Covid-19 And the Growing Demand for Freelance Developers

Ksenia Larina
5 min readSep 20, 2021

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Now, during the times of the Covid-19 pandemic, the workplace isn’t what it used to be before. Working outside the office is quickly becoming our new normal.

Businesses continue hiring independent contractors and freelancers for their projects to save money. So what’s the future of freelancing?

According to statistics, the freelance market will grow to as much as 84 million by 2027. This is going to make this category of professionals the major workforce.

Is Covid the right time to become a freelancer?

It may sound weird, but there has never been a better time to join the freelance community.

According to CNBC, there is a 25% increase in demand for freelancers.

Another important point for potential freelancers is that it’s quite easy today to acquire new knowledge-based skills. There are dozens of dedicated online platforms such as Coursera, Udemy, MasterClass, and many more.

If you are a developer with some work experience, finding multiple clients and starting freelancing won’t be a problem. Technical service providers such as developers, data scientists, and designers are around one-third of all freelancers.

Is Covid the right time to hire a freelancer?

Gartner reported that 32% of employers are replacing full-time employees with flexible freelance workers. We saw a similar story during the 2008 crisis. So it’s not surprising it’s happening again now.

Employers often see hiring a freelancer as an attractive option because they can also avoid extra expenses on buying equipment for new employees or covering their health insurance.

Freelancing as a developer during Covid: pros and cons

If you’re considering freelancing, you need to find out as much as possible about its pros and cons before delving into it.

Employees highlight the following benefits of freelancing:

  • Freedom. You can work from anywhere in the world. The only thing you should care about is a stable Internet connection.
  • Flexible working hours. You can choose when to work. There is no need to wake up early. Or maybe you finally start exercising in the morning? :)
  • No salary limit. Your income depends only on you. If you find expensive projects and can negotiate with clients, you can earn more than you did in the office.
  • No boss. You are the only person who decides what to do and what not to do. You can reject the projects you don’t like.

The most common disadvantages freelancers talk about include:

Hiring a freelance developer during Covid: pros and cons

Why do employers choose to work with freelancers and independent contractors?

  • The ability to reduce operating costs. As we already mentioned, they aren’t responsible for training costs, benefits, health insurance, paid time-off for freelancers.
  • Access to a larger talent pool. When hiring a full-time employee, a business is usually limited by the area in which their company operates. By choosing to work with freelancers, businesses can access a larger talent pool from around the world.
  • Affordability. According to research, freelance developers are 25% more affordable than in-house developers.
  • A wide variety of available skills and a fresh perspective. Freelancers can deliver consistently high-quality work due to their range of experience. They can also bring a new and fresh perspective to a project.

Now, to the cons:

  • Trust issues. For many employers, in-house teams still look more trustworthy than freelancers. This includes confidentiality and planning issues.
  • The complexity of management. Because freelance developers aren’t in your office, they can be harder to manage.
  • No ongoing support after project completion. Once a freelancer finishes the project, they are no longer bound to their contract. If you face some problems later, you could be on your own.

How to overcome freelance developer challenges

Today, most people should form a freelancer mindset. Even if they have a full-time job with a single employer, there is no guarantee that the pandemic won’t change the situation soon. It’s crucial to constantly build up a network and personal brand, obtain new skills, and learn how to provide value to the companies that still thrive during the Covid-19 pandemic. Following these tips can help self-employed professionals maintain a future-proof and “pandemic-proof” career.

  • Find a few permanent clients. This will help you secure a stable income. On top of that, try to find the time for your pet project. If you achieve success with it, you will be able to grow your earnings dramatically.
  • Constantly improve your portfolio. Learn new skills, work on various projects to showcase your expertise to clients and recruiters. This should help you stand out from the vast competition.
  • Build a powerful personal brand. This is another good thing that will help you establish your image as an expert. Consider contributing to popular tech resources, networking, and being active on social media.

How employers should deal with freelance developers

It’s common to think that only startups prefer working with freelance developers due to the lack of money. However, many established companies such as Facebook, PayPal, Nintendo, or IBM also hire freelancers regularly.

Below are the things to pay attention to when hiring a freelancer:

  • Set your expectations right from the start. When you write a job description, mention what type of personality you prefer to work with. Is it an extremely proactive developer or someone who’s a bit more relaxed? Explain your budget and timeline.
  • Sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). This will help you project information and data you exchange with developers.
  • Use trustworthy online freelance platforms. Here is the list of the best sites to hire freelancers.

Conclusion

Whether you are a freelance developer or a company looking for self-employed professionals to grow your business, be sure that freelancing is the future. And the further we go, the more visible this trend becomes.

Although both freelancers and businesses still face some challenges working together, I believe that this article will help solve some of the typical problems of freelancing. Good luck!

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