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Balazs Refi
Balazs Refi

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What is IT freelancing and how it works?

Who is a freelancer?
A freelancer is an IT specialist who works as an entrepreneur on a specific project rather than as an employee of a firm (as a self-employed person or as a company — Limited Company, Limited Partnership)

The average project lasts between 3–6 and 9 months. The freelancer receives a request at the start of the project, completes the tasks, and then moves on to the next job. That is how a traditional IT freelancer operates.

The prevalence of freelance projects
IT mobility has been increasing for many years. Mostly because it is usually viewed as a collection of projects; as a result, actual contracts for a project or the development of software products are signed.

Another reason is that IT is in constant development and change, and the old static way of working no longer suits the workers.

Every year, we poll thousands of IT professionals to find out what drives them the most. The outcomes are undeniable: professional challenge, interesting and novel technologies, and competitive pay. The answer is that they do not want to work with a large brand. They would like to collaborate with a reputable brand. They aren’t even looking for a long-term job. There is a permanent workforce shortage in IT, which will worsen over time. IT professionals are unconcerned about not being able to find work. They do, however, want to work on interesting projects and be well compensated.

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The IT professionals realized that working for a single company could be the end of their career. Many advancements have occurred over the last several years as a result of the continuous upgrade of the given system. Software developers with a freelance mindset have begun to look for different projects, jobs where they can work with interesting and new technologies.

In exchange, these IT professionals had to forego the cozy workplace environments where the project manager is in charge of progress and development tasks can be completed in calmer and more static conditions.

Freelancing characteristics
Being a freelancer appears to be very appealing. Consider being able to work with cutting-edge technologies and tools… That is very encouraging news for an IT professional. Continuously new solutions, continuous learning, the acquisition of new skills, astute and timely projects? That sounds fantastic. But how does a freelancer’s life actually look?

1. Self-education
As a freelancer, you must constantly educate yourself. There are no training wheels on your projects, you are unfamiliar with the environment, and you are unfamiliar with the developers, testers, and operators who are working on the project with you. You don’t even know where to get a cup of coffee in the area.

To perform your tasks correctly, you must always be aware of the project stack, the main processes, architectural questions, conventions, and so on. For this, you must thoroughly research your new surroundings and comprehend where you have ended up.

2. Devices
You will need to provide your own devices. This, I believe, will be the least of your problems, because a good laptop for developers is not very expensive, and the settings on your computer are exactly how you like them.

I also use my laptop until it completely dies because configuring it the way I want it takes several days.

3. Starting and running your own business
A legal entity is required in order to sign a contract. Today, forming a company takes only a few days, but there are a few things to keep in mind.

Creating the company is simple, but once it is up and running, there will always be something to take care of. Declaring your income, amortizing your assets, managing your bank account, invoicing, double-checking with your accountant, and so on.

Only if you have the heart of an entrepreneur would I recommend this path. Being a freelancer entails taking on the responsibility of running your own business. Whether you like it or not.

4. Setting up the environment
For freelancers, creating a physical environment is critical. If you are working on a remote project, you will need an office or a room where you can work on it uninterrupted. Following last year’s mandatory home office work due to the pandemic, most people realized that you can’t go a day without your child unexpectedly entering the room: “Come and play, Daddy!” Furthermore, because the interface (car, travel) between work and private life has vanished, the time spent on projects by IT experts has skyrocketed.

When working on a remote project, the office must be both comfortable and well-equipped (internet, webcam, etc.) Regardless of whether the project is remote or not, there is frequently a need for an in-person consultation. In this case, you must go no matter what!

The same thing happens if you can only complete your tasks on-site. Consider a complicated banking system or energy infrastructure. Companies are typically hesitant to grant outsiders access to these types of systems. The same is true for high-security projects.

5. Contracts and billing
A freelancer, of course, signs up for a project. The project has a beginning, an end (the deadline), a scope (specifically, tasks), and a fee.

It is the freelancers’ responsibility to complete the tasks before the deadline. They are entitled to a fee for completing the tasks.

The fee is usually charged on an hourly or daily basis. The reason for this is that a fixed fee contract can only be signed between parties if the scope of the project and the tasks to be completed are completely definite.

A fixed price agreement is an option if the end product can be precisely defined, which means that there is a detailed requirement specification. Naturally, the risks will resurface: Is there anyone else who could have an impact on my ability to deliver the product on time? What if the customer’s requirements change, etc.?

IT is becoming more agile. Monolithic requirement systems are no longer required; instead, fast delivery units are required (see DevOps). As well as adaptable development environments in which everything happens to satisfy customers and end-users. As a result, the requirement for IT experts and suppliers is to be flexible, adapt to the most recent needs, and create a system that your customers will love!It is the project results that should be waved around, not the contract. It is mostly supported by a similarly loose method of invoicing. That is why hourly or daily rates are suggested.

6. Projects that run concurrently
As a freelancer, you will be able to work on multiple projects for multiple clients at the same time. But only if you have enough time and energy to fully comprehend multiple tasks at the same time, and if you have enough time to complete them.

7. Timetable
Your schedule is entirely up to you in the case of a remote project. Deliver the end product, system documentation, a module, a microservice, or anything else that is required.

There are numerous remote projects where the customer and the freelancer are not in the same time zone. As a result, you cannot expect your schedule to coincide with that of your customer. Most of the time, no such requirements exist.

In the case of an onsite project, you will still have flexibility, but it may be influenced by factors such as: when will you be able to contact others if you need to check something? You will not have a set schedule either, but you will have to adapt to the project to some extent.

A freelancer’s life is for those who (as self-employed people) want to work on projects where they can learn about the latest technologies, who are okay with not having a fixed salary (as opposed to regular employees), who are ready to execute their contract tasks on a very high level, and who accept that they must provide their own work environment (company, devices, office)

Working on multiple projects at once and collaborating with other IT experts to complete your tasks is just the icing on the cake!

Finally, if you’re looking for remote IT talent, don’t forget to request a quote from my company, Bluebird.

Source: Bluebird Europe & Bluebird

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