence Award. He looks forward to continue growing his career and technical knowledge, currently transitioning to a new company as a contract Project Manager.

And while he has thoroughly enjoyed his experience as a consultant, he understands that consulting work is not for everyone. With all things, there are pros and cons and the best thing is to fully educate yourself on areas that you might be responsible when self-employed – like insurance, taxes and other legal regulations.

“Consulting is a balancing act of work and personal priorities, and can sometimes lead to burning the candle at both ends,” warns Fluter. “You can expect to put in extra hours for the administration of the company, but with support from your family, you’ll be able to reward yourself in ways you never thought possible.”

Looking at becoming a P.Tech.?  Click here to learn about the specific criteria you need for this level of membership.