Atma Xplorer

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Freelancing vs Corporate Programming

If you ever decide to take up a career on programming, then there’s only two paths that you can take, becoming freelance and or taking up a job at a certain company. There are few people who can balance both because they require quite different disciplines when it comes to working policies and your programming knowledge.

Freelancing

Freelancing is not for everyone especially for those just starting out because all of the work goes to you. Talking to clients, information gathering, coding, the works. It’s not the easiest job in the world but it’s definitely one of the most rewarding.

Why freelancing?

  • Flexible Schedule – freelancing full time or part time is your choice. There’s nothing stopping you from choosing a schedule that will work for you. Like the idea working at night when everything is peaceful and quiet? Your will not cut into your other commitments so long as you choose not to.
  • Choosing your Projects – Once you have established yourself in the market, you can choose to work only on projects that interests you. Each new project that you picked personally will not only save you headaches but also allow you to appreciate your work more.
  • Everyday Learning – One of the better parts of Freelancing is researching. You get to learn more something new as you do research on what you need to finish your task. Although you can choose projects that you already know a lot about, taking assignments where you are still a novice, or at least a wide variety of projects, can sometimes be very rewarding. If not the experience then the knowledge you’ll earn will be worth the effort.
  • Independence – You are your own boss. You work as you wish and set up your own goals. For some people, nothing else can be better than that.
  • More earning potential – The more projects you take in, the more money you will make. If you’re well established, you can set prices on projects and command premium rates.
  • Meeting new people –– Once you get a steady stream of clients, you get to meet all types of people and interact with them. No more living in the dark for you.

What does it take to go into freelancing?

  • Determination – Or motivation, depending on how you look at things. You need to be able to finish everything that you started no matter how challenging the work is. Leaving things half-done or buggy is a sign that freelancing is not for you.
  • Flexible knowledge – If you’re starting up as a freelancer, you should get to know some if not all of the possible languages your possible-clients will want to implement. I’m not saying that you have to know every nook and cranny of these languages however, familiarity with their use will be enough because you will spend most of your time planning and developing more than coding your work.
  • The right aptitude – While becoming familiar with what language you’ll be using maybe enough, you should at least have some know-how on making things work. You should at least know where to ask for questions or find answers when your in a pinch. Knowing what System.out.println(*data*) means isn’t useful if you don’t even know how to make the UI for the input right.
  • Generosity – Although your projects are your bread and butter, there are times when you need to donate to the community. Providing free, easy to use softwares for everyone to use and providing support for them when possible is the best and easiest way to gain the attention you sorely need.
  • Awareness with updates – Because software development can be rapid, there will be times that you have just considered yourself competent in one field when a new one enters the market. You must be able to decide if you can use the new technology or use the time to improve yourself with what you already know.

Corporate Programming

If you’re the type of person who prefers working with a group then try applying for a job on a company. You will need to do less work and you are assured that there’s a paycheck waiting for you at every payday. Not everyone’s cup of tea but you certainly can’t the fact it’s hell of a lot easier than freelancing.

Why go corporate?

  • Financial security – One thing that you’ll definitely be assured of is when and where the next pay cheque.
  • No more self-marketing – if you’re part of a company, you have no need worry if your clients, present and past still have you on their mind if they need a project to be worked on.
  • Fixed need of expertise – Companies usually stick with one language and simply make it work. There’s little need for your to keep up with what’s the current trend. The only updates that you need to look into are those of what development platform your company is using.
  • No more fee negotiations – Payments for your work will fall on your salary. You don’t need to come to a mutual agreement with your client?your employer will do that for you.
  • Being part of a team – Because there’s more of you working on a single project, you will spend less time with development, coding and implementation. Better teamwork can also lead to better friendship with your teammates.
  • The possibility of promotion – If the company loves your work well enough, you can find yourself in the envious position of project manager. You won’t have to deal with skepticism because your credentials will more than speak for you.

What does it take to go corporate?

  • Credentials – If you’re fresh graduate, this can be a bit of a problem (myself included). Some companies use school credentials, namely the transcript as a basis for hiring people While I don’t frown upon the idea, it strikes me as unfair if you did bad on your lesser skills in school and don’t get hired for it. It’s old fashioned yes but company policies are adamant. Fortunately, there are others who would offer you a job if you simply passed their test, using your credentials as formalities only.
  • Knowledge on what the company needs – Looking at the classified Ads, you’ll find that companies are searching for a specific programmer at anyone time. This is because it’s the company’s policy to stick with one technology at anyone time due to financial reasons. Changing technology within the company is a hefty and dangerous gamble which is why it’s so rare. if you want to enter into a company of your choosing, you only need to study what they require and little else. A bit of research on the company’s history will do you wonders in the job interview as well.
  • Willingness to work with a team – Having the right chemistry with your team is a long and winding process. Freelancers who wish to go corporate usual find it hard to work with other people because they are used to working alone. While it’s really efficient and beneficial for all if you work with the team, it can take some time and effort.
  • Willingness to work with under someone– You should be aware that your boss holds your paycheck. Try not to cross him or her every so often or you might find yourself looking for another job.
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Comments ( 2 )

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  1. jay September 18, 2007 Reply

    very informative. have heard a lot of corporate guys going to freelancing after a few years or even just month. but for freelancers jumping to the corporate world? hmm, i don’t know. only a few maybe.

  2. Ron September 19, 2007 Reply

    I’ve done some freelancing while simultaneously dragging myself to the office! =) I was able to create a web app for a UK based client, but it effectively put my office work on hold while I was working on the freelance project.

    The great thing about freelancing is that you get to choose your way of implementing the solution, you are not bound by your boss or your team’s specifications for the solution. You also get to learn a lot, I know I did! =)

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