You mentioned that you have some consulting experience, so why not explore a full-time career in consulting? As a consultant, you are able to work on a project-basis with a variety of organizations, the latest technologies and different industries. Consulting also affords the opportunity to select only those projects that best suit your professional and technical goals.
As you expand your project experience, you can broaden the scope of projects you are working on and expand your skill set much faster than in a full-time position. As a consultant, you will experience diverse corporate cultures and workplace environments first hand -- which could prove to be invaluable should you decide to seek a permanent position with the company at a later date.
If you decide to pursue a full-time consulting career, consider working with a specialized IT staffing firm. These companies offer many advantages, including extensive industry and market contacts and immediate access to free technology training opportunities. They also handle many of your "back office" concerns, such as marketing your skills and withholding taxes as a full-time employer would.
Whatever the decision, your career objectives should remain the same -- to continually develop your technical knowledge and build your hands-on experience.
This was first published in May 2001