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I was working through a contracting firm at the time.

It doesn’t change the math. You should still insist on enough of a difference in your hourly rate to make up for paying your insurance. I’ve worked with contracting firms from both sides - hiring through them and working for them. They take enough of a cut from what they charge the client to have wiggle room to adjust your hourly rate.

That gig didn't work out for me either way. I don't think I'll ever head back towards contracting. But I will consider this in the future.

Not directed toward you specifically, but people over index on benefits when choosing between contract work and full time. Every benefit has a dollar value that you should you use when determining an acceptable hourly rate - that includes health, PTO, holidays, 401K matches, etc.

Companies don’t generally hire contractors to save money, they hire them because it is a lot easier to get rid of them. You should be able to charge a premium as a contractor not make less.

But then you better be damn good at budgeting, networking and keeping your eye on the market.

Yeah those are things I lack experience in. I have had less than half a handful of jobs as a software engineer. I hate having to leave jobs but if they dont give me any other choice...

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