By Arun Kumar
The Freelance Software Engineer's average starting salary is $58,000!
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more lucrative for software engineers to choose freelancing as a way of career. The comfort of owning your time, working from home and choosing projects you would give your 100% is too good of an incentive to transition from a full-time job to freelancing.
Post pandemic, the freelance industry will continue to boom as more talented developers seek opportunities as per their liking. Software engineer salary has skyrocketed since 2020, with a whopping 22% increase.
If you’re a 10x software engineer on the lookout for better opportunities to use your skillsets, you should consider becoming a freelance software engineer. It’s easy to transition, provided you have the right guidance. In this article, we provide you with the necessary pathway to getting started with freelancing in the software industry and how Taln makes it easy.
Software development is easily one of the most lucrative industries to freelance. It’s a high skillset job, where the industry knows how very few developers are capable of delivering quality software. As more businesses digitize and innovate, software development roles will continue to observe growth.
But not every company can afford to hire a full-time software engineer, or their use case might not even need one. This is where the gig economy becomes relevant. Companies usually conduct a cost-benefit analysis of their requirements and decide the model for hiring talent.
Source: Google Trends for the keyword - freelance developer jobs
As you can see, the search for freelance developer jobs are consistently increasing since 2004.
As per Bloomberg, the freelancers and contract workers comprised 54% of Google’s total workforce as of 2019! Legacy companies like Atlassian, Hubspot, Dropbox, crypto leaders like Coinbase, and startups like Drift and Lyft are adopting a fully remote strategy. With remote work here to stay post-pandemic, freelancing becomes a better option as it brings flexibility and the chance to increase income.
Across multiple programming languages, the average freelance programmer makes $60-70/hr, with an annual salary of around $120,000.
- Upwork, an article by Sean Cope -
60% of the full-time job goers earn more than their salary when they took up freelancing.
You can position your hourly rates as per your market positioning with the factors mentioned above.
It’s a great opportunity today to enter the freelance software development space. But where does one get started to become a freelance software engineer?
One should not be making the big leap without having a few clients and projects at hand. It’s not wise to directly leave your jobs with no plan. During the initial days, you can moonlight with small freelance projects and then slowly increase the pace as you navigate and settle into a routine.
A few prerequisites you should keep handy include:
Have a of your past work portfolio ready. In freelancing, a portfolio is given more importance than a resume, hence spend time developing one before approaching projects.
Fixing a price on your work is an iterative process, but you need to fix the services you will be offering and the pricing for each. Since you’re new, you might want to start with 10%-20% lower rates to compete with existing freelancers
As a freelancer, you might have to pitch to potential clients for projects. Learn cold emailing and writing proposals. You should also learn how to negotiate, and improve your spoken and written communication skills.
At Taln, we help handhold you to getting started as a freelance software engineer. Our team actively mentors new software engineer professionals in this industry with the prerequisites mentioned. We enable your professional growth with the necessary tools and guidance to set up your own company and build teams.
Now that you have completed the prerequisites, it’s time to get clients. This is the hard part, especially for new freelance software engineers, but it gets easier as you gain experience.
A major element of getting good clients is to build a recognizable personal brand in the area of your expertise. But it indeed takes a lot of time, effort and consistency to do this.
Knowing this, here are some ways to get new freelance clients:
Twitter and LinkedIn are great networks to base your personal branding efforts. Create consistent posts sharing knowledge in your niche, project milestones, freelancing journey etc. Also, engage with other successful professionals in your industry.
Attend conferences and meetups that are themed on your area of expertise. Networking helps you meet new professionals who further help make connections to relevant folks who can land you clients. You also gain perspective and learn the latest progress happening in the software space.
The best way to network is to always be helping the other person, and not being a pushy salesperson!
As a freelance software engineer, writing is one of the most important skillsets you can learn, after software development. One of the best ways to gain clients is to showcase that you’re an expert. One can do this by writing a useful newsletter, blog posts, YouTube channel or even a book. Creating content helps you establish an authority in your industry.
In the end, ensure your efforts lead to the creation of a stronger personal brand. All these methods mentioned take effort and involve time commitment. But if you are moonlighting, finding the time to market yourself can get tough.
The major benefit of freelance marketplaces is how they can help you get clients without the hassle of building a personal brand. While there are various freelance portals on the internet, a lot of them come with limitations:
All these shortcomings are tackled effectively by our freelance developer marketplace - Taln.
We are a dedicated talent marketplace for the software industry. By partnering with us, you can immediately kickstart your freelancing journey to get clients. Unlike typical freelancing marketplaces, we offer you:
We work on a contract model and assign talent for long-term projects that ensures you always have interesting work at hand. The moment you are closing the assigned project, the next one is made available immediately as per your availability to keep you occupied. No more sending multiple proposals or cold emailing leads!
In usual marketplaces, the freelance developer is left on his own when it comes to dealing with disputes. At Taln, we offer active and dedicated dispute resolutions to ensure you get paid for the work done and smooth working relationship with the client.
One of the downsides of freelancing is how you have to take care of your insurance expenses and healthcare. There is no one to spoonfeed with employee benefits since you are an independent solopreneur. But at Taln, we provide you with comprehensive health and accident insurance benefits to ease your freelancing journey.
Taxes, especially in freelancing, is a tough nut to crack and very confusing. Our expert team helps you manage your taxes to ensure you focus on delivering via your talent on projects assigned. We also help identify tax benefits and navigate annual IT returns filing.
Choosing your projects is as important as developing your skillsets for executing them. Having the right projects under your kitty can help you land better opportunities for freelancing as a software engineer.
Selecting good projects and delivering consistently results in good client relations and a smoother freelancing journey. This further translates to the word of mouth and recommendations by the same client.
If you are ready to venture into the freelancing journey, there is no better time than now to get started. The world is already warm to remote work, and you are just a decision away from getting started in a career that you control.
At Taln, we are backed by professionals having decades of experience in the software development industry for talent sourcing. We can help you start and navigate the world of freelance software development and reduce the risks associated with it.