Published07 February 2020at11:54, updated on10 October 2022at15:35
Whoever says freelance often implies freedom, autonomy, a passion-driven career. But make no mistake: the reality is often far from ideal. Freelance status is also synonymous with limited social protections, fluctuating activity and having to deal with a good amount of internal red tape. A mixed bag, then. A status that might not always be enviable.
What’s it like in the fields of technology, digital and data, which are particularly dynamic and hungry for talent? Are freelancers to envy or do they face the same difficulties?
It is quite evident that the situation of freelancers in tech is significantly better than for those in other sectors. With the same level of experience, a freelance web developer or a SAP consultant will find it easier to find assignments and will be better paid than a freelance photographer or a communications consultant.
Firstly, because the talent war is particularly intense in these areas of competence, with companies fighting to attract and retain the best profiles. Secondly, because in tech and digital companies often work in “project mode”. This operational mentality lends itself very well to freelancing, with very specific skill needs and limited time.
And this trend is accelerating — Organizations are progressively opening up to the idea of collaborating with freelancers and are increasingly structured in ways that allow for greater integration of this type of employee. However, on closer inspection, the reality is more heterogeneous than it seems.
As in all sectors and areas of activity, it can be difficult for freelance consultants to make themselves visible to companies. Furthermore, the logic of supply and demand varies greatly depending on the field and the function.
If a consultant with expertise in SAP management software is in addition specialized in a specific SAP module, they will be able to expect an average daily rate of between 500 and 850 pounds. Meanwhile, an independent web designer will often be satisfied with a daily salary of 250 to 350 pounds.
Beginners can find it difficult to find a place among the experts, as companies never hire a freelancer that needs to be trained. Additionally, for assignments that require a lower level of expertise, firms are more likely to call on lower-cost, offshore services.
In contrast, some tech freelancers hold a “rockstar” status, with a very high level of experience, highly specialized and sought-after skills, and excellent references. These profiles have a particularly enviable situation because they are over-solicited by recruiters and agents, and therefore in a position to impose very high levels of remuneration and particularly advantageous contractual conditions.
These rare profiles do not endure a latency period between two gigs, often have higher salaries than they would on permanent contracts, and enjoy the luxury of being able to choose their assignments. All the advantages of being self-employed, without the constraints.
No miraculous formula here: success is first reserved for those who have proven themselves in terms of results and performance in the workplace. Reliability and flawlessness are fundamental.
And that’s not all. The entrepreneurial spirit counts quite a lot. Working freelance is a lifestyle choice that does not suit everyone. You must know how to manage the relational aspect and build trust with your customers, juggling between know-how and interpersonal skills. It’s also important to know how to make the right career choices.
What does exactly mean to make the right career choices? Well, first specialize in areas of expertise and / or sectors where the demand is high. Among the highly rated profiles of the moment: SAP consultants, Microsoft technology specialists and security and infrastructure expert.
Then you must make an effort to continuously improve and develop your skillset. Build a good CV with solid experiences, keep abreast and adapt to technological developments. Finally, learn how to enhance your profile and experiences, manage your visibility and maintain and nurture your professional network. It’s not easy when you’re independent since you often tend to focus on the present or the near future.
The good news is that you’re not alone. Tech recruiters and sourcing experts are well placed to guide professionals in the management of their development, as well as in the present and future development of their skills.
In summary, if tech freelancers want to be successful in this ever-evolving market, it is vital for them to know how to seize the right opportunities while positioning themselves in the best niches of expertise.
And thus the “rockstar” is born.
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