Thom polynomials measure how global topology forces singularities. The power of Thom polynomials predestine them to be a useful tool not only in differential topology, but also in algebraic geometry (enumerative geometry, moduli spaces) and algebraic combinatorics. The main obstacle of their widespread application is that only a few, sporadic Thom polynomials have been known explicitly. In this paper we develop a general method for calculating Thom polynomials of contact singularities. Along the way, relations with the equivariant geometry of (punctual, local) Hilbert schemes, and with iterated residue identities are revealed.