I have been a software developer since 1996. As of this blog post, that adds up to 24 years. 24 years!! That is almoust half my life.
Choice of Projects & Clients
To be able to choose a client on my terms is a privilege that I value greatly. I have been lucky throughout my career to have formed personal connections with some great people. And when I decided to take the plunge this February and go full time as a freelancer, I reached out to my network and was fortunate enough to start working with some really great clients. Clients who have faith and trust in me, clients who I value and take pride in working for.
And that is something I am very lucky to have. But at the same time, I have put a lot of effort in building and maintaining the relationships throughout my career, and I am reaping the rewards of that work now.
On a typical day I work from a desk in my home office. That gives me amazing freedom to structure my working hours exactly the way I want, on my terms, not someone elses. If I want, I can unplug my computer, take the elevator down to the Café in my building and work from there, sipping on a Cappuccino or enjoying the lunch they prepare. Or go for a run just after lunch, just because the weather is nice and I feel like running. Not bound by someone elses meeting schedule.
And because I work very much on a project to project basis, each day is different. I don't get bogged down in the mundane day-to-day, as I try to structure each day with a different client and a different project, which is great for me. The clients I work for are also quite progressive in that they rarely care about the number of hours I put in, or when I put in those hours. They care about the results. In my view that is the way it ought to be.
My wife will be attending University for the next three years (or five maybe), which means that she will have long Christmas and summer vacations. That will give us the freedom of travelling anywhere in the world for a longer period of time (when all this Covid-19 thing is over), knowing that I can work wherever I want to, just needing a decent WiFi and a good cup of coffee.
Why do I choose this life?
Did you not read the Remote Working part above? ... :)
It's not just being able to structury my day as I want to, but when this Covid thing is over and the economy bounces back a bit, I can structure my year as I see fit. I can do 8-10 pretty strong months of work, and have a long vacations with my wife, travelling the world. That is extremely exciting for us, and something we both are looking forward to in the next few years.
And in one of my first projects as a freelancer I got introduces to some new Typescript components and techniques (Koa and tsoa components for instance), and that is very big for me. When you work on your own product for 13 years like I did, you get comfortable and don't look at new technologies that much. Maybe you upgrade the platform and components you are working with, but usually that is pretty much it. And getting to add value to some different projects with different technical stacks is awesome.
And there is a flip side to this ... In my experience, employed workers tend to focus on the current tech-stack, even if they are outdated. Because the culture and incentives around them support sticking to the status quo, they can end up with tunnel vision, prioritizing what’s practical at the moment at the expense of their long-term prospects. So with an outside freelancer coming in and shaking things up a bit is healthy for the whole organization.
Get involved in different Products & Projects
I am already involved in some really great products, and just recently been in discussions with people here in Iceland to get connected to even more. And that is great for me, I can have even more diversity in my day-to-day, not just working on some code for a client, or writing up project specs for someone else, but get stuck in, get involved in creating something with some great teams.
In 2006 I started my own company, then called ZEUS Web Works, but that evolved into ODIN Software and my software product called ODIN. I had a 13 year fantastic journey there, and when I moved to Origo last year, my own product itch was not something I could scratch.
And now I am looking into some new areas myself ... will keep you posted :)