If you’re wondering if you should start your own freelancing business or work full-time, you’re not alone.
The other day, I went to Reddit (a community discussion board) and saw this exchange between two members:
Having a steady job with my current employer feels a lot more like being a part of a family to me…they look out for me and make sure i am doing alright. for me personally, I am way happier with a steady job.
3 years into freelancing and I’ll never go back.
Making a career transition is scary. So many questions bubble up:
Life’s too short to be stuck in indecision.
The best thing to do is to figure out which one suits your personality. I highly recommend Gretchen Rubin’s test:
So which one are you?
Do the test and report back your results on the form below.[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’What Are You Struggling With?’ type=’textarea’ required=’1’/][/contact-form]
So if you’ve heard all the hype about software programming jobs and you’re wondering, is this career path right for me… I wrote this post for you. Let’s separate fact from fiction and get real.
Newsflash! The tech world is changing.
The software industry is trying to become more diverse in terms of age, race, gender, and backgrounds.
There’s a real push to hire people who bring different perspectives because companies believe it improves their products.
In fact, if you are a woman or a minority, finally, the scales may be tipping in the other direction!
MYTH #2: YOU NEED A SOFTWARE ENGINEERING / COMPUTER SCIENCE DEGREE TO GET A JOB AS A PROGRAMMER
It used to be that you needed a 4-year college degree in software engineering. That’s not true anymore either. Now, many companies are open to hiring graduates of coding boot camps and online courses. What they look for is samples of your work products (the code you’ve written) so they can see your skills in action.
You’ve probably seen the headlines: artificial intelligence, virtual reality, the blockchain, voice technologies (like Alexa) are the next big technical innovations of our time.
If you are doing advanced research in one of these fields, you may need a computer science degree (Masters or Ph.D.). But for most entry-level to mid-level jobs, you don’t need advanced degrees.
MYTH #3: ALL PROGRAMMERS EARN SIX FIGURES
Unfortunately, there is a lot of hype around careers in IT and software. I’m here to tell you that it’s not the “get-rich-quick” career path as some would lead you to believe. It’s hard work, and you have to really love it in order to excel at it and make the big bucks. There is a huge difference between an average programmer and an A+ programmer.
MYTH #4: ANYONE CAN TEACH CODING
There are a lot of bogus coding schools that aren’t valued by employers and if you fall for their ads, you could end up paying thousands of dollars for an education that won’t get you a job.
That’s why we’ve put together this definitive guide to a career in software development so you can get connected with the coding academies (online and offline) that HR managers and recruiters respect. There’s something for every budget and every learning style. Some of us learn better face-to-face in the classroom, some of us work full-time and the only time we can learn is at night or early morning, and some of us already know we love programming and all we need is a little extra help when we get stuck.
MYTH #5: GETTING A JOB IS EASY
You may be able to get small freelance projects if you learn the basics of coding, but to get a high-paying software development job, you really need to have some advanced coding skills. When someone reads your code, they can tell where you are in terms of your skills! In addition to your resume, your code speaks volumes about your abilities.
Publish your work to GitHub, participate in forums like StackOverflow, write code during Hack-a-thons, and get noticed for your work. That’s the best way for employers to call you instead of you calling them.
MYTH #6: ALL CODING SKILLS ARE THE SAME
Actually, there are many kinds of programming languages you can learn. Make sure you choose the one that fits your talents, interests and lifestyle based on our tailor-made assessments for each type of programming skill (there are many sub-specialties like front-end programming, back-end programming, etc.)
MYTH #7: ALL SOFTWARE JOBS ARE IN SILICON VALLEY
Depending on where you are based and the number of tech companies in your area, there may be a variety of software jobs available. It is true that in Silicon Valley, highly experienced software programmers are constantly getting offers from Google, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft. The top talent in the field earns $150,000 – $300,000 and often receive stock options and large sign-on bonuses. The best thing to do is to check your local market to see what skills are most valuable and what the average pay for those jobs are. You may be surprised with what you find out!
If you’re thinking of pursuing this career just for the money, you’re making a big mistake. You have to love coding to be really good at it.
MYTH #8: YOU HAVE TO WORK A 9-5 JOB IN AN OFFICE
If you decide you want to work for yourself, you can offer up your services as a freelancer, and have the flexibility to work from anywhere. Software programming is one of the fields that makes it easier to have a laptop lifestyle and travel while still earning a great living. Many companies in the tech industry have remote workforces or allow their employees to be flexible about work hours.
MYTH #9: YOUR CAREER PATH IS LIMITED TO TECHNOLOGY
This is not true. You can move into a marketing, sales or product management role and even move into a leadership role (CEO, COO). It’s very hard for software companies to find sales executives with a technical understanding so they pay a lot more for this hybrid skill set. In fact, if you have a technical background, you are highly valued when you move into leadership roles.
MYTH #10: CODING SKILLS ARE EVERYTHING
Here’s a little secret though: most programmers (however gifted they may be in writing code) struggle to communicate and don’t have the best track record in working with cross-functional teams. They resist change and can be hard to deal with. You’ll hear marketing and product development teams groan, “IT’s refusing to build this feature – they say it will be six months before they can add it to the product roadmap!” Often it is a failure of communication so if you want your career to be like a rocket ship, learn soft skills: how to communicate, how to solve hard problems, and how to develop consensus and compromise in difficult situations.
Along with coding skills, join Toastmasters and learn how to present, and do a course in conflict resolution. These skills may prove to be as valuable (if not more valuable) as your programming resume. Most of all, can you be goofy and sing karaoke? You will be different from all your peers and really stand out!
Many urban Millennials freelance or have side-hustles. Why? Because in the age of job insecurity, it’s the only option. Diversify your income streams. Don’t be dependent on one paycheck.
Now if you’re older than the average millennial, you’re probably thinking, I had two jobs, maybe three. I just didn’t call it a side hustle.
The difference is now there are marketplaces like Uber and TaskRabbit, Upwork and Fiverr, and so many more. It’s much easier to freelance, and have a side business than ever before.
The problem is not every side gig is right for you. So how do you decide? Based on your strengths and what you love doing naturally. For example, if you’re happiest when you’re writing, curled up on your sofa, then writing work is the best option for you. If you love the idea of helping the elderly, there are many ways to get paid to run errands for seniors. The key is to do something that does’t feel like work. You work a full-time job, the last thing you want is to feel like you have two jobs.
A friend of mine is a gifted photographer, but in her full time job, she doesn’t get to use her photography skills. So on weekends, she photographs weddings and earns $2,500 per wedding. She loves it! It’s extra cash and she’s building a portfolio so if she ever gets laid off, she can always turn her side-hustle into a full-time income. She collects testimonials and reviews from all her clients and has a superb website. So go through the list and tell me what you decided to try!
The Ultimate List of Side Hustles For Millennials
I love to write…
I love gadgets… and fixing things
I love playing video games…
I have skills…
I’m happiest when I’m teaching or coaching
I’m a social media guru
Marketing is my thing…
How do I turn my OCD into money?
I have a real estate license…
People LOVE my cooking…
I want to give back and do meaningful work…
Nonprofits are often hiring for the following positions:
Find one that resonates with your values, and offer to work for them.
They don’t always pay as well as businesses, but if you’re in a stressful job, it may be the perfect way to bring meaning to your work week.
Did you know you could earn a living as a Diabetes Coach?
I want to create products, I hate providing services…
I have a social following…
I love science/research/medicine:
I like working with my hands…
I’m great with kids!
I’m great on the phone!
I have a heart for senior citizens
People say I have lovely handwriting!
Do you have a spare room in your house or a second home?
I’m in great shape
Other Ways to Make Money
I love animals 🙂
I Love Numbers!