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Breck Carter
Last modified: March 12, 1999
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Y2K Disaster: Good News, Bad News

-- Editorial --

First the Bad News: As many businesses put computer changes on hold until the Y2K danger passes, the demand for consultants and contract programmers is dropping like a stone. Consultants who've never had a problem getting work in their whole lives are now finding themselves on the shelf as current contracts end.

I'm not making this up, I'm hearing it from many sources, and not just unhappy contractors. Agencies and consulting companies confirm the situation: contract work is hard to find and many contractors are riding the pines (sitting on the bench).

This trend started about 4 months ago. At that time people were saying it would be a short term thing, that business would pick in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 1999. Now, however, those folks are regarded as living in a Fantasy World.

Now the smart money says it's bad news all year, no work 'til the next millenium. The Y2K bug is a disaster all right, but not for clients.


And now the Good News: The surplus of available consultants and contract programmers is an unprecedented opportunity for businesses to start new projects. Just because no changes are going to be made to production systems for the next 9 months is no reason to stop development of new applications.

In fact it's a development dream: No phased installations for 9 months, which means no interruption to the work, no need to maintain Phase 1 while you're struggling to build Phase 2. Nine months of heads down, productive work!

Some clients agree but say "I've got staff sitting on their hands, if I'm going to start new development I'm going to give it to them." Fair enough, but there are a lot of very good consultants available right now, and it's an opportunity that shouldn't be passed up.

Here's why: The best consultants and contractors help your staff rather than replace them. They act as mentors, they teach skills, they transfer knowledge, all the while getting projects over the rocky terrain: avoiding pitfalls, meeting deadlines, and generally getting the job done right. In the end, the project's successful and the staff is ready for the future.

And then there's the possibility of [ahem] price flexibility. Let's face it, supply and demand is working in favor of the client right now, and will continue for the rest of 1999. If consultants want to work they're going to have to accept lower rates. And if agencies want business they're going to have to cut commissions and overhead.


Dear Client: Here's your chance to take advantage of the Y2K "Disaster" and have new applications all ready to go for the Year 2000!

What's your opinion? What's your experience?
Send me an email, I'll keep it confidential.

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