Months-at-a-time work for software guys?
March 10, 2012 12:51 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as seasonal tech (programming, project management, ...) work?

A friend and I (both sw guys) were observing the other day that a number of our mutual acquaintances not in the tech industry who have reached semi-retirement do a variety of seasonal jobs (split between the truly seasonal tourist and hospitality industries and the not-really-seasonal but 9-10 months-at-a-stretch entertainment industry).

Is there such a thing for software guys, and if so, what? Or is the only equivalent independent consulting?
posted by rr to Work & Money (8 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I think it depends on the specific industry -- tech itself isn't really an industry, it supports industry. For example, I work in the tech sector, in the gaming industry. Our busy season work-wise is definitely the summer, and the bulk of any short term contracts happen during that time period. This is to support the huge push to have our major titles released in the fall. Since all the work is wrapped up long before that, any layoffs typically happen in Oct/Nov, people take vacations over December/January and things start to ramp up again in the spring.
posted by cgg at 1:17 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

Tech work isn't inherently seasonal, but you can pick up short-term contracts and make it seasonal for you.
posted by b1tr0t at 2:42 PM on March 10, 2012

Short-term Contract work for programmers is fairly easily found.
posted by empath at 3:05 PM on March 10, 2012

Likewise, I know that Amazon (and presumably other big ecommerce sites) go into crunch mode late in the year as they prepare for Christmastime buying— I don't know if they hire short term tech people for the duration, but they might.
posted by hattifattener at 3:25 PM on March 10, 2012

Actually, Amazon tends to go into code-freeze mode from September through December. New deployments are generally forbidden, unless they fix operational issues. Amazon also strongly prefers to hire full time people into Dev, SDET and PM roles. They don't do the perma-temp thing that Microsoft does.

I would be surprised if any Amazon teams hire temporary technical staff for the holiday season. But not shocked, because Amazon does tend to try a lot of stuff out and keep what works.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:57 PM on March 10, 2012

Google's Summer of Code is by definition seasonal, but it's for students, and stopped accepting applications for this year nudistertian.
posted by dirm at 8:53 PM on March 10, 2012 [1 favorite]

I guess it's because I live in the DC area, but there is SO much contract work for the federal government that's on like 3-6 month contracts. If you put your resume up on monster, you'll get recruiters calling you constantly for contracts.
posted by empath at 10:30 PM on March 10, 2012

I used to work in a company that would hire the same programmer for a specific annual project, for a 6 month period. He treated it exactly as you mention your acquaintances do: a kinda semi-retirement.

I think he found the job as a contractor, and he certainly returned on that basis.
posted by SuckPoppet at 7:56 AM on March 12, 2012

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