I have worked freelance, full time, contract, startups and side projects and what I find most shocking are the full time dev’s have never ever done any side project or freelance work! In my experience the developers with a classically trained background (university, computer science major’s, etc) are the one’s who don’t do any extra work. They simply do what they’re told in their curriculum, then go off to get a commercial job, and then end up pigeon holing themselves into a specific tech stack. That’s definitely an oversimplification, but it’s a general theme I see at my current company.
I have asked numerous colleagues if they have a website or portfolio and it’s shocking how many just say “no” or “yeah, I did do some stuff back in college but not anymore”, or “no, I’m too busy and don’t have time to mess around”.
This absolutely scares me because I worked my butt off on FCC and Upwork (freelancing) building my portfolio and that’s literally the ONLY way I have a full time job today. IMHO I rate freelance work highly as it exposes you to a wide variety of code bases and business situations.
On the flip side, corporate work will teach you more “soft” skills like teamwork, development workflows, stakeholder management, code design and maintainability, version control, and much more about understanding user stories / corporate goals and values around the features you build on a product / service.
Both skill sets are valuable, but I don’t think freelancing is going to hinder you unless the work you do is overly simple, like building a client site with WIX or SquareSpace. If you can demonstrate your abilities and showcase your code on GitHub, and get some references from previous clients, then you’ll be fine.
I hope that helps