I’ve spent a whole lot of my life programming. I’ve been at it since I was 11. At 26 now that’s more than half my life. I’ve worked both as a freelancer and in 9-5 jobs. My current job is where I’ve been for 5 years now.
I’ve found out over the time I’ve spent programming that it’s important to stay ahead and keep learning. The 9-5 may give you stability but it also keeps you somewhat stuck in a rut with the same tech and the same project. This is also where I am in my current job.
As a programmer you need to keep updated with what’s out there by diving into new things. Freelance gives you independence and also the ability to do different kinds of work. The major drawback is developing a clientele, and worse, getting them to pay. The latter is the primary reason I stopped working freelance.
Open source also provides for an amazing opportunity to showcase skill and work with others, but then someone has to pay the bills right? I’ve found so far, with open source that one has to steadily spare some free time apart from the day job to contribute, if you’re lucky you could actually end up earning for fully writing FOSS projects but it’s a long hard road.
Recently I noticed online freelance portals provide something of a win-win. The money and business is organized and not something you worry about, and you have the freedom and independence of a freelancer.
I’m giving Toptal a chance and will see how it all goes. So far their questionnaire seems quite interesting, they seem to be looking out for the nerds and that makes me happy.
I’ll keep you updated.