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Is life as a freelance software developer for you?

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A freelance software developer is a programmer who works on an ad hoc basis, rather than as a full-time employee exclusively bound to a single company. Freelance developers often work for multiple clients at once, but some might choose to work with one company at a time on a contractual basis. Most freelancers are hired to complete specialty application projects that require unique, higher-level coding skills. However, it’s not uncommon for developers to provide a company basic application support on a regular basis. Freelance development is a career path that offers a lot of time flexibility, independence and room for self-driven professional growth. However, there is a flipside, and it comes in the form of uncertainty, financial vulnerability and a ton of hard work. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at these two sides of the freelance software developer’s job, and the factors you must consider if you’re looking to pursue a career like this. Advantages of freelance software development The main advantage of working as a freelance software developer is the flexibility that comes with the role: You get to decide when you work, what jobs you want to take and how you get those jobs done. Unless a contract specifically dictates working a certain number of hours, or at a specific location, freelance coders likely won’t need to sit in an office from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Another thing to note is that freelancers are under no obligation to take on the entire extent of a software project’s workload. They often have the freedom to choose the particular projects they are most comfortable with or interested in, rather than being told exactly what code to write. Sometimes, working freelance can even make it easier to find work. Landing a permanent, full-time position at a company can be difficult, especially for programmers who are just starting their careers and lack a considerable spread of real-world coding experience. Finding a company that is willing to commit to a part-time freelance project can often be less of an ordeal. What’s more: That project could be a steppingstone to a full-time role, either with the same company or with another one attracted by your freelance portfolio. Downsides of becoming a freelance developer In other ways, working as a freelance software developer is not always ideal. You must constantly be on the lookout for new projects to take on when your current contracts expire. Sometimes, contracts can also terminate for any number of unforeseen reasons, making it essential to have a backup plan. This requires you to be adept not only at coding, but also at branding yourself, marketing your expertise and making business connections. Another issue is that freelance developers must essentially know how to run their own business. While full-time employees typically enjoy the support of human resources and finance departments, freelancers will need to manage their own self-employment taxes, oversee the process of invoicing clients, and chase down those who don’t pay. Cash management can be […]

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