Is Freelance or Self Employed experience possibly detrimental when applying for jobs?

I have read in other threads this may be the case. I was planning on freelancing and creating little SaaS tools after doing a couple more full stack portfolio projects and wanted to ask about this more specifically. What would you guys stay away from or at least avoid broadcasting when doing non-salaried work?

I am thinking that as long as I don’t appear like I am dead set on eventually doing my own thing, I should be ok. Which is fine because my SaaS tool ideas do fit the “side income” hobby project category in look and scope.

I don’t think any experience will hurt. That is often the hardest thing for them to find. There are plenty of people who are self taught or did a bootcamp. They want some real experience.

Before I landed my React native job, all I had was three weeks of a freelance React Native job through a web site and a few tiny open source things. YMMV.

Get experience, anywhere you can get it. Keep learning, build things, work with other people, get as much experience as you can. If you can pick up a few paying jobs along the way, all the better.

I don’t think anyone is going to pigeon hole you as a “freelance” guy. The fact that you are applying to their company tells them that you are looking for a “real” job. Maybe working a “real” job would look better to them. But working a freelance job will be a close second and will be much better than spinning your wheels.

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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 :slight_smile: