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Re: [php-49] freelance to full-time

From: Jd D.
Sent on: Friday, March 29, 2013 8:17 PM

Can I insert tje obligatory "Will code for food" now?

On Mar 29,[masked]:05 PM, "Mark Steudel" <[address removed]> wrote:
I think they got bought by oracle ....

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 7:25 PM, Tim Piele <[address removed]> wrote:

I forgot all about HTML, do they still make that stuff? I thought HTML went out of business?

Sent from my iPhone

On Mar 29, 2013, at 5:24 PM, Karen <[address removed]> wrote:

Yeah I thought it might have been a nudge in the ribs, but it's important to understand the nuances between "basic" web dev and more evolved job descriptions....  In the 90s, basic meant html, some JS, some perl or php and use of Dreamweaver and the like.  It's so different now.  Having a good environment where you are a great cultural fit is huge. HUGE.  But having the pay scale to your skill is also huge.  It's hard to find both, but I will take pay over the former and adapt to new cultural fits.  That said, I'm pretty adaptable.  

I've tried doing freelance, but ultimately, it's not for me.  So much to worry about on top of the actual development.  I'd rather work for someone in an office.  I come in, focus on code and other company stuff and leave it behind when I leave (unless I'm on call that is).

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 5:12 PM, George Marian <[address removed]> wrote:
That was a raspberry directed at Tim for his glib statement.  While Seattle is a city with many such jobs, they are not basic in any sense.

Getting back to the main topic, it always comes down what suits you best and the specific situation.  There are good and bad organizations of every size.  Good and bad clients exist in every industry.  Do something that you love and you'll never "work" a day in your life.

I faced a similar choice many years ago when I was teaching IT.  I would have loved to teach programming and had considered going in that direction.  I asked myself: when the going gets tough, because invariably at some point it does, where would I be tough and keep going more readily?

For me, it would be a question of which of these fundamental principles governing each environment is most important to me.  I would do some soul searching, consider the implications and face it head-on.

Just make sure you're not turning away from something simply because it's unpleasant.  You don't want to jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.  Which, of course, is the reason for this question.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 3:56 PM, Karen <[address removed]> wrote:
Because frameworks and languages and deployment tools are constantly evolving. To keep the 6 figures, you need to be proficient in these things.  Basic web skills like Jr to Mid don't pay the salaries they're talking about.  Those salaries are more in the 60 - 90k range, depending on where you are in your skill set.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 3:48 PM, George Marian <[address removed]> wrote:
Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait....  One can make a 6-figure income doing basic web dev?  What are we doing wasting time trying to improve and broaden our skills?

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 3:10 PM, Tim Piele <[address removed]> wrote:
Pretty much except try as we may very few freelancers break six figures doing basic web development simply because it taks ~month or more to build a $10,000 site and you do 5-6 a year. I know some freelancers who do more backend piece work for other contractors who do quite well, but in basic webdev it's hard... but FTE six figures is easy in Seattle.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 2:12 PM, Jeremy Cole Lindblom <[address removed]> wrote:
Things I've observed (some have been mentioned already)

Freelance Pros:
- Set your own schedule
- Select projects
- Higher compensation *potential*
- Full liability for actions
- No corporate rules and no restrictions on open source involvement
- Small-to-no commute
- No boss

Corporate Pros:
- Health/Investment Benefits
- Steady work and salary
- Typical work hours in most cases
- Working with others, often in multi-disciplinary situations
- Paid time off
- Better for resume, name recognition
- Free conference attendance and/or training
- Narrow job specification in some cases (may not have to do ops)

Startups and small businesses pick and choose items from both lists.

Jeremy Lindblom
PHP Software Development Engineer & Web Application Developer
Amazon Web Services – AWS SDK for PHP

@jeremeamia •

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 1:04 PM, Rick Baskett <[address removed]> wrote:
Yep that's the only reason why Im even tempted to move to fte. Everyone is passing me by and I have no time to put into new technologies and to learn from other devs. It is tempting...

Mark Steudel wrote:
Yeah Tim, those are a lot of the reasons I'm thinking of going fte. There's a lot of skills that I want to be learning that just aren't appropriate in the size projects I do. Plus I want to work with other smart developers.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 10:58 AM, Tim Piele <[address removed]> wrote:
I made the jump last year... 15 years freelance and now one year FTE - here's my thoughts:

I spent 15 years freelance, usually choosing only the projects I wanted to do, sleeping in and working late, 
sometimes I would work 14 hours without hardly looking up from my keyboard and sometimes I'd take a
week off and just veg out. I had time for side projects and lunch with friends. I made enough money to pay
my bills but I wasn't getting rich. I had to pay for my own benefits, handle my own taxes, write my own contracts
and chase down money owed to me. I was always working on different stuff, which is good and bad. It's good
because it increases your skill level and breadth of experience. It's bad because it's sometimes hard to learn
new things, especially under the pressure of a deadline. I rented my own office in town but I didn't have a lot
of boundaries, I didn't force myself into a specific schedule or specific earnings bracket, I just did it. It was fun.
I was like college. I had to grow up.

Then one day I woke up and realized that some of my friends were making DOUBLE what I was making and
were leaving me behind insofar as skills are concerned. Node.js? Zend? Mongo? I had no reason to use these things
so I didn't. I had kind of plateau'd.

I kind of went to an extreme and took a job writing ColdFusion and learning Ruby for a Fortune 500 that was a 150 miles RT commute. 
I thought the salary was okay and the team seemed awesome (turns out they were)... I spent six months there until
the commute finally won out. One of the team members who I had become friends with quit and I was offered a job
8 miles RT from my house for a good salary, so I took it. I've been there 3 months or so. This job is at a social network
company doing PHP, jQuery and tons of design work.

I can't say what the pros and cons will be for you but here's mine, food for thought:


I am redesigning the entire frontend of a social network from scratch, by myself. This will be huge for my resume.

Our team is three people, the CEO, another developer/CTO and me. I have a lot of influence over the project.

The social network I am working on will soon be used by millions of students at well known colleges worldwide. Great resume stuff.

I have learned a ton about OOP that I didn't know and increased my command line and server skills just by brute force.

I have been able to actually quantify my level of skill, something that I couldn't do before because there was no benchmark, i.e. how good are my skills relative to the industry?
That's a hard thing to figure out in your basement.

I actually get out of the cave and talk to people now. I used to go to coffee shops just for a break from my four walls.

Direct deposit paychecks ever 2 weeks, on time, are nice and I can count on a specific amount, to help with budgeting. No more feast or famine.

I get to go home around 5pm and have dinner with my family, I rarely have to work outside of work hours.

I have health benefits.


Sometimes I have to do things i don't want to, like fix old broken CSS.

Sometimes i don't want to get out of bed but I have to. I quit drinking caffeine which makes it 10x worse.

When I was freelance I met deadlines but no one was looking over my shoulder, if I said Friday it was up to me when to work to meet that deadline.
At the FTE I get checked up on a few times a day to see if I am progressing, and as we know, programming progress isn't always linear, so that's difficult.

I'm at a quasi-startup so I worry if they fail financially I am out of a job, vs my six months at the big company was super stable.

I get somewhat randomized here, pulled away to fix bugs and stuff but I guess that's a pro and a con.

I have a commute now, it is only 4 miles but it requires pants and combing my hair.

Feel free to shoot me an email if you want to phone chat, I am going thru it so I have a lot to ay about it.

On Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 10:23 AM, Mark Steudel <[address removed]> wrote:
So I'm contemplating in the fall leaving freelance and going
full-time. I was wondering for those that have been freelancing for a
long time and then went fte, did you encounter any challenges coming
from a freelance background. I can imagine having a nice portfolio is
super important. Any thoughts?

Mark Steudel
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