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May 19, 2023 - 8 minutes

Tech Careers Explained: Traditional Jobs vs Going Freelance

Caught in the middle? No worries, we’ll help you decide. 

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Considering making a jump into tech? After facing the choice of what sector to get into, there’s a whole separate decision to make: working in a company or freelancing. Both options are valid, but will depend on a couple of factors: your personal situation, your goals, your sector, and the kind of job you want. Making this decision may seem like a huge one, but here’s a little secret: it’s not a binding decision! 

Following COVID-19, lots of people embraced the flexibility of remote working and realized that they could be their own boss. When they were required to return to the office, many decided that they didn’t want to be subject to corporate restraints such as in-office working, meetings, dress codes, and strict vacation or sick policies. Freelancing proved to be a solid alternative for many. 

On the other hand, however, another large group of people didn’t enjoy the freedom provided by forced remote working and missed the order and camaraderie of working in an office everyday, having co-workers next to them, and separating their home life from their work life. 

Do either of these sound familiar? Or not sure which one is best for you? No worries, that’s why we’re here; in this article, we’ll discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both traditional and freelancing roles and jobs you can find in each of our four specialities (web development, data analytics, UX/UI design, and cybersecurity). Let’s dive in.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Traditional Employment

Are you interested in structure and a strict separation of work and home? Traditional, in-office jobs may be the right choice for you. Choosing to be hired in a traditional role gives you the following advantages: 

  • Stability: instead of having to look for clients every month and request new assignments, you will perform specialized tasks for just one company, having that envied job security that freelancers can’t boast. 

  • Set schedule/pay: you’ll be salaried, meaning you can rest easy knowing you’ll get the same paycheck every month and won’t be working weekends or nights. 

  • Benefits: as an in-house employee, you’ll have paid vacation days, sick time, maternity/paternity leave, and any other benefits that the company offers to its employees, such as health insurance.

However, it isn’t all sunshine and roses. Carefully read through these disadvantages: 

  • Reporting to someone else: you will have to report to someone else or multiple people, which can be quite the adjustment if you’ve been working on your own before. 

  • Your tasks might vary: even if you were hired to do one specific role, such as backend development, you might be asked to take on additional responsibilities that go beyond your job description and skill set. 

  • Lack of flexibility: gone are the days of beach working and fitting in lunch with your parents during the week (probably, unless you’re lucky!). In-house employment means you’ll be expected to keep a consistent schedule and be available, even if you’re working remotely. 

Important: when compared to freelancing, lots of people automatically think that holding a traditional job means that you’ll be stuck in the office every day; however, lots of companies offer remote or hybrid policies, meaning you can have the benefits of a traditional job from the comfort of your own home. 

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Freelancing

Freelancers work for themselves: cool, right? Definitely, but make sure you consider both sides before making that jump. As their own bosses, freelancers can benefit from the following advantages: 

  • Freedom and flexibility: your schedule is up to you because you’re in charge! If you prefer to not work Thursdays and Mondays and instead work weekends, that’s totally fine. Get your best work done in the early morning? Go ahead. 

  • Control over earnings: you can set your own rates and payment schedule, meaning you’re requesting rates that you decide. 

  • Specialized skill sets: most freelancers are highly specialized in one area and that’s why companies hire them; they lack the in-house expertise. Freelancers can become experts in the area of their choosing. 

If working on a team is what you prefer, freelancing might not be for you:

  • Stress: you’re suddenly responsible for your own brand marketing, finances, and projects with little to no guidance from other colleagues or your boss (that’s you!). This, coupled with the pressure to always maintain a full client roster, can lead to a lot of stress.

  • Instability: most freelancers don’t sign contracts with their clients and this could mean you have twenty projects in September, fifteen in October, and just six in November. Your workload will vary significantly month-to-month.

  • Lack of benefits: if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. In the world of freelancing, you’re not salaried so there’s no such thing as paid time off or sick days. And you won’t have employed-sponsored health insurance, if that’s something you value. 

Important: reporting to no one sounds really fun and cool until it’s time to pay the bills. If you aren’t someone that can keep themselves on track and focused, freelancing may not be the choice. Make sure you’re realistic with yourself before you make this jump. 

Traditional and Freelancing Jobs in Tech

No matter your selected field, tech boasts incredible flexibility and options so that you can find the one that works best for you. Check out some possibilities here and help us help you make the best choice. 

Jobs in web development 

Web development is probably one of tech’s most well-known fields and jobs are plentiful; tech is advancing rapidly and skilled professionals are in-demand. 

Traditional web development jobs 

If you choose to work at a company in web development, you’ll most likely be able to specialize and focus on becoming a back end or front end developer, forming part of a larger team with specific people to take on each role. If you work for a big company, you’ll also be able to move to different departments with your team, working on different projects constantly. 

Freelance web development jobs 

Freelancing as a web developer will mean your responsibilities are a bit wider, requiring you to be quick on your feet and meet the needs of the specific project on which you’re working at the moment. These roles are perfect for those who don’t want to limit themselves to a specific branch of web development and instead would like to be well-rounded within the field. 

Jobs in data analytics

Everyone has data and everyone needs someone who’s ready to interpret that data; this is why data analytics’ demand is skyrocketing.

Traditional data analytics jobs 

Corporate data analytics roles will probably have you analyzing data at a high level, reviewing overall company performance and statistics. Although you might be asked to work on smaller-level projects, you’ll most likely be reviewing past and current business data to draw conclusions about the company and improve decision-making. 

Freelance data analytics jobs 

Lots of companies don’t have the bandwidth to support full-time data analysts, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need the valuable insights provided by data analysts. In this case, companies will outsource their data analysis work to freelancers, who will deal on very specific projects that can vary significantly from company to company. If you work best with lower-level, problem-specific cases, working as a freelance data analyst could be the perfect choice. 

Jobs in UX/UI design

UX/UI designers are probably one of the most common types of freelancers, given that lots of companies prefer to hire designers for specific projects instead of keeping them in the company full-time. However, traditional roles do exist and are a great choice for those wanting a bit more stability.

Traditional UX/UI design jobs 

Are you committed to working with one company, designing their brand from step one to the finished product? UX/UI designers who work full-time in house will have full control over the brand image, allowing you full creativity power. As an integral member of the team, you’ll also be able to work with other team members to fully analyze A/B tests or user experience reviews to continuously improve your product over time. 

Freelance UX/UI design jobs 
Do you prefer to harness your creativity over a wide range of projects, working on different things constantly? If so, freelancing as an UX/UI designer is probably the best choice for you. You’ll be able to seek out the projects that truly interest you and work short-term on specific assignments, always ready to take on the next, new challenge. 

Jobs in cybersecurity

Technology is advancing fast, but so are cyber attacks and all companies, no matter the size, need both crisis prevention and recovery. 

Traditional cybersecurity jobs 

All companies need cybersecurity professionals to protect the company and user data from breaches and hacks and large companies in particular need to hire full-time, in-house professionals to ensure that their information and data are secure. These roles tend to be more preventative and instructive, helping to avoid future possibilities and assisting the entire company with their cyber safety. 

Freelance cybersecurity jobs 

If you’re interested in high-pressure, urgent issues, freelancing your skills as a cybersecurity professional could be the best choice. Most freelance cybersecurity professionals are hired to deal with a very specific task, such as in the case of a data breach or hack. If you work well on the fly, learning a company’s systems and solving problems quickly, this is a great choice for you. 

No matter what you choose, you’ll find the right choice for you--and that’s the beauty of tech! You are free to pick the right role for you that works well with your personal life and your professional goals, without sacrificing either. Interested? Kickstart your new future in tech today. 

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