Freelance software engineering or freelance programming is currently a trending career option in the United States of America. Research has revealed that around 20 million people are engaged in independent programming work from the 55 million freelancers in the country. The number is expected to increase by 40% by 2020. This is due to the role a freelancing career plays – higher pay, immense job satisfaction, flexibility, freedom and several career opportunities and work options.
The following tips will act as a playbook to start finding jobs and build a freelance career, if you are planning to make a switch to become freelance software engineer from a regular job.
Listen to this….
Many software engineers are turning into full time freelancers just to rewrite a more self-controlled destiny. Apparently most of these engineers have assured us that freelance programming work pays more, in fact as much as Facebook and Google pays to their people.
Isn’t that just great? Let us also add that according to Bloomberg 2017 report, a talented freelancer was paid as much as $1000 per hour in the year 2016. The rate has just increased by 20%.
Best 5 Tips for Freelance Software Engineers
Here are some top tips that you must follow:
Build a Network, You Already Have the Skill
Unless you want to make a 180 degree career switch, you already have the necessary skills of a professional software engineer. But building a network in any business is very important – be it a freelance or a huge corporate.
Software engineers frequently get calls from many recruiters with job offers. What you can do is start making a list of these recruiting companies and get back to them as a marketing person selling your services on a contract basis.
Look up your contact list for individuals who have already expressed their motives in hiring you. Get in touch with them and ensure they know you are available for freelance projects. You can also join communities and networking platforms like LinkedIn to see who in your network requires engineers on a freelance basis.
Today plenty of companies and hiring managers generate leads from these professional business websites. So ensure your profile is updated with necessary information and you are active all the time. You have to be on sight for people to recognise you.
Get in touch with software development companies who are looking for contractors and send in your resume. Don’t be disheartened if they don’t get back to you immediately. They usually get lots of mails and messages; so you have to ensure that you follow up each lead and make your services known.
Make Sure You Are Financially Secured
In fact, this should be your foremost step when you decide to venture into freelance career. Before you quit your desk job that pays you a salary every month, no matter what, for a freedom filled career, make sure you stock your bank account with enough funds to comfortably survive the next 6 months.
Apart from your monthly expenses like rent, electricity and groceries, you will incur other expenses also like tax, medical insurance and retirement savings. Financial stability eliminates most of our survival and job related stress.
How can you save? When you are at your current work, occasionally take one or two projects that you can tackle post working hours. You can also start working during the weekends. Initially it will be hectic, but once you save enough for a comfortable living, make the switch.
Next, Don’t Consider Yourself Anything Lower Than a Brand
When we think of high quality clothing and bags, Gucci immediately comes to our mind. Similarly, create your presence such a way that when corporates or hiring managers think of best freelance software engineers around, your name should appear on their list.
Branding and promotion is very important when you start a business. And in this case, you are the ‘Business’. You have to ensure you create a tagline around your name.
How can you create your brand? – By marketing yourself, the key to freelance success. Tweet, blog, host webinars, create your own website and a portfolio and put yourself out in public. Bring value to the table by charging unique rates and producing high quality services.
A great website is one of the important marketing strategies most of us ignore. But you better don’t, because this is the era of internet and digital marketing. It could be your go to business card.
Make sure your website includes everything that can easily attract a hiring manager – your profile, qualification, specialisation, blogs (that show your knowledge in the field), contact details and list of completed projects.
Don’t Burnout… Learn the Art of Time Management
Often found that Freelance software engineers are at a higher risk of burning out from hectic schedules. Although, freelance career guarantees flexibility, most of us don’t know how to set agendas and decide our own capacities for contract work.
Additionally, you will not have managers and peers to help you prioritise work and delegate assignments. You are responsible for setting routines and a schedule that would not let your brain to mush out.
How can you stop from burning out? Know how you can manage time tactfully. Allocate certain hours for each project per day. Remember to give more time than you think you need.
Make sure your rates are strategically placed. Be clear about your terms when dealing with clients, in the beginning itself. If there’s additional work requirement, make sure you inform your clients the additional budget and amount of time it will take to complete the task. Give some time for relaxation and rejuvenation.
Stay Socially Aware and Informative
A business thrives when the company is socially active and has excellent communication skills. The same rule applies to individual freelancers; in fact you have to ace in interpersonal and social skills more than the others now.
Professionally the way you network, the number of events you attend, and how you respond to requests help you to meet new clients, get work from fellow freelancers and let you to stay up to date on current industry trends.
Personally, socialising is great way to not feel lonely that comes from working all alone without co-workers to talk or employee oriented fun events. Join Facebook, Instagram and other networking sites to stay in touch with people and to participate in various niche oriented events.