We must go back in time to understand what Freelance is about.
Analysing history, we can find that the word “Freelance” had deeper roots, if not Ancient, than Medieval. According to the novel book of Sir Walter Scott, “Ivanhoe’’, the Lord in that time refers to paying the army while he assembled: I offered Richard the service of my Free Lances, and he refused them—I will lead them to Hull, seize on shipping, and embark for Flanders; thanks to the bustling times, a man of action will always find employment.
As Gothic architecture went viral in the European continent, buildings in such a style were expanding their revolutionary art, but with the help of the “Freelancers”. The need for workers has become very important for these ideas of building huge and magnificent buildings. So many people were recruited in the borders of short-term contracts or: Freelance contracts. People were working on one project and no longer engaged with it. Some of the Gothic buildings are in the process of developing even today.
As world technology developed, we are now living in a world of the internet
Network of over 4.9 B people using the internet and sharing their needs, knowledge and more. It is hard to imagine the possibilities of that kind of environment, where you have access to the greatest problems, solutions, news, and people, where you can be part of.
Regarding working, “Freelance” stands for people who usually are self-employed, who probably avoid long-term contracts with companies, and their work is done by their decision of how they want to work, when and where.
I am a freelance, a very common status at the beginning of the 21st century.
People are sitting in the park, in coffee shops, or mountains while they are part of the billions of projects currently running on. To become a freelancer, as it was in the Medieval period (Maybe in the Ancient too), now is the same. You need a skill that will come out of your knowledge, which will be built on the base of your intelligence. That doesn’t mean that it is hard to become a freelancer; it means that, like everyone else, you need to be dedicated no matter the industry you are working in.
Web Development and Coding, in general, are the reason for this amazing achievement of making the internet accessible, sustainable and progressive for billions of people. In the Web Development and Coding industry, many Freelancers and Freelance Careers work at their own pace and environments, participating in thousands of Coding Projects, either big or small. According to N26 (LINK), Freelance developers are winning in Europe, having the highest average hourly rates, and are in increasingly strong demand. The Pandemic increase the demand for freelance workers too.
To be a Programmer and, at the same time, a freelancer is very compatible and creates a benefit and problems too.
As a developer adjusting to the Freelance concept can sometimes be challenging. To be sure that you will have a bright Freelance career in Coding, you need to have this “arsenal”:
- Have a strong Portfolio
- To have a Personal Brand
- Strong networks within the industry field
- Have the Soft Skills
- Be part of a community that masters the subject
Becoming a freelancer will bring you benefits. From there, your list of positive improvements will look like this:
- Flexibility: Create your own pace and environments
- Boosting your career and personal development: Working and chaining different projects and industries will improve your understanding of the things out there.
- Way above average income: No matter the country or region, you can earn a significant income.
- Multiple sources of income: If your skill, will and time are well adjusted to your way of life, you can take on several projects to work on.
- Choose the work: Selection of the work you like means absolute freedom.
- Work-Life balance: Self-Management and the possibility of taking a break whenever you needed
Every coin has two faces. Becoming a freelancer will bring you a few challenges (avoid the term: problem). It’s not easy to establish a career as a freelancer. The cons are:
- Financial security: You will be in charge of your salary. Since you are a freelancer, you will be forced to seek jobs and projects to pay the bills.
- No benefits: No paid vacation days, holidays or sick days. The pension scheme will struggle too.
- Working in the night: Overtime working will be common in your Coding and Freelance career
- Difficulty in the process of getting clients: Sometimes, struggling in the process of getting the job will encourage you.
Coding can make a real difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable people out there
As a freelance in coding, you have the opportunity to use your skills to help facilitate change by working with NGOs and other groups that are focused on helping those most in need. Through coding, you can create programs and applications that will be invaluable tools in the fight against poverty, inequality and injustice. Coding can be an incredibly meaningful experience. It allows you to positively impact society while giving back to those around you.
Keep in mind that the cost of moving to a place or country for vulnerable people in order to work is very high and sometimes very hard. With access to the internet and a skill set in coding, one can participate in different projects and jobs. Throughout freelancing, the opportunity for professional development can be surprisingly high.
Dedication and willingness are crucial, and therefore success is guaranteed. There are many online coding schools, tutorials, communities and instructors who are waiting for the people who want to learn, adapt and make their way into the Tech Industry. Education is a long and infinite process. Getting the skills for your first job in Tech can be done in less than a year. Therefore jobs in the Tech Industry are increasing in Europe, looking for skills like:
- C/ C++ Software Development
- UX/UI Design
- System Administration
Finally, platforms and projects like MigraCode can bring the map of coding schools in Europe, giving scholarships to Migrants, Refugees, and other vulnerable groups of people. Starting a bootcamp in IT can be a life-changing moment, where you can become a programmer, be part of communities, and access a huge amount of learning materials.
Back to the Freelancing.
SHA has many alumni already working in Tech as Freelancers. They are very motivated to give us their points of view, experience and suggestions. Michal Kaso is one of our Alumni students with very good experience, ready to share and speak about it. We made a short interview on the subject of Freelance in Coding:
1. Is the process of becoming a Freelancer difficult in the Web Development industry?
The biggest challenge for anyone actually paying money for a service, either freelance or full-time contract, is making sure the person you’re hiring has the necessary skills. Having an active Github Account and documented projects all over your LinkedIn + A Professional Website is a must. Then you’ll have to go through countless interviews and coding tests to prove your worth. So yeah, it is not easy. However, it gets easier once you break into it and create credibility with past work.
2. What are the opportunities you can have after becoming a Freelancer?
In the past, I would say the ability to work from anywhere. However, with the whole remote-work culture, that statement doesn’t hold as much value anymore. Also, being in charge of your own taxes, social security contribution etc., could get overwhelming if you don’t know what you’re doing.
The beauty of a Freelance contract is that you get to be your own boss and work at your own pace. You will have zero obligations towards strict company policies and notice period time. Furthermore, freelancing means picking up as much work as possible without being limited.
The downside is that the employers can terminate your services whenever they want, thus scoring very low in the whole job-security scale
3. Do you think freelancing offers an alternative income opportunity for vulnerable groups?
You could say that. I’ve witnessed cases where one individual could pick up several projects, thus hiring multiple people and providing full-time employment. At the end of the day, it comes down to the individual. Freelancing gives people the opportunity to compete on a global scale.
Now we have a clear picture of how the “Freelance” world works, and even back in history.
Accepting the challenge is on us. As there were a lot of “Gothic Projects” and the workers were working on them, now the “Coding Projects” are out there, waiting for the developers to show their skills, but from a beach, park or library, usually in a short-term or Freelance contract.