Is webdev feasible if you don't go the junior route and plan work remotely in the future?

I’m 34, been studying webdev for the past 3 months and become competent in HTMLL/CSS and now starting javascript. I’m in no rush but at the same time want to make sure my time isn’t being wasted.

I made a similar post but left out the experience part of it (so you would assumed I had the experience and just wanted to relocate)

I love creating things which is why this lines up with my ideals for a job, however I’m not looking to be full time office (should I continue) and go the route of junior for for X years (But never say never)

I work in fitness so wanted something that would give me possible flexibility in the future with the possible goal of relocation and working remote.

Which is why I posted this, I’m not a whizz with studying like some others and slow to get concepts so it’ll take a while but is doing something above even possible unless you’ve worked the junior route, 9-5, thrown in the deep end etc.

I’m trying look at it realistically, even if I gain the skills working freelance seems to be something you do after you’ve had the office experience, and working remote when you’ve had the clients. I know working remote is most people’s goals which is why I’d love some advice.

TL:DR - For someone who isn’t a talented learner and who will likely not go the junior role route, how tough will it be to create a sustainable business/part-time income? I quickly learned that freelancing website are pretty horrible for most sectors so it looks like it’d come down to networking/salesmanship.

Thank you.

I assume when you say “not go the junior route” I assume you mean go directly into using your own skills to build your own product/business via freelancing?

It is totally possible to learn and go directly into freelancing, but it is also just as hard, if not more hard than to just get a junior role at a company.
There are a few reasons:

  1. Freelancing means more freedom, but also more risk. Your your own boss, salesperson, marketer, project manager, tester, finance, and developer. You carry most of the responsibility with you and you alone. This is in contrast with a job on a team, where you are usually only responsible for the development part.
  2. There is no “fallback”. If you don’t know how to do something, then you must learn how to do it.
  3. Depending on the work your doing, you might have to compete against a lot of competition, and thus not be able to make as much money on projects as you want/expect/need. Thus making some freelancing sectors unrealistic to work in given the current rates.
  4. With job applications, once you get in your essentially done with the “hunt”. With freelancing you are always applying to get work.

So yes its true you get a lot of freedom freelancing, but you are still tied to clients, and the market overall. You also have to deal with a lot more responsibility and overall risk as your essentially running your own business. So your skills need to be at a certain point where the jobs you take can actually make it worth your time, as you can easily take on simple cheap jobs that take up way to much time and essentially shoot yourself in the foot.

I don’t hear of many people who directly jumped into freelancing and made it work with minimal previous experience in any part of the freelance workflow. If you have business or developer experience, you can probably make it work. However if you don’t have much experience in both of those realms, its a much more risky proposition.

Its also possible even with all of these factors, freelancing isn’t worth the amount of time you put in, due to your cost of living and the available job market relative to your skills. As unlike most normal businesses, your competition can come from anywhere in the world. If you live somewhere that is relatively cheap to live, and can get jobs that pay well enough, then its vastly more possible, than if you lived somewhere expensive and are looking at the same jobs.

Its hard to escape the fact there is a lot to learn. This doesn’t change if your learning on your own, you go to school, or you learn on the job. The content you need to know is the same, its just the structure changes. If your alone, you need to find/build your own structure. If you have a job or are going to school, these places can provide some guidance to their “structure” of how to learn the content.

Regardless of where your learning, you still have to learn the content, there really isn’t a way around it. If its a lot of content, it will take time and effort to get through it.

The other thing considering is that because you control the structure of how you learn, you can easily throw yourself in the deep end and start working on super hard problems. Yea it will suck because you’ll be learning a crazy amount of stuff and might feel “overwhelmed”, but you will essentially be doing what you think a person in a 9-to-5. In that way you might actually increase the rate of your progress, at the cost of feeling “comfortable” doing it.

Finally I want to bring up the fact you can easily work remotely at a normal company in a “normal” job without freelancing. Software development jobs are very good candidates for permanent work from home. As such these are becoming more and more common, as are other kinds of remote jobs. This means you still get some level of freedom, while also removing the risk to yourself that comes with freelancing. You still have the some of the same challenges, like how to communicate properly while remote from your team/clients, or being able to stay on schedule, but a lot of the risks related to freelancing no longer matter if your part of a larger organization.

Good luck with whatever path you take, keep building, keep learning! :+1:

7 Likes

Brad, I cannot thank you enough for this. Thank you.

Reading through I could see my future webdev goals shattered as working in an office 9-5 would be a challenge with current work. But as I will have a flexible fitness job (online clients), working remote would be ideal.

But you ended it with something I wasn’t /that/ aware of, remote full time web dev jobs so it does look like something that could possibly work.

If you already have an existing online job, with online clients, then your talking more about a side-gig freelance, rather than relying 100% on freelancing for work. If such is the case, then freelancing is more possible since you already have another form of stable (or at least more stable) income. It might get a little much if your juggling a lot of stuff at once, for essentially 2 different jobs, but if you can handle that, its much more reasonable.

Its worth mentioning that you can always have a “transition period”. Where you do some freelancing to gain some experience, money and still leverage your existing online fitness. Later down the line, if your liking the freelancing side of work, you can leverage that experience when applying to a full-time developer job for more stability.

One of the biggest blockers to a full-time remote work position, is being able to show you can be productive working remotely. Doing freelancing is a good sign you can handle it. :smiley:

4 Likes

Thank you Brad, I appreciate the input.