Should You Be a Freelance Software Developer Or Work Full Time?

6 min read
Updated: Sep 15, 2019

The technology needs of modern businesses are bigger than ever. Software developers are in high demand because of this and because businesses want to stay on top of the market and grow their brands. If you are a software developer, you have a bright future ahead of you.

Developers are highly paid and they have the advantage of choosing the type of work that they want to do. But making a decision on the type of work that you want to do is a difficult task, possibly even decisive of your future.

On one hand, you have a full-time position which comes with all of the perks and on the other, you have freelancing and all of its perks. Both of these options are possible and can be a good choice, depending solely on your personality and wants.

So, this is one decision that you shouldn’t make lightly. You have to approach each option and question whether that one is the right one for you. There are pros and cons to both and being well-informed is crucial in making a good decision.

Here are some of the most important factors that you need to consider:

The Flexibility of Work

When people think freelance, they picture flexibility. There is a freedom of choice in projects and working whenever and wherever you want. This is a very compelling side of freelancing and in fact, perfect for people who can’t imagine themselves in an office, having superiors or rushing to work every morning.

However, freelancing isn’t all PJ’s and comfort – and it’s definitely not simple. For one, it’s very easy to lull yourself into all of the freedom that you have.

If you want to be a freelancer, you have to develop a strong sense of discipline and time management. It’s very easy to fall off the track and delay work when you are at home – everything is pulling you away. It’s an even harder pull when you are a digital nomad. So, if you don’t have this discipline or don’t think you can learn it, freelancing might become stressful for you. Deadlines and projects will pile up – so, being overseen by a supervisor helps some people stay in check.

You also need to develop a strong sense of business. Rejecting projects that don’t suit you or pay you enough might seem tempting but you’ll need to be wise when it comes to accepting and rejecting.

Every decision you make when you are a freelancer is a career-defining one. But when you are working full time, there is no such worry – this is a less stressful solution.

So, while freelance work offers more freedom and variety of experiences, it also means that you always have to think about your next steps. Full-time work offers more security and less stress, but it doesn’t offer the same freedom that freelancing does.

Security of the Job

While flexibility is the prime perk of freelance work, security is the primary benefit of full-time employment.

When you are employed full time, all you have to do is work in a professional manner, come to work every day and on time and you’ll get your paycheck. You get benefits, bonuses and other perks as well.

Freelancing, on the other hand, doesn’t quite offer all of this. You will have to do your own taxes, pay for retirement and so on.

When working full time, you also don’t have to worry about running out of work. Your job is safe and there every day. But with freelancing, you never know what’s going to happen. Still, there are many jobs out there for freelance software developers so it shouldn’t be a huge problem. It’s just that you have to find those jobs.

Developers often choose to work full time because of this security.

Career Development and Growth

This is an important factor in choosing the type of work that you will do. Software development is a competitive field. But whether you want to work as a freelancer or full time, you will have to keep learning and stay on top of trends. Companies are looking for someone willing to put in the effort and time into learning new things. They provide training, information, and courses as well.

“Working full time in a company also means that you will have a team of professionals in your field to talk to and work on new ideas,” says Greta Di Rossi, a Project Manager at Stateofwriting and Australian help.

Freelance work may mean fewer interactions professionally but it also means that you will have to work hard on developing your skills and improving your knowledge to get better work. You will have to train yourself, though.

Interacting With Other Professionals

When working full time, you have a great opportunity to connect with other professionals. When you are a freelancer, you have to search for a community online that will provide you with that professional interaction.

If you are the type of person who needs to interact with other people when working, then freelancing is definitely not for you. If you prefer working alone with peace and quiet, then freelancing is for you. Of course, there are possibilities for both types of personality in each type of work. If you want to be a freelancer but you want interaction, you can go to a coworking space and work from there. If you like quiet and no interactions but want to work full time, you can just show that to your coworkers.

People say that freelancing gets lonely, but it’s probably because they have spoken to wrong people. Freelancing gets lonely for people who crave company and interaction. But it’s perfect for people who just like to be left alone.


Payment is an important factor to consider, especially if you have a family. However, the payment evens out.

“Smart freelancers can earn more if they make good moves. They do have to work hard but they can make a lot more than full-time workers. It’s a hunt and a game, in a sense but it can be worth your while,” says Steven Peralta, an HR Manager at Academized and Paper Fellows.

However, when you are working full time, you will earn a steady paycheck that might be less than that of a successful freelancer. But you also have to consider that your employer will pay for half of your social security and Medicare. You will also have contributions to healthcare and retirement funds.

So, in essence, it all comes down to you and what you want. Make sure that you have made the right choice, that suits your personality and preferences. Keep these elements in mind.


Nora Mork

@Nora Mork

Nora Mork is a tech journalist and blog editor at Ukwritings and Boomessays. She shares the experience by speaking at public events and contributing articles to online magazines and blogs, such as Essayroo.

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