This article was originally published at https://www.blog.duomly.com/types-of-employment-as-programmer/
When you become a software engineer and get some experience, you have more than one way to go with your career. Although most software developers work their whole life as full-time employees, there are at least two other ways programmers can go with their skills.
By selecting different types of employment, you can change your career by 180 degrees. If that change would be positive or negative, you need to analyze the pros and cons of different employment options. Some of them may seem to best for you, while some others can be something you’d prefer to avoid.
Selecting a perfect employment type can sometimes take more time, as you may need some time to try different solutions to make sure that’s the one.
But if you prefer certain values, like freedom or financial stability, then one of the employment types will be better for you than the other, and things will be pretty clear.
In this article, I’m going to describe 3 types of employment you can consider as a programmer, going through their pros and cons, to help you decide if it’s good for you!
As always, I’ve got a video version of this article for those who prefer watching over reading!
Being a full-time employee is the most obvious career path for almost every job and software engineer. Many of my friends are taking this solution, as simply they are not aware of the other ones. Being a full-time employee is also the simplest and safest employment type that you can select.
First of all, full-time employment means for many people stability. And it’s not about the stability of working in one particular company for your whole life, but it’s more about the known way of life that will probably succeed. As for many people, it does, so why not for you.
Besides that, as an employee, you get your money every month in the same or similar amount, until you have a job. Of course, you’d change it in the future, but in a new job, you’ll still have a stable position for a certain time.
With the income stability, you’ve got by being a full-time employee, you can have more long-term plans in your life or get a mortgage for your dream house.
Another stability factor coming from the employment contract is that even if you get fired, you always have some time, like 2 or 3 months of a notice period, when you can start looking for another job, still having a previous one. It almost doesn’t happen that you just stay with nothing.
The other benefit of being an employee is benefits like paid vacations, fitness cards, or medical insurance, at least in some countries. Although I assume that you can count on some additional benefits from the company like additional paid sick-days of the home office as a software developer.
People select full-time employment over different employment types because while you are an employee, your responsibilities are pretty straightforward. There is nothing more you need to do; you don’t have to learn about marketing, sales; as a full-time software engineer, you just create code. That’s it.
Also, finding full-time employment is easy, and there is a clear path to achieve it. You need to apply on job portals like Duomly Jobs, LinkedIn, or may others. Next, you have to go through the recruitment process, and if all is fine, you already have employment for a few years.
The biggest disadvantage of being an employee is your freedom. While working for a company, you have to do the work they want you to do, very often in a way company what’s you to do it. You can barely decide about the things you do, the time you do it, and the place from where you do it.
The other cons of being an employee are that one day you won’t be able to increase your income or your position unless you change your career path. Other employment types can give it to you if that’s what you are looking for.
Another way of making money for software developers is being a contractor. And about being a contractor, there are two ways, being a contractor or independent consultant. Let me tell you what’s the difference.
An Independent consultant is someone who does services to one or more clients and is paid hourly or by the project. In the case of software developers, there are a lot of options for doing an IT project for clients, and possibly you’ve ever had a side project where you did some coding for someone, so being an independent consultant is similar.
Being a contractor is more about doing services for a single company where you need to act like an employee, but you are hired on different rules.
Being an independent contractor is more demanding because it forces you to make additional effort to find clients. You need to know something about marketing or at least know many people who can recommend you to others.
Being an independent consultant doesn’t give you such a stable income as employment because your income depends on how many clients do you have, how much you can charge, and how fast you can work.
So, as you already know, your earnings as an independent consultant depend on you, which means you have a bigger earning potential. And in this case, time is money! By working independently, you can get a much higher hourly rate and work less for the same amount of money or work more and earn more.
But on the other side it can give you much more freedom, as you can choose which projects you want to work on, or what time do you want to work, so if you love to sleep until noon and work until midnight, why not.
Some people dream about being free as an independent consultant turning into a nightmare when they realize that it’s switching from one boss into many bosses.
Another thing you have to remember about being an independent consultant is that you actually have some company responsibilities like taxes, agreements with the client, your health insurance, etc.
But, hey, there’s the other type of contractor.
As a contractor who works with one company more on the employee rules, you can have stability of income, and you don’t have to spend time on marketing, sales, or creating ads. Also, your income can be pretty high.
But you need to remember that contractors don’t have benefits in most companies, like free holidays, and they need to care about taxes and health insurance on their own if they don’t use a special broker between them and the company.
We’ve been spoken about the two most popular types of employment for software developers already, so I’d like to quickly compare full-time employment with being an independent contractor.
So, first of all, being an employee doesn’t give you enough freedom. You can’t choose the project, the hourly rate, hours of working during the day, or clients.
All of those you can easily get by being an independent contractor. But choosing this way you are getting some new responsibilities like looking for clients or taking care of taxes.
Being an independent consultant doesn’t close you on some income range or in boring projects, because most of the services you’ll do would be rather shorted orders. You can also achieve the level when you could count a pretty nice hourly rate and earn more.
To enjoy being an independent contractor, you need to like doing business because it has pretty much in common. It’s sometimes overwhelming, and lack of stability can be difficult for some people.
In my opinion, the great solution for a start can be to combine those two options and start with making some side projects after work. It will give you an overview of how the independent consultant work actually looks like.
The third way you can go with your career is difficult and gives almost no stability at the beginning. But in people's lives very often comes a moment when we would like to create something.
Being an entrepreneur as a software developer is not about selling your time for money, but more about building a product or service that you can sell later. You don’t start earning initially; first, you have to invest time and money, but if that will succeed, the reward can be huge.
There are different possibilities for becoming a software developer entrepreneur, starting from creating an application for sale, creating a startup and looking for funding, starting small and writing a book, and selling it.
This path offers you unlimited income possibilities and lots of freedom of what you do and how. You are your own boss, and the whole responsibility is on you.
This career path leaves you alone; you are the one who should know how to do everything, that’s why it requires from you additional skills in marketing, sales, and product creation.
On one side, it can be a great chance to do sometimes great, while you have the skills and can invest time and money, on the other have the risk is big, and if you don’t have experience by managing projects somewhere else, it can be difficult.
In this article, we went through three career paths for software engineers. In the end, I’d say that it would be great to be able to try each of them, as they all can give one a great knowledge.
And I think they should be done starting from employment, and finishing on being an entrepreneur.
For starting, being an employee can help you get experience, learn how things work in a bigger environment, and give you the necessary stability when you are not the kind of the market. Even if you would like to do something on your own, starting as an employee in someone else’s company can help you avoid lots of failures in your own playground.
Of course, you can always change the path you’ve selected, as finally, it can come out that you love being an employee, and you will run away from your independent consultant office pretty fast.
Whatever the choice will be, I hope you’ll select the best possible option for you.
Thank you for reading,
Anna from Duomly