The perks of the freelance

Even after 20 years programming I would’ve never thought as myself as a “professional”. What is that? Am I a “pro”? Do I need a degree on that? So when I received an invitation from Toptal to join their resources I hesitated for a little while. It is well renowned they claim to gather the top 3% talents on professional freelancers.

So, way ahead of their screening process, I tried to focus on two things.

The first was on me: when was the first time I started to think of me as a professional. It was not so long ago when one of my best friends (and the best developer I know) simply corrected me in the middle of a sentence:

- Well, I’m a coder…
- No, you’re not a “coder”, you are a FullStack Developer. I’ve seen what you do, and it is called “FullStack” and you are a “Developer”. Remember that.

At first I didn’t realize it but, as it turned out, I think that was the first time I dared to think of me as a professional. Yes. My first task was on self-confidence. I’ve worked with government offices, UN projects, private projects, personal projects, little projects, big projects, startups. And I’ve always managed to see the project through from back to front end (some were good, some just stalled).

The second thing I needed to get focus on was: do I really want to be tried to the best? Well, with an obvious level of anxiety, that was a straight “Hell yeah!”. So I started looking for other’s experience through the screening process. Man, if I was anxious before, after reading a couple of blog posts I felt that I needed to step up if I was meaning to make it.

There are two main aspects (I think) most freelancers lack of and are put to challenge through out the screening: documentation and test coverage. And I was no exception.

My most complete project on this matters was a little Tile Cache I built, which had full documentation and a code coverage of 92%, so I went back and started working on it to be able to incorporate it on my development process.

I will be testing my skills with Toptal and in the end I will earn a position or a really good experience. Both shall be valuable. But most of all I hope whoever read this can get a grasp on the perks of being a freelancer:

  • It’s not a paradise, or maybe it is, but you have to earn it
  • You should be excited to freelance, not freelance to get excited
  • Professional is not about what you did, but how you did it and how you can enhance it
  • Get use to never stop learning
  • No one will tell you when to work, nor will anyone tell you when to take vacations or free time, be ready to get organized and be consistent
  • It’s not only what you do, but how you make it easy for others to understand what you do

If these perks seem like warnings to you, read them again, and again until you realize you don’t need to be hooked on the cubicle based, production line formation, dehumanized ways of the industrial revolution.

They shouldn’t be seen like warnings, they should be the norm.

I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more is none

Best to you all.